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Meet Gara Elizabeth Lacy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gara Elizabeth Lacy.

Hi Gara, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I attended Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Missouri for my Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and I had a strong interest in photography and painting.  Sometime during my junior year I was asked by a friend to photograph his friend’s wedding.  After that, I decided to pursue a career in photographing weddings and although I still enjoy it, I was still searching for my lifelong passion/subject in the field of photography.

I decided to go back to school and received my Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Studio Art.  My goal was to push my painting and photography practice and ideas.  There, I felt drawn to the subject of the human form, the growth of it, time.  My fine art photography and painting inform each other.

Since undergrad, I have worked for a couple of wedding photography companies as well as accepted jobs under my own business.  Through college connections and friends, my name was passed to the point of working with Forest Park Forever and currently, St. Louis Children’s Foundation as a freelance photographer.

During my master’s program, my grandmother passed.  As a child, I remember looking through family albums and asking her to identify family members.  I was to photograph her one summer, but she fell ill and passed.

I wished I had asked more questions about her, her parents and grandparents. The idea of My Banyan Roots started to piece itself together.  A business that honors the legacy of our elders while giving a deeper and documented look into their lives and family history from their perspective. It;s an opportunity for their family to learn about who they are and where they come from with not just facts, but feelings.  A way to pass on their life experience through words, film and photos.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My challenge was having patience for my business to grow and have consistency in the everyday act to build it.  So many distractions, positive and negative.  I had to learn how to take time for my purpose to see it grow.  When I finished undergrad, I thought it was so simple.  It has not been easy at all with life’s twists and turns.  Relationships are important in any business and building them can take months or even years.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on? 

I am likely known for my wedding photography.  I also photograph families, and newborns.  I’m most proud of and passionate about photographing the elderly and their life stories.  My Banyan Roots specializes in photographing, filming, and writings of elders in our families.  It’s a new way to document your family history.

My painting and creative photography seem to have taken a bit of a backseat for now.  Covid 2020 allowed me to spend more time in front of my easel and brainstorm a continuing series for both my creative photography and painting.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Be patient.  Find out what you’re passionate about and do that!  Use each day wisely.

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