|Waiting. 1997. San Pedro La Loma, Honduras. Courtesy, Tina Manley.|
Tina Manley is a professional photographer whose career includes travels to many countries, including Honduras. She worked in Honduras and Guatemala from 1989 to 2005 taking photos for non-profit organizations. I discovered her work while browsing Google+, the social network offered by Google. Her work is stunning and poignant.
After that comment, I wanted to know more about Tina Manley and her photographic journeys in Honduras. She consented to answering a few questions about her work.
1. How did you get involved in photography?
I never studied photography formally. I have a degree in English and Art, but I only got interested in photography after my children were born. I set up a darkroom and started developing my own film and printing black and white photographs. My hobby quickly became too expensive to remain a hobby, so I went to a seminar in Wisconsin in 1980 to learn how to sell stock photography. The first photo I sold was of two of my children, and it was used on a book cover, including several editions. I was hooked! I have been taking and leasing photos ever since.
2. I find the overlap of photography and working with a nonprofit to be an intriguing combination. How did that cross-section occur?
I first went to Honduras as a volunteer in 1989 with my church. We were on a fact-finding mission to find how we could best help the people of Honduras. We traveled all over Honduras with a group, Comision Cristiana de Desarollo (Christian Commission for Development). Our church became involved in medical clinics, as well as agricultural and housing projects. Groups traveled to Honduras and Guatemala every summer. I was hired to oversee groups, publicity, and fund-raising. Through my work, I became involved with other NGOs such as Heifer Project International, Habitat for Humanity, Lion's Club, and the Presbyterian Church who used my photos for fund-raising and education.
3. How long did you work in Honduras and Central America? What did you do?
I worked in Honduras and Guatemala from 1989 until 2005, taking medical or construction groups several times a year. I would usually arrive a week before the group and stay with a local family, taking photos. The families always welcomed me because they knew I was there to try to help them.
4. Can you share a memorable story from your travels in Honduras?
I stayed in very remote communities that could only be reached by horseback or by hiking several hours. On one of my first trips, I took a sleeping bag to sleep on the dirt floor, but it rained very hard in the night. The floor turned to mud quickly. I ended up sleeping in the one bed with the whole family - two parents and six children. In the middle of the night, the youngest woke up crying, and the father sang her softly back to sleep. It was a wonderful experience that I would repeat any time.
5. What role has your faith played in shaping your career?
I am an elder in the Presbyterian Church, USA, and I have always worked with missions. We believe in sharing our faith by example alone. Many people who go on mission trips with me assume that they will teach the Central America people about Christianity, but they always learn more than they teach. The faith and strength of the people in the face of extreme poverty and lack of medical care are inspiring to us all.
Tina Manley has a site where you can view or purchase photographs. Also, she has more photographs at Pbase. I hope readers enjoy her photographs. Please leave a comment here or at her site expressing how you feel about her photography.