About Rowena

Hello, my name is Ro, and I believe that it is possible for you to turn your ordinary life into an extraordinary life - to find true happiness, while remaining, selfless, mindful and compassionate towards other living beings. Here at my blog, I interview and post articles by musicians, writers, world travelers, humanitarians and other amazing individuals who are doing just that. I also share with you various anecdotes about my own totally awesome existence as a musician, composer, journalist, environmentalist, and compassionati. My hope is to connect with you, enlighten you, inspire you and lead you down the path to true happiness. Compassion is always in fashion and it starts with you loving that most important of people, yourself.

September 12, 2010

Inteview with Bucky (Little Buck) Harjo - American Indian Photographer

Mt. Rose, by:  Bucky (Little Buck) Harjo
The American Indian is of the soil, whether it be the region of forests, plains, pueblos, or mesas. He fits into the landscape, for the hand that fashioned the continent also fashioned the man for his surroundings. He once grew as naturally as the wild sunflowers, he belongs just as the buffalo belonged.... Luther Standing Bear Oglala Sioux, 1868-1937

This interview is with Bucky (Little Buck) Harjo, a brilliant, adventurous spirit and photographer. 

Ro: I love the above quote from your Facebook page, and I hope you do not mind me starting this interview with it. It is a good fit for you. Tell me about your childhood, where you were born and where you grew up. 

Bucky: I was born in Oklahoma City at a time when life was simple - June 9, 1955. I grew up there but got out as fast as I could!

Ro: Why? 

Bucky: If the tornado's didn't suck me up, the boredom would have! 

Ro: You are too funny . . . 

Bucky: I’m just kidding, of course! As a child growing up in Oklahoma, it was pretty much safe to wander the woods near home and go exploring alone for hours at a time. I had the opportunity to see life as the creator put it before us. It was safe to drink water from a stream or to ask from a strangers home. We didn't carry around a plastic bottle everywhere we went. 

Ro: Don’t get me started on the subject of plastic bottles . . . one of my pet peeves! 

Bucky: Water is of course a necessity but it didn’t matter back then. I enjoyed the wonders of nature, and water was pure and free. 

Ro: I understand that after leaving Oklahoma, you lived on the East Coast, the West Coast and places in between. Tell me about some of the places you have lived, which landscape suits you the best, and the least, as a human being, and why. 

Bucky: I enjoyed life in Southern California as a young man . . . 

Ro: Being a native of Southern California myself, I understand completely, but have always had a bit of wanderlust and a desire to try other places. 

Bucky: I have always preferred the mountains . . . I love to hike with friends or family or just alone. The East was nice, with its many beautiful trees but after being chased by bears back there - I just couldn't see my brothers in the woods - I knew they were there but I literally almost landed on the back of one trying to elude another . . . 

Ro: That must have been quite a surprise to both you and brother bear. 

Bucky: Never carry food in your pack, unless you keep it in a closed container. In the Spring the bears are waking up and food is what is on their mind. 

Ro: Only doing what comes natural to them of course. Tell me more about your love of the mountains. 

Bucky: In my teen age years we moved to Nevada from where my mother is from. Here we have many mountains . . . but I love the Sierras! That is home to my people, particularly Yosemite. 

Ro: I don’t blame you – in my opinion Yosemite is the most beautiful place on earth. 

Bucky: I love that place and want to be scattered or buried there when my time comes. 

Ro: As a photographer, which landscapes have you found the most inspirational, and why? 

Bucky: The mountains! There is so much beauty from afar and from very near, when you get down to the ground level, the tiniest of flowers bloom as well! We get amazing clouds here in Nevada in the evening, and the atmosphere provides some intense color with deep blue skies and the green forest. Morning and evening the colors are the strongest, especially after a winter storm! I have to go out and take pictures as soon as the snow lets up. It is so peaceful, it is like next to heaven, the contrast of winter clouds and a fresh blanket of snow......... 

Ro: This is reflected in your photographs and it is hard for me to decide which ones I like the best. I see a lot of passion and talent in your work and hope you will continue on. I am very interested in how passionate interests such as yours are formed. Is this something you merely stumbled upon? Something you were exposed to, liked and aggressively followed up on, or something you have been doing for as long as you can remember? 

Bucky: When I was young I always dreamed of being a photographer, would spend hours looking at National Geographic and Look Magazine. I wanted to be like Ansel Adams, but in my own way. I did not have the money to do such things a long time ago, but as we moved into the Digital Age, I just had to pursue my dreams. I have taken a couple of photography classes and spent hours in Barnes and Noble's reading the books, and now when there is something I want to know I just look it up online, but most is from my own know how. I see color and movement, the sun, the atmosphere and just have a feeling of something is about to happen . . . intuition you might say, but I also like Photoshop, I can get creative and that is a self taught thing. The two go together. 

Ro: Ansel Adams once said “Some photographers take reality... and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.” Do you believe this to be true? If so, how would you describe yourself? 

Bucky: This is true, and I think I answered that, at least in part, in the question before. For those who do not have the passion to get out and adventure life, I can take a moment in time and share with them what it is I see. What it took for me to capture a moment is unknown to them. I capture the whole picture, the pinnacle moment, when the light is right and the magic unfolds. 

Ro: I was at first captivated by your landscape photography, but upon examining your portfolio in detail fell in love with the photos of the people. I work a lot with the elderly and this is a very soft spot for me. How do you feel when you are photographing your elders, and what do you look for? 

Bucky: I do not feel comfortable photographing human emotion or feelings so I do not take as many of those kinds of shots. I try of course, but it does not feel right to me. The exceptions would be taking pictures of my own mother, or other family members. I tend to look for happiness, or a moment when their eyes connect when seeing someone for the first time in a long time, I try to eclipse the younger generation with the elder and vice-versa. 

Ro: I must talk to you then, about the photos of the children - particularly of your daughter Wenonah – what a beautiful soul! She must be a tremendous inspiration to you! 

Bucky: Ever since birth, she has come into the world and my life, our life. I have not stopped, sometimes I arrange a sitting with just natural light, it was difficult in the first few months but as she grew it was a blast! The hardest was keeping her out of the lens! You might say it is a documentation of her life. There was a stage where she didn't want to be photographed so I wouldn't push it. Never force the kids, just give them a moment let them be in their world and it is a blessing and very fun! 

Ro: As a songwriter, my music takes me many places in my heart and mind – expressing both my deepest darkest as well as my most joyous moments. Besides the obvious physical travel over hill and dale, where does your photography take you? 

Bucky: That is a good question, many people have said that I have a hidden talent and should take it more seriously and see where it takes me. I have given it some thought. 

Ro: What would you like to say in summation about your aspirations as a photographer? 

Bucky: I really like taking photos, for my own pleasure, and for the enjoyment of others who appreciate my work. A friend in Sweden has asked to use some of my photos in a book she is putting together, but I would need a really good camera to do that! Right now I have an Olympus C8080 - when it first hit the market I had to have it. I am finally acquainted with it and know how it works, and can comfortably use it for now. I would like to have a manual focus ring. I have also looked at more schools for photography, at studio equipment such as lighting and backdrops, and I think that I can get into that too. I am not speaking of the kind of commercial photography like you get at Sears and places like that . . . it is more a matter of come as you are and have fun, be totally relaxed, you know massage the moment sort of thing....... 

Ro: As you know, Rousing Rowena is a blog about music, minimalism, and humankind's ecological footprint on the environment. I pray every day for healing of the earth and all life on it. I understand that you suffer, pray and lift up your voice for the earth and all living creatures in ways traditional to your people, and that is extremely personal to you. Is there any particular message that you would like to relay here to my readers? 

Bucky: We differentiate our beings every day, we segregate our minds from the truth of what and who we are in this universe of life. We may be Red, Black, Yellow, White, but on the inside we are all the same, our blood is red. Let our inspirations carry us far and bring together all humanity, for art is an ancient voice since the beginning of time, it brings peace to each of us, it brings thought and positiveness to our spirit of life. For what we do, however we do, that moment of creativeness, brings a moment or moments self being and total happiness, it is a vibration of the thought, a thought in time as we search inward to feel and express a moment that would be eternal, as writing in stone once was. Thank you.... 

Ro: Eloquently stated and right on point! Thank you very much Bucky, I really enjoyed interviewing you and hope that I will have the opportunity to have you contribute to this blog again in the future..

Bucky Harjo
Be sure to check out Bucky’s photos at shoshonestar Digital Gallery Review:


Bucky said...

Thank you Renee!

Mirna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mirna Valenzuela Mexico said...

I liked the interview because it shows the spirits of two artist together. I have seen some of the landscape photos of Bucky, and i like the way he shows Mother Nature as it is ....and brings hope to my life and that not all is lost, i like that he does not show in his photos about the effects of global warming. that is somebody else's job. I agree what Art does to our souls.....only an artist understand the soul of an artist...your interview was very sensitive....

Ro said...

Thank you Mirna for your encouraging and sensitive comments. I very much enjoyed interviewing Bucky - it was very uplifting!