Tracy Sydor is a photographer based in Eugene Oregon and her photography ranges from fine art to abstract pieces, as well as commercial and high fashion work. A photographer since 2007 her versatility is key to her success. Winner of  Best Visual Artist 2 years running as part of “Eugene’s Best Of” and was the first photographer to do so, she has been featured in Dark Beauty Magazine and some of her work is on display at Harry Mahoneys Erotic Art Museum in Las Vegas. Tracy is very much part of the community and is known to hold art shows and fundraisers to help her local area.I asked her a few questions about her start in photography and her art.    

Q: What was it about photography that clicked (pun intended!) with you?

A: I realized I could play with humans, I could do whatever I wanted with my camera, so I began telling stories. It’s kinda like playing in an alternate reality sometimes, except I never really know what character is going to come forward in my work. I love the escape, the fantasies I can create. More importantly I realized I could help others through my lens. When that hit home with me, I fell madly in love with photography. It gave me the opportunity to give back to my beautiful community. I have always been involved in the arts in. different ways. It was 2007 before I picked up a camera. My amazing husband Rob Sydor asked me If I had an interest, I said sure and  the rest is history.

Q: What are your favorite subjects to shoot?

A: Women. I love them. Portraying them in strong roles is something I like to do a lot. When I see someone I want to work with, I know instantly what I want to do and do not see them any other way. I suppose I recognize a portion of their story in my own.

Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?

A: I get my inspiration from a lot of places, movies are a big one. I will often times turn off the volume to movie and music videos only to watch the scenes. I’m also inspired by pain and suffering, situations that seem hopeless. By what isn’t considered dinner table talk, by rule breakers, by people who push the boundaries of daily life.

Q: Do you have any advice for amateur photographers?

A: It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing with their camera…their path is theirs, not yours. Put your head down and your keep your blinders on. If being a photographer is what you truly want…then that’s what you’ll be. What I or anyone else thinks of your work is indifferent.Having lived through a difficult childhood Tracy is a big supporter of women’s rights and thus was born.

The darker portion of my work stems from my childhood. I grew up with people that didn’t like me at all. Abused and neglected by my parents I ran away at 15. The rest is history. It wasn’t till a few years ago I was able to channel my past into photography. I had to find a way to start the healing process.

Jane was created to help others process abuse through art. Some of the stories are graphic and heartbreaking, Tracy doesn’t tout herself as a Dr. or anything, just someone who’s been through it and can help the people come to terms with their past in a way that allows them the cathartic freedom to explore how their pasts make them feel and impact their lives today.

NB: All photography is taken using models, not the victims of abuse who submit their stories.

Q: Where did the idea for the website come from? and What do you get out of working with the stories aside from the creative side of things?

A: The idea of a Jaded Jane site was my husband Robs idea mostly, He carefully listened and noted every lude and dark detail, with every story. He built the site from the ground up. Him putting his energy into this and me with the experiences made things more tolerable. Jaded Jane was never really supposed to be for the public. It was my personal dumping ground and many of the stories are my own. With so much relief felt from myself and working through painful experiences, We thought It would be helpful to others.There is such a sense of accomplishment from working with other victims of extreme nature. The victims are already in a place of creation and is easy for me to connect with them on that level. Doing these pieces for others  and myself is what keeps me, at times, from tearing myself apart and when things get tense with me I know its time to go to work. Anyone involved in the shoots are not paid, hair, makeup, wardrobe, photography, retouching…the list can go on. Its everyone’s time that goes into it. That makes it a success.

Q: When a piece sells, the proceeds are donated to Womens Space in Eugene, can you tell me a bit about the work Women’s Space does?

A: Women’s Space is a relief center for domestic violence victims here in Eugene, dedicated topreventing domestic violence in intimate partner relationships in Lane County and support survivors in claiming personal power.

Q: What has been the reaction to the site?

A: The reactions can vary from completely mortified, anger, to I can’t handle this or I have a submission. Some have said of the photos: “You’re only adding to the violence in the world.” “You should do us all a service and put down your camera.” “Find something different to do with your time.” These comments only fire me up and piss me off even more. It makes me want to get right back into their faces with something real and raw.

As Jaded Jane gains momentum, the more positivity it’s received.  Whether I have a camera, paint brush or sidewalk chalk, the message will always be the same with Jaded Jane. Healing through art. Maybe I can change things for some, maybe I can’t. But one thing is for sure: I’m going to keep doing exactly what I’m doing regardless of the opinions of others. I know what I’m for and I know what I’m here on this rock to do and that’s to serve and nurture my fellow humans through my work.

You can view more of Tracy’s work via her website