I spy with my little eye... a coffee with photographer Heather Finnecy.

If you are following me, you've already heard about Heather Finnecy and her photo-coverage of Middle Eastern Women From What I Can See, remember this post? For those you skipped this post: Heather is an American photographer who decided to explore the Middle East on her own (well, with her camera), and more specifically the women of the Middle East. She is a modern lady who reads the news and travels but she realised it was tricky to actually understand the concept of being a woman in the Middle East because of the variety of backgrounds, cultures and the fact that even if their voices are louder and louder everyday, it's not easy to get the full picture. One day she packed her bag and flew to Kuwait, than Jordan, the UAE, and Lebanon. I met her and instantly liked her energy and curiosity. She is fun, easy-going, adventurous, full of questions and her mind works very fast. We spent an afternoon at mine, munching and talking, I like it when you get to meet people and end up leaving them full of new ideas and projects. I liked her, liked her project and decided to introduce her to you all!

HOB:  If you could live in a painting, which one would it be?
H.F.: I am going to answer with two paintings. The painting that has always resonated with me the most is The Scream by Munch. Being a photographer, I have a hard time being absorbed in paintings, which can be much more fantastical than the "real life" I tend to like to photograph. I think The Scream is one of the most honest and accurate paintings I have seen, though it is impressionistic. I don't think you would blame me for not wanting to live in it though. My other favorite painting is Picasso's "Three Musicians," and I find this one funny and silly and creepy and serious all at the same time. I don't know why, but I can spend a lot of time looking at it and in a way think it feels like a reflection of real life. So I guess really I am kind of boring and just want to live in real life.

HOB: If you could live in a different era, which one would you pick and why?
H.F.: I think I would want to live in 1968 in America. There was so much going on then, there was this sense of fighting for things in this country that just seemed to make so much sense to fight for. I wish I could have been involved in the Civil Rights movement, ridden on the Freedom Rides, been thrown into jail for fighting for the absurdly obvious ideas of racial equality. Also, it would have been sweet to have super long hair and wear leather everything and I really like the music. 

HOB: What piece of clothing reminds you of your mother/father?
H.F.: My Dad passed away in 2000 when I was 18, and though I have 3 older brothers, I got his wedding ring. It is this awesome thick gold band that has tons of irregularly shaped holes. It's like a gold Swiss cheese ring. I love it, and it reminds me of the incredibly strong and healthy love that my parents had for each other, something that is rare these days.

HOB: What scent takes you right back to your childhood?
H.F.: My answer is threefold. 
One- Fresh cut grass. It is a Saturday straight out of my childhood for me. Saturdays were all about soccer games and little league on lawns with early morning dew and the remnants of grass clippings staining my socks and legs. Then it was back home for Saturday chores, lawn mowing when I was older (for $7!) and when I was younger, my Dad would push the mower around our big back lawn in his yellow Garfield t-shirt, knee-high tube socks and khaki shorts while I played on the swing and ate cherries out of our tree.
Two- Smoke. Camping was our families go to vacation.
Three- Hot air smelling of dryer sheets coming out of the laundry exhaust vent on the side of the house. We had 2 very wooded side yards in which I would build forts, and pretend to escape to magical lands. I would walk by the vent while my Mom was doing laundry and remember that warm, cleans smelling air creating small patches of moisture on my skin as I passed.

HOB: When do you feel on holidays?
H.F.: When I am alone or with friends and family somewhere outdoors. When I am in the woods, hiking by myself, or camping with people I love. Somewhere outside, preferably where there are trees and water, and where I have a comfy chair, a book, and a fire. 

HOB: What designer would you take with you on a camel ride?
H.F.: I am not fashionable enough to have an answer to this. Seriously, I buy a lot of my clothes at Target and thrift stores.

HOB: Your favourite recipe to make?
H.F.: Ooh, another doozy. Busted again, I don't cook much. But there is a great and simple veggie bake with feta that has been passed to me from my sister-in-law. Whenever I make it I appear to know how to cook when in fact, I don't.

HOB: Best piece of advice you were ever given?
H.F.: Don't settle. My Mom has always said that, and continues to say it. 

HOB: What book changed your life?
H.F.: "Living with Your Heart Wide Open" by Bob Stahl. He is my mindfulness an meditation teacher, which in of itself has changed my life, but this book he wrote just completely shifted the way I saw my experience in this world, and how as humans we really all do struggle with the same fears about ourselves and life. I think it was just a right time right place experience with that book, but I literally wrote and snail mailed him a card after I read it that said "your book changed my life."

HOB: The movie you've watched already 30 times but might watch again tonight?
H.F.: Groundhog Day

HOB: Three favourite spots in California?
H.F.: 1- The Redwoods in the hills above my home on the way to Santa Cruz. 
2- The orchards around the Buttes in the Sacramento Valley area. 
3- The snow in Lake Tahoe with skis attached to my feet, snow drifting down my collar that I can't quite zip high enough, and a smile permanently plastered to my face. 

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