Billings photographer Tracy Moore has been in Tanzania for the past couple of months, helping to bring clean water to remote villages and to improve education opportunities for African children. She has been working with African Reflections Foundation, a nonprofit that’s dedicated to improving living conditions in Africa.
On her blog, http://blog.tracymoorephotography.com, Moore shared the following message on Dec. 23. “All I want for Christmas is for these kids to get an education they deserve, among other necessities.” An accompanying photo shows Moore surrounded by about a dozen African children holding school supplies, which are hard to come by in Tanzania. As of Jan. 7, Moore’s Educate Africa page on the gofundme website had raised $9,267 toward a goal of $25,900.
In another blog post, Moore notes that fishing regulations in Tanzania are a lot different than what Americans are used to.
“We go out in the sea to fish, and half the time will have no luck because the locals are allowed to dynamite for fish. So you hear a bomb go off, they net in maybe 10 percent of the fish they just killed … then they go sell them to the markets,” she wrote.
Moore describes herself as a “troublemaker photographer” who prefers to shoot senior portraits and engagement photos at remote locations.
And in case you haven’t yet gotten the idea that she’s an adventurous spirit, Moore says she has always wanted to don scuba gear, climb into a cage and stare great white sharks in the eye.
Describe how you got where you are in your work today: With a lot of support from friends, family, clients and other mentors in this business. Also, a fair share of hard work, thinking differently and some tears too. It’s hard work, but I love it.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? The taking pictures part is easy. It’s actually running the business/legal side of things that are trickier for me. Thanks goodness I hired Steph (my studio manager) two years ago. She is amazing and keeps it all in check.
What did you learn from that challenge? Don’t be too proud, and don’t be a control freak. It’s OK to let people do things for you to keep you sane.
What’s the best business advice you have received? Do what you love, and don’t be afraid of failing. My dad told me this when I started my business. I found a quote that explains what he said that I love: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Who gave you that advice? My dad, Mike Reynolds.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I want to continue efforts with multiple charities I work with (United Way, Big J Show’s Santa Clause for a Cause, St. Jude’s, and more) to not only improve Billings, but also improve the world.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? By how happy I make others, and how happy I make myself while doing that.
Which living person do you most admire? Katie Davis. She wrote the book “Kisses from Katie” and left her whole life in the U.S. behind to adopt, help and love many, many children in Uganda. It’s an incredible story, and I love that girl.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Anytime I cross something big off my “Life List,” it’s a huge accomplishment. This year, that was going to Africa, skydiving and winning The Gazette’s “Billings Best Photographer” award.
I’m happiest when I’m… making someone smile.