100 Creatives: Tracy Manford Carlson

What She Does: Like many artists trying to find their way, Tracy Manford Carlson has attacked various creative endeavors over the years. Photography was the only one that really stuck. She recalls working full time in an unfulfilling desk job and one day she just snapped. "I was in a meeting," Carlson says. "And I just said, you know what, I'm done." Her colleagues were shocked; she wasn't just talking about right then, she was talking about forever.

She submitted a photo to a photography contest of the now-defunct Houstonist and won. This initial success confirmed what she had been feeling in the middle of that work meeting - she needed to be a photographer. Since then, Carlson's work has been seen in the Houston Press, Houston Chronicle and on display at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport, in addition to being showcased in various galleries and private collections. Carlson mainly photographs natural, outdoor settings.

Why she likes it: Carlson loves being a photographer; the way she speaks about it is of someone describing their one great love. She is not just enamored with the act of taking a picture, but of finding the images to shoot as well. Carlson's favorite way to spend a day is packing up her cooler, hopping in the car, picking a direction and seeing what she can find along the way. Carlson says that "type of creativity just can't be planned."

Getting a great shot is only half of it. Carlson enjoys the after-effects just as much. She describes herself as a non-purist when it comes to adjusting the color and brightness of an image. While some photographers prefer to hold true to the shot they've taken, Carlson finds the alteration just as much a part of the artistic process.

What inspires her: Texas. Carlson is an 8th generation Texan and proud of it. Through her work, she attempts to remind us of the forgotten places in Texas. She finds inspiration in her surroundings. She likes the grittier side of her home town, and in her images there is a lonely, Southern feel that transports you to another time.

Her proudest moment: In the fall of 2007, Carlson had her first show, which was already an "amazing moment." What really put it into prospective, though, was when Max Harrison of Gallery M Squared grabbed her and said, "I've already sold THREE of your photos."

"I felt like a real artist, a photographer at that moment," says Carlson. "And one of those pictures ended up hanging at Bush Intercontinental Airport."

If not this, then what? If Carlson was not a photographer she would be very sad. Carlson says that there is really nothing else she wants to do.

What's Next: Carlson is just about to wrap up a show at Block 7 Wine Company and after that she'll keep doing what she loves: taking pictures. She says she's not in it for the money, but getting more of her work out there and to be recognized is a goal.

More Creatives (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Lauren Rottet, architect and designer John Robertson, visual artist John Adelman, visual artist Chandos Dodson, interior designer Cliff Franks, painter Kim Hartz, photographer Katy Heinlein, visual artist Robert Shimko, dramaturg Galina Kurlat, photographer Wayne Slaten, filmmaker Jane Weiner, dancer and choreographer El Franco Lee II, visual artist Chris McKay, photographer Jason Ransom, visual artist Mr. SINched, fashion desiger "Uncle" Charlie Hardwick, poster designer Avital Stolar, playwright and educator Katherine Houston, visual artist Christopher Olivier, visual artist Dennis Lee Harper, sculptor David A. Brown, photographer Rachel Harmeyer, visual artist Kia Neill, installation artist Stacy Davidson, filmmaker Jennifer Wood, choreographer GONZO247 Kevin DeVil, filmmaker Kerry Beyer, photographer and filmmaker Robert Ellis, musician Davie Graves, musician and visual artist Robert Hodge, multimedia Mary Magsamen, photo and video artist John Harvey, theater Bret Harmeyer, visual artist Joel Orr, puppet master Rodney Waters, photographer and pianist Jeremy Choate, lighting designer Chuck Ivy, visual artist Tra'Slaughter, visual artist Jen Chen - visual art, designer Howard Sherman - Painter Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad Misha Penton - Opera Singer and Theater Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto - Photojournalist Tracy Robertson aka Batty - Goth Fashion Designer Tierney Malone - Creative Type Dolan Smith - Painter Jenny Schlief - Mixed-Media Artist David Eagleman - Writer Anna Sprage - Painter Philip Lehl - Actor Andy Noble - Choreographer David McGee - Painter

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.