By Leah Shafer
Photographers and writers often need each other to tell a story in the most complete way. The interdependent relationship between the two fields play out in the career of Beatriz Terrazas.
“When I first started out, I think I was a photographer who could write,” she said. “When I came into features at Dallas Morning News, I became a writer who could shoot. Now I’m back into the photography game and I am a photographer who writes again.”
Terrazas sees the work as symbiotic.
“I think it’s really important for photographers to know, especially if it’s editorial or documentary work, people are drawn into the story by the visuals and they want to know more, so they read,” she said.
So that’s what she does today as co-owner of InMotion Imagery, a visual content and video company in North Texas.
“I function as producer, still photographer, and writer, and I do have some writing clients, as well,” she said.
Part of what keeps Terrazas coming back to her camera is an abiding love for photography and photographers.
“They are amazing, crazy, visionary people and I love them,” she said. “There is something about the personality of photographers, especially photojournalists, I find so appealing and I enjoy being around the wacky and amazing people that are photographers.”
From the late ’80s to 2006, she worked first with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as a photographer, then moved to The Dallas Morning News in the same capacity where she was part of a team that won the Pulitzer in 1994. She changed jobs to Dallas Morning News’ features department as a writer after spending a year at Harvard as part of the prestigious Nieman Fellowship.
“One of the reasons I worked in features is I had ideas for stories and I wanted to be able to execute them— It was great fun working with my former photo colleagues because we shared the same vision and we came from the same place,” she said. “But in 2006, the News offered a blanket buyout to just about everybody in the building and I was afraid if I didn’t take it, I would soon face being laid off.”
Thus began her journey as an independent storyteller with camera and pen.
“I worked in North Texas newspapers for two decades, covering local and international news—media work taught me to be prepared, to hit the ground running no matter what the assignment,” she said. “I’m still based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and I still have a passion for documentary-style work because it captures those fleeting moments that we often want to relive. But I also enjoy working with individuals and businesses to help them create photos and videos that fulfill their needs.”
Terrazas joined ASMP Dallas four years ago, and today she is a board member and membership chair.
“I think the advocacy that ASMP does on behalf of photographers, especially as it relates to copyright and the ability to be in places and take photographs, is a huge issue, especially in an era when everything is on the Internet,” she said. “A lot of us cannot even get decent working rates because it’s not valued in the way it used to be, and we need companies to realize they are paying for experience, not just a person with a good camera.”
Terrazas just launched a show at Southlake Town Hall and some of her photos have been on display this year in several Fort Worth locations as part of a traveling multimedia exhibit. She has magazines calling, and is looking for an independent project, as well.
“I’m looking for a project I can work on long term, and I’m looking for myself, not necessarily for a publication,” she said. “I want to sink my teeth into something— I have a couple of ideas for things that are environmentally themed. I’m really interested in nature and the environmental issues we’re facing.”