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in focus: julie treanor

© Julie Treanor

Today I am delighted to introduce Julie Treanor to you all. I say “introduce” because I don’t think many of you know Julie but by the time you finish reading this interview with her, I am sure you will want to add her to your list of photographers to follow. I met Julie through my blog in the course of her becoming a regular commenter. In fact I meet many new friends through my blog and I am very appreciative of each of you who take the time to comment. There is more I could share but I think I will just let you enjoy Julie in her own words.

In seven words or less describe what you wanted to say when you made this image?

Regal basset.  Rascal basset.

Many people talk wistfully about ‘living the dream’ but here you are four years later doing what you and your husband set out to do.  What would say to people who think about making changes but something holds them back?

In my experience people only change when there is a compelling reason and a subsequent reward.

For my husband and I, making a life shift was something we were compelled to do for us to live a more fulfilling life.  Deciding to emigrate was easy making it happen was much harder.  But we were determined.  We planned and made decisions that changed our lives.

Making big changes in your life is really about making a large amount of small changes.  But for change to happen you need to be clear about what is driving your need for change and how you want things to be different. You need to decide on your priorities and stay true to how you what your future to be.

For me, the key to successful change is having a clear end point in mind then breaking down the change required into small achievable steps.  Each time you take a step it is one closer to realising your dream.

How do your skills and talents in the garden and being a leadership coach come together with photography? Or maybe they don’t?

Whilst there is no obvious overlap between these three things what is common to them all is that each are grounded in philosophy, art and science.  Each draws on my spiritual, creative and practical capabilities. I love their respective challenges and variety it brings to my life.

Each of us travels a different road on our journey to learn photography.  Tell us more about your approach to learning, what’s worked for you and perhaps why?

Three things drive my learning style – independence, results and practicality.  In other words, I like to get things done in my own way!

I’ve learned photography through trial and error and teaching myself from reading books and blogs.  I’m a huge fan of Craft and Vision e-books, reading them opens up a completely new world of thinking that pushes me to try new things.  Listening to hours and hours of podcasts (The Candid Frame, Depth of Field, Faded and Blurred) and more recently watching Creative Live Workshops has given me insight to what makes great photographers tick.

Great leadership inspires me; it spurs me on to stretch and challenge myself. Not leaders who tell you what to do or how to think but leaders who put an idea or an experience out to others to engage with.  I’ve attended a couple of workshops in the last year or so and found myself disappointed with the learning experience. I just wasn’t inspired by the teachers nor pushed hard enough in my learning.

As a creative, we sometimes hit a plateau or a place where we seem to stop and stay longer that we’d like to be. Being a coach, do you have any advice for someone in that situation?

Being in a plateau is a natural part of the creative learning process.  Although it can be a frustrating or painful place to be, it’s actually the place where most of the learning goes on. Normally you have to experience breakdown before you breakthrough to transformational thinking.  For some people this can be a profoundly emotional experience.

It’s like riding a roller coaster.  You have to ride the deep dive lows and experience the fear to get the upward highs.  The trick is to remember that this is how the creative process works and to ride the roller coaster you need to strap yourself in tight and go with the whole journey.  As you experience fear, doubt, pain and frustration don’t give up, just sharpen your senses and think hard to find out what’s pushing you forward or holding you back.  It’s when you realise what those drivers and barriers are you can push yourself to find new, better or different ways forward until you find the sweet spot.

I use the creativity technique of holding a “breakthrough question” to keep me focused on a positive result.  A breakthrough question starts, How can I……?

Recently, I came to a plateau in my photography learning. I felt like I’d become a slave to my photography course assignments.  It was sapping me of energy and interest in photography.  I didn’t like the way I was feeling and wanted to rediscover what I love most about photography.

I worked out that I just wasn’t having as much fun with photography any more and had lost connection with those things I was taking photographs of.  I turned this realisation into a breakthrough question – How can I have fun and be a more inspired photographer?

A lot of self-coaching later using my breakthrough question it dawned on me that I needed to stop relying on inspiration from others and find it within myself.  Knowing that was the way forward my energy immediately lifted and my mind kicked into action in a new direction.

I’ve set myself three new photography projects to keep me inspired, have fun and keep learning. Each of these projects is closely aligned with how I live my life and what I am most interested in. I’ll be sharing this next phase of learning on my photography blog (www.julietreanor.com).

Taking this next step feels big and bold.  I’m excited and terrified in equal measure, just like being on a roller coaster!

You have a wonderful blog called “Domestic Executive”, which I think is a hidden gem.  You and I connected through my blog and once in a while through Twitter.  Do you have any thoughts about the relationship between social media and photography based on your own personal experience?

I’ve always taken a lot of photographs but publishing a blog gave me new ways to use them. It wasn’t too long before I started to use the Internet to learn more about photography and all of a sudden there was a seemingly limitless community of like-minded people.  I was hooked.

To me, social media provides a wonderfully convenient way to stay connected.  It’s a fun way to interact with people and an efficient way to graze the wealth of information and knowledge available on the Internet.  There is no doubt that my addiction to photography was fuelled by the infectious enthusiasm and generosity of other photographers.

They say that a dog is a reflection of their owner.  Would you agree or disagree? How are your bassets most like or unlike you?

As much as I hate to admit it, the bassets and I do share some characteristics.  We are all fiercely independent and determined. My husband describes us as stubborn and disobedient!  Setting aside our wilful personalities we are loyal and loving.  We also like nothing better than a plate of good food and a snooze in the afternoon.

You can connect with Julie through her two blogs Domestic Executive and Visual Quest as well as through Twitter.





  1. Ray K
    August 22, 2011

    Wonderful interview and great blogs Julie. Got my follow today and don’t know how I missed it before.

    • Sabrina
      August 23, 2011

      You have another thing in common with Julie…you are both dog lovers!

  2. Earl
    August 23, 2011

    Wonderful to “meet you,” Julie. I look forward to learning more on your blogs.

    I love the photo. We have a rescued half Basset, half Lab that has all the personality and most of the body of a Basset…especially stubborn and independent. However, I would never call him disobedient because I’d be making an assumption he ever conceded to obey in the first place. His special talent is turning his back and giving a “you are dead to me” look over his shoulder when he’s displeased, which if I work really hard and cater to most of his needs doesn’t happen very often. 🙂

    Good interview, Sabrina!

    • Sabrina
      August 23, 2011

      Thanks Earl. For sure you will see plenty more images like this one on Julie’s blogs 🙂

  3. Benefits of blogging
    August 23, 2011

    […] it took an age for me to select a photograph and respond to her questions, I am honoured to have been featured on her blog The Chronicles of Learning.  If you’re a photographer in training (aren’t we all) […]


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