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Photographer zooms in on beauty of subjects
Faces and Places
parents photo 1
Marguerite West points to a photo of her parents that she keeps on a wall of her home. - photo by Photo by Alena Parker.
Name: Marguerite West

West moved to the area in 1995 and recently retired after 26 years in the Army. She holds an associate’s degree in general studies, bachelor’s degree in Christian education and is working on a bachelor’s in human resources/business management at Columbia College.
She works full-time as a logistics analyst, teaching soldiers on Fort Stewart

Character: Nicknamed “Dot Rose” by fellow bikers, West is known to many for her animated personality.
“I’m really different and I dare to be different. But it’s me,” West said. “That’s just me.”
It is a rare thing to see the Red Bank, N.J., native without her cowboy boots and hat.
“I love western wear…It’s something about those cowboy boots that gives me that authority.”

Family: Two sons, Daniel, 14 and David, 16

Hobby/business: Media on the Move, LLC is West’s “hobby that’s turned into a business.”
Bookings with community groups keep West busy most weeknights and weekends.
“I want my stuff to go from the projects to the penthouse,” West said.
“I want to be able to reach everyone. I don’t want to just lock in to all educators and politicians. And that’s what I love about it.”
“Everyone should have current photos and I want to do my best in making it convenient for them.”
She offers two free 5x7 photos a year to seniors 70 and up.

Why the need for current photos? “Because we’re all beautiful,” she said. “We’re like a basket of flowers … and that’s how I look at people. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. I see people as flowers, as a bouquet of flowers.”

How did you get involved in photography?
“The family’s been doing it forever … we had the whole dark room kit when I was young.”
She grew up seeing her father do freehand drawings and her mother is a camera buff.
“I was raised that way, just enjoy the moment,” West said. “They taught me to be well-rounded and balanced.
“I’m just going back to doing what was put in me. Once I retired, I knew I could go full-blown with it.”
She has also been coached along by a few local photographers.
“I’ve been fortunate, that just starting, there’s a lot of people, seasoned in the business and are willing to assist me.”
“I want to line myself up with people who are there. I mean, why reinvent the wheel?”

What is the biggest thing you have learned? “Definitely respect the fact that a person says ‘I don’t like to be photographed,’ then don’t do it. And you can shoot right next to them and not even get them.”
“I really don’t like to be photographed, myself. I’m not crazy about it. I’m getting into it more.”

What do you like most about photography?
“I see colors, but I love people. It doesn’t matter what their race, creed or color is.
“I love to see people smile. Don’t look at their face. Look at the total person.
“You’re looking, but you’re not. Just looking past the external and seeing their heart and capturing that. And it’s so exciting.”

What do you like least about it? Does it ever seem difficult? “What I least like, I guess would be the fact that people don’t appreciate that you can get quality at an affordable price.”

If you were on a deserted island and could only take one photo, what would it be?
“It would be a picture of my parents,” she said, pointing to a photo she keeps on her dining room wall.

What is one thing you won’t leave home without? West brings a basic set-up, including lights and backdrop, to her shoots.
“And my sister gave me a small digital camera and I keep that in my purse…so I always have a camera.”
Her Olympus camera is valued at $1,600, but West got it for $300.
“I’m just truly blessed.

What do you see for you and your work in the future? “I can see the improvement in my work versus even two weeks ago. Each day, it’s an improvement.”
West will presenting her work in a gallery atmosphere June 19 at the Clean Stay Hotel.
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