Photography always has been a constant in Tamara Lund’s life. Whether it was taking photographs growing up, or learning about it in school, Lund was doing it.
But when college was over, being a photographer wasn’t her top priority.
“When I graduated, I decided that I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to be a photographer full-time,” she said. “But it was definitely something I wanted to keep as my passion.”
So Lund has done just that, using her occasional adventures outside the city as an opportunity for inspiration.
“I really get into it when I travel,” Lund said. “So even if that’s like a weekend trip, or anything that takes me out of my element, is usually when I get to focus on it.”
Now Lund’s ongoing travel project is the main focus at The Riverdale Y. Her first solo exhibition, “Alive and Not Alive,” is on display at the center’s Gallery 18 through the end of the month.
“Alive and Not Alive” is divided into two parts, one is the “Alive” section where Lund explores the anthropomorphic tendencies animals have, as well as observations of other humans through her travels.
The “Not Alive” is more of an open-ended section, where visitors are encouraged to come up with their own ideas about the work.
“It’s really supposed to make you kind of stop and think and wonder,” Lund said. “And it’s all about the perception that we as a viewer put on a photograph when we look at it.”
One of Lund’s favorite photographs in the exhibition is one of four women bending over and touching the water at a temple. She also enjoys the different things people have taken away from the piece.
“For some people … they wonder what they’re doing, but other people perceive this really intimate moment,” Lund said. “Other people perceive it from the photographer’s side (and) say, ‘Oh what a great moment you captured.’
“It’s just interesting to see how the same image can invoke all these different feelings from people.”
Although Lund is not a Riverdale resident, her father, Rick Lund, is the director of development at The Y. But a familial connection doesn’t guarantee someone a spot at Gallery 18. Upon learning about its existence, Lund submitted her work for review before she was approved for an April show last fall.
Lund has visited The Y a few times, taking note of Gallery 18’s unique location.
“My first impression was how they were able to take this space that wasn’t necessarily the most conducive to a gallery, but really turned it into this wonderful environment for an exhibit,” Lund said. “It’s kind of interesting because it’s in a hallway that a pretty major conduit in the community center. So there’s definitely people walking by all the time. It’s a heavy traffic area, which is great.”
When she’s not on the road, photography and the visual arts are still alive at Lund’s day job. She is a senior integrative producer at The New York Times’ T Brand Studio. That’s the newspaper’s brand marketing studio that allows them to work with different companies to create long-form stories that usually have a visual or interactive element to them.
“As a producer, because I’m responsible for the creative output, I think that having a sensibility of what makes a good visual — whether it’s moving, or whether it’s stationary — is incredibly important to not only having a successful end product,” Lund said, “but also coming up with solutions when you know there’s some weird things going on with production.”
The opening reception for “Alive and Not Alive” took place April 8, and Lund said her work received a positive response from family, friends and the community. After this experience, she hopes to exhibit more of her photographs, continuing a conversation about how others perceive her work.
“I think it’s been awesome to hear people talk about some of the photos, and without even knowing what my intention was, to really understand this whole theme of animals acting with this human identity,” Lund said.
“That’s been incredibly rewarding.”