by Carla Edstrom
A couple months ago, one of my friends posted a photo on Facebook by a local photographer featuring a sunrise over Holden Beach, and it took my breath away. Living so close to the beach I’ve seen a lot of beach sunrises and sunsets, but there was just something special about this one. The vibrant colors, the birds, the waves crashing-it all made me more relaxed and I swear I could hear the seagulls sing and see the grasses sway. It was like a painting in a gallery that you just stand and stare at momentarily getting caught inside the frame. I was simply amazed that she somehow captured one moment in time where all the elements of this photo may never come into play ever again. So, of course I had to look up this amazing artist and see more of her work and try to find out what makes her tick.
Her name is Terrah Hewett, and her natural ability to know exactly when and where to take the perfect shot is a gift she has nurtured and grown into over her lifetime. “I can remember as a child while looking out the car window I always said ‘that would make a pretty picture’,” she explained. “I attended Brunswick Technical College, but have never attended an art school nor had formal training. My knowledge has been through online courses but mostly has come through in the field shooting using my innate artistic talent and abilities, something in my opinion, that cannot be taught.”
Growing up in a creative family, Hewett has spent a lot of time mastering her gifts. “I come from a very artistic family. My Uncle was a professional photographer,” said Hewett. “When I was growing up, I used to follow him around thinking he had some sort of magic powers. Looking back it’s so funny,” she laughed. “I think what I learned most from my uncle is to never stop learning. I can remember him saying if you think you know everything there is to know about photography, you need to lay your camera down and walk away, and that’s always in the back of my mind.”
Every day, Hewett posts a ‘wake up call’ picture on her Facebook page that she has taken that day, weather permitting. “Photography has always been my passion and also my career but to call it a job would seem impassionate. I think photography is an art and you need an artist eye and heart to draw people to you and to feel emotions when they see your work,” she said. “I have had people comment on my photos on Facebook that has brought me to tears many times and as long as that keeps happening, I’ll keep sharing a ‘wake up call’ every morning,” said Hewett.
Her lifelong admiration of nature and the wild has directed her work mainly outside. “I love nature I’ve been that way since I was old enough to walk,” she said. “I’ve always been drawn to animals and they to me. There are stories from my childhood of animals following me home. I even had a Turtle follow me home from a pond near my home and there was a neighbors horse that would wake me up standing by my bedroom window in the early morning a couple times a week,” said Hewett. “There’s absolutely nothing like waking up with nature; watching and listening to all the wildlife coming alive and the colors exploding all around. Watching Great Egrets floating down from the trees to start hunting for breakfast.” These are the things that influence Hewett’s work and create her once in a lifetime photographs.
Hewett’s passion and love for the area are evident in her work and has helped her win many awards. “One of my proudest moments was being published in Our State Magazine in Nov 2017. I love shooting the shrimp boats coming and going on the Lockwood Folly river and one morning I captured one going out for the day, it was a foggy morning and I got her just as she crossed in front of the sun,” said Hewitt.
Hewett offers her expertise and advice to budding artists and photographers. “Find what you’re passionate about and put your heart and soul into it. You have to feel it. If you don’t, then those looking at your work won’t either.” Great advice!