photos by Kyra Barger
A family arrives for a portrait session, groomed and pressed. A10-year-old boy and his teenaged sister know the photograph is important to their parents, so there’s nervous chatter as they practice their best smiles.
Kyra Barger is familiar with this tableau. She leads the group outdoors and offers a few ideas on how the scene might be composed but trusts the family will reveal a design all its own. She jokes a bit. Then she waits. As people relax, Kyra sees a story emerge. Pressing the shutter on her camera, she captures the energy of a family’s real and precious connection. Later, the mom thanks Kyra. “We don’t have a picture of him smiling like that. That’s such a gift.”
The 40-year-old Collierville mother describes her style as organic and candid. “Capturing laughter is my signature. I let kids do their thing and let people love each other.” Her portfolio includes photos of pregnant women, laughing siblings, couples, and, occasionally, a family pet.
Until just a few years ago, she told friends that she hoped — aspired — to become a professional photographer, “I was always a photography buff and liked others’ work.” After graduating from Campbell University with a major in exercise physiology, she moved to Burkina Faso, West Africa. Working at a well-baby clinic, she taught malaria prevention and did cooking demonstrations. There she started snapping pictures of life around her and discovered “I liked my own work.”
Later, her husband, Andy, gave her a new camera and said, “Go at it.” Kyra followed her daughters, 8-year-old Sage and 11-year-old Maeve, around with a camera. Then a friend gave her a welcome birthday gift: a photography lesson. That teacher is now her mentor. “I started studying and learning and posting photos on my Facebook page,” she says. “I love using lines in the background like fences, windows, and walls to give depth and composition.”
Kyra started using social media sites to share her work, and soon folks were hiring her. She named her business Faso Photography, and now donates 10 percent of her sales to Orphanos Foundation Partnership in Africa, an organization that helps children in the place where she first found inspiration. After editing work, she posts her pictures onto Pictage, where clients can view them. “I try to work every day, whether it’s doing a shoot, editing photos, or inquiring about work for local magazines.” She adds, “When you have a passion, you have to love it. You can’t always expect kudos and pats on the back.”
Kyra’s new project is Project Wisdom, a collection of images of seniors. “There’s an inner strength, a strong light, in older people.” She shot three women who have been best friends for 35 years. “I asked them the secret to long-lasting friendships. They told me laugh together, love each other, and be there for each other.” Later this year, her Project Wisdom photos will be exhibited at the Collierville Parks and Recreation office.
She has also felt called to photograph people who face terminal illnesses. She applied to do hospice photography through the Canadian organization, Maple Leaf Mission. She makes her services available for families locally.
Kyra still uses her college major, leading a strength training and fitness classes for people 50 plus and teaching cycling at Germantown Baptist/The Core. Her days are busy, but her nights are all about family. The Bargers cook together and play Jenga and Uno.
Before work, she enjoys a cup of tea and turns on Pink Martini jazz. “If you have a passion, you need to do something everyday to contribute to it, whether it’s big or small.”
• Check out Kyra’s work at fasophotography.com or Faso Photography on Facebook.