Dr. Robbie Green, a psychotherapist in private practice and a consultant for Flintridge Prep, has added photographer to her list of accomplishments.
Through the end of this month, a series of photographs Green took of her travels around the globe, “Special Moments in Far Off Lands,” is on exhibit at Penelope’s Café Books & Gallery in La Cañada.
All proceeds from purchases of the photographs will benefit Kids with Cameras, a nonprofit organization that teaches photography to children living in poverty.
“It’s been a charity I’ve donated to before,” Green said. “I called and asked what I could do besides send money, and they said if I’d ever like to do an exhibit and donate the proceeds, it would be wonderful. It took a while for me to get organized and find a home for it, and here we are.”
In her series, Green makes a point to focus on subjects specific to the regions to which she has traveled, be it Indonesia, Vietnam or Burma.
“I’ve got a lot of photos of Western Europe, but I think things that are less Western are more interesting because of the differences,” she said. From the labor of a typical morning to dress and social traditions, Green’s photographs represent the ordinary experiences of daily life.
“What interests me is when I go to live in some culture, things are so distinct about that culture or the way they practice their religion. I see the distinctiveness in each culture, but also the common threads that run through humanity,” she said.
Born, raised and schooled in Los Angeles, Green has always had a fascination with people. “I first studied psychology and cultural anthropology at UCLA. Then, I decided that I really wanted to commit to working with people, and I got a master’s degree in social work at USC. After being in practice for a number of years, I decided that I really needed to study further and enhance my skills and my theoretical knowledge, so I went back and got a Ph.D. in clinical social work.”
Years later, Green underwent psychoanalytic training while conducting her own clinical practice at the same time. In addition to running her practice, she works as a consultant for Flintridge Prep.
An avid traveler, Dr. Green has been taking photographs since she was a teenager.
“I got a scholarship to travel between high school and college, and once I got my first glimpse of Paris I said, ‘I’m going to do a lot of this.’
“Probably around 10 or 12 years ago, I took a trip to India with a friend who’s a professional photographer, and I was watching her work and she was giving me pointers and complimented me on the eye I had for picking out scenes and compositions. It inspired me to practice more and learn more. I took couple of courses and shot anything I could.”
It is through her photographic lens that Green simultaneously conveys the diversity of each culture and the similarities within the human race. In her photo “Girls Cooling Off,” two Indonesian girls converse near a stream at a family event. The photo resembles two French women in Green’s “Hair Day,” who stand chatting outside a salon in Nice.
“It’s connecting. That’s what my work is about,” Green said. “Relationships and seeing how people connect and do their lives everyday. In approaching somebody or some scene, I’m really interested in what the mood is and what the emotion is. Not just what they’re doing, but how they’re approaching it.”
Though many of her photographs capture the stillness of a scene or buildings and flowers specific to a particular land, Green always goes back to shooting people. “Different kinds of people…different perspectives; it makes traveling more meaningful.”
As for the future, Green does not plan to slow down. “I take photographs for the love of it,” she said. “I never expected that I would earn my living doing it. I like sharing with other people. I’m a people person.”
What: Special Moments in Farr Off Lands
When: Through the end of April
Where: Penelope’s Café
1029 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada
Tuesdays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.