MEET NORA CHARTERS
My love affair with photography started very early. I started shooting at age 13 for my school newspaper and taking portraits of my friends. At 17, I moved from my hometown in Connecticut to NYC and got a BFA in photography from New York University’s photo program. I worked in fashion advertising in NYC for over 15 years as a photo assistant and set designer until I discovered yoga.
I discovered my spiritual home in the world of yoga. I left the world of fashion and became the manager of a chain of yoga studios in Brooklyn, NY, called Area Yoga. I knew from my very first yoga class that I wanted to become a yoga teacher. After about four years at the studios, I took my teacher training courses and got certified. I started out teaching restorative yoga and then got certified in yin yoga as well. I now specialize in teaching gentle, breath-focused classes that challenge and engage the mind-body and soul. I love teaching beginners and anyone who feels drawn to yoga but feels intimidated by the faster-paced classes.
I also started to photograph yoga teachers during my time at Area Yoga in NYC. Whenever I could, I would shoot the other teachers during breaks between the morning and evening classes, with the studios as my backdrop—later finding outdoor places to shoot, the urban beaches along the east river, rooftops, and parks. I realized that I was trying to capture a glimpse into the beautiful souls of my fellow teachers. The word “yoga” in Sanskrit translated means “union” or “to yoke.” The idea is that as we do yoga and sit in meditation over time, we become able, if just for a fleeting moment, to yoke our soul with the universal soul—the life force that we breathe in with every breath, every beautiful moment in the sun, etc. We achieve union with that universal life force.
That’s what I try to capture in my photographs and yoga classes—that essence, that living heartbeat within every person, plant, animal, etc. Whether I’m capturing the light in the eyes of a young woman in love or the sunset light reflecting off the water at Mansfield Hollow State Park, my portraits are a love letter to the divine creative energy that holds us as we go through our lives.
Om Shanti, everyone... peace and beauty for all and the world.