Local Women: Ariniko O’meara
Seeing the city through a photographer’s eyes
Lansing native Ariniko O’Meara spent the past few years in Virginia, but recently returned to the area with her husband and son.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from down there, came back to Lansing and took a few pre-med classes,” she said “But I fell in love with photography and the chemistry of developing film, so I switched over to become a photographer.”
When asked how she got into photography, O’Meara explained that it started with her family.
“I was just documenting my family,” said O’Meara. “So, as my family grew, I was taking their photos. But then people were noticing my work and wanting me to shoot their weddings or their birthdays or family portraits, and it kind of grew from there.
“I loved that I could make my own schedule,” she continued. “I like being in charge and the flexibility of what I could do. I have twins and an older set of kids, so being able to attend to their activities and be home when I needed to be was very important.”
O’Meara has released a pair books: “A City Saunter Story” and “The City Saunter Project.” The former is a memoir of her time walking every street in Lansing. Its companion, “The City Saunter Project,” is a book of all the photos she took on those same walks.
“The book was so big,” explained O’Meara. “It was 95,000 words. I didn’t have any room for photos. And so I thought the best way to fully present the project was to have a complementary photo book.”
O’Meara expressed pleasure when asked how she felt about the many ways Lansing has changed since she was a young girl.
“It’s phenomenal to watch it kind of grow in that way; the progressiveness of it and going from what it was as a child to what it is now, it’s really exciting,” said O’Meara. “And I think some of the newer people coming into Lansing may think Lansing is almost ready to be this great city or that it’s almost there soon. … But I think if they go back and see how it’s progressed from the early ’70s all the way through, they might be a little more appreciative of where we are right now.”