Heading into college I wanted to be a writer. Though I preferred creative writing such as short stories & essays, I knew I needed a career that could pay the bills right out of school. Becoming a journalist seemed to be the logical choice. Photography wasn’t even on my radar even though I’ve always been a very visual person & passionate about art since I was a child.
It wasn’t until my Sophomore year at the College of DuPage in suburban Chicago that I took my first photography class. I’m not entirely sure why I signed up for the class, I really didn’t have much of an interest since I associated photography with grumpy, old men like my grandfather who was an avid hobbyist. Maybe I wanted to have some connection with my father’s father, or maybe it was just intuition, but sign up I did.
When I walked into the photography section of C.O.D.’s Art Center I was greeted by the intoxicating sent of photo developing chemistry & the visual overload of a state of the art (for the early 1990’s) photography studio & darkrooms. My association of photography with grumpy, old men flew out the window to be replaced by photographer as rock star! It wasn’t long before I was hooked! A new path was chosen. Writing was still a part of me, but became secondary to photography.
I soon transferred to Northern Illinois University majoring in Journalism with an emphasis on photojournalism and minoring in Art, again with an emphasis on photography. It was in my classes at NIU where I learned how to edit & critique my own work and how to keep striving & learning to be a better photographer. In my journalism classes I also learned how the eye scans a page which combined with what I learned in my art classes about design & color theory helped me “see” even more than I had before. I had always been fascinated by the world around me, but now that fascination grew exponentially!
My time at NIU helped me as a photographer (and artist!) not just while I was in the classroom, but also in working in the field. I had 3 different jobs relating to photography while I was in school: Photojournalist for the daily student newspaper, The Northern Star; Event Photographer at Joe Photo; Customer service for Wolf Camera. These 3 very different photography jobs did a LOT to form me into a well rounded photographer early on.
Those few short years laid an expansive, rock-solid foundation for the photographer I am today. I am very thankful for all of the crazy twists & turns that my journey took in those college years. There are many stories to tell and some, like the story of how I met the love of my life, Kristie, may just show up in this blog sooner or later.
Some of my earliest work: