It was my dad who got me started in photography, and who, on my 12th birthday, presented me with a Nikon film camera and a 50mm lens. For years, this was the only camera I used or needed, gradually adding a few lenses and later a tripod. In 1995 I took a day off work to join an MU Extension class on photography in the Ozarks with Professor Oliver Schuchard. In 1996 I made the bold move of enrolling in art and photography classes at both MU and Columbia College for the spring semester. At MU I learned the importance of previsualization from Oliver Schuchard, and at Columbia College I spent many an hour in the classroom and in the darkroom, learning from Ed Collings.
1996 and 1997 were very formative years for my personal approach to traditional photography, learning not just from the classroom and in the darkroom, but also studying and absorbing the works and visions of other photographers, painters, artists, poets, writers, and musicians, all of whom influenced my own growing vision.
During 1998 I put more time into photography than the two previous years combined, and I became fascinated by the visual magic offered by nocturnal photography. I was also juggling a class and work schedule that left me my only free time at the end of the day, as the sky was darkening, so during this period night photography was my only option. In June 1998 I attended a weeklong photography workshop in Glacier National Park, and went on to take photography trips to New Mexico, New Orleans, Illinois, and the Ozarks between 1998 and 2001. My first gallery show in Columbia was in the MSA/GPC craft studio gallery, and a later show took place in the Golden Hippo Gallery on Broadway.
Much of my early work was dedicated to photographing downtown Columbia by night, and to documenting rural churches and small towns in Missouri. Most of this work was done on black and white film, and I continue to use film-based photography when I document Missouri’s rural churches, a project I have been working on since 1999.
Since returning to Columbia in 2008, I have gotten more involved in the community, volunteering as an event photographer for the True/False Film Festival, Access Arts School of Service, The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, Ragtag Film Society, and the Boone County History and Culture Center. I currently serve as presiding chair of the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, occupy a seat on the Columbia Tree Board, work as a volunteer coordinator for the Food Bank, and serve as Project Director for Missouri Conservation Corps, an environmental nonprofit I helped to start two years ago.