Where It All Began!

Sometimes, for us to understand where we are going, we have to take a moment to remember where we came from. I often get asked the question, "How did you get into Photography?" and I always have to stop myself from being like..."Well, duh. That's just obviously what I was always going to be." I had THE best experience and the greatest mentor when I was in high school with my photo teacher, Mr. Ron Marschel! Whether he knows it or not (and I'm pretty darn sure he does), this man has touched and impacted more students than I think he can even conceive! First, you need to understand Marsch. He's a man with a peg-leg (he had polio when he was a kid), and I think he's on his second pacemaker....and he is STILL teaching!! He is a person who has beat the odds when they were all against him and continues to have the best out look on life!

I remember passing by his room as a freshman in high school and just being constantly intrigued by what was going on in there! All of the students were artsy upper-classmen who were always working on the school newspaper - or just hanging out. Marsch's room had a vibe unlike any other classroom in the school and I just HAD to be in there! Then, I found out there was a darkroom...it was all over. I was on a mission.

I loved the darkroom. First, it was dark and mysterious. Then, the endless possibilities of creation were just right at my fingertips and it was amazing! It was then that I started taking photos (all film, mind you) for the school newspaper and yearbook. Hooked is an understatement. It wasn't even an obsession really, it was just simply where I belonged.

We all have those moments and mentors in life who define our future. For me, it was Marsch. He's crazy, he's outspoken, he's bold...and he's always right. He pushed me to think out of the box and to not stop until I got the shot. He didn't use a text book, instead, he looked me in the eye and gave me some weird-philosophical-backwards answer to my question that later on I would be like, Ohhhhh!!!! Got it! He didn't teach me the uber technical elements of photography, rather, he taught me how to feel and the organic process of creating a remarkable image.

I took a trip back to visit Marsch, where he is still, undoubtedly, making an impact on his students! His room is still filled with the same piles of crap, and there are remnants everywhere of moments that are preserved from his student's journeys! The fact that his room hasn't changed is a little mind-blowing, yet necessary. The students who resonate with Marsch are those who look around and notice the memories of the past and the value that it brings to their present.

As I think about 2010 and the amazing things that I have accomplished, I also have taken a moment to look back and realize what I want for 2011! Having a teacher like Marsch was most definitely the #1 reason I am who I am, as an artist! One of my 2010 goals was all about giving back to my community and, hopefully, impacting them as much as I have been in the past by my mentors. I have more than enjoyed my time teaching others. We started the MinneShops and LOVEe Consults and It has been absolutely amazing and fulfilling!  For 2011, I want to step it up a notch. I'm already kicking things off with Elevate (which is 2 weeks away...SO freaking excited!) and I hope to continue to teach, inspired and do more workshops throughout the year! I'm also hoping to do some speaking sessions in actual high schools this year to help inspire students and teachers...we'll see!

The possibilities are simply endless!


Special thanks to Marsch for letting me crash into his room for a day! It was good to be back!