In His Words...
I was born and raised in a rural town in Northern Iowa. From a young age I learned how to draw and would send drawings to my Grandfather who had moved several hours away. It was hard on me to have him so far away but I would work really hard on those drawings. Learning how to paint from watching Bob Ross, my artistic talents grew and I always wanted to see how realistic I could make my paintings. Sometimes I was frustrated because I couldn't get something just how I wanted it, but that frustration just pushed me to learn more.
One thing I did not know about myself was that I was color blind. I did not know this until I had to get glasses around the age of 14. Needless to say it was a shock. I guess I still see color in my own way but it's not necessarily how the rest of the world perceives color. My talents as an artist grew through High School and I excelled with my paintings. I had desires to go to Art School once I graduated but I was discouraged about my color blindness. I honestly did not feel that I would make it in art school. I had not shared with my art teacher that I was color blind and she was shocked because I had hid it well. So I backed away from pursuing an art major and instead answered the call to ministry. My Grandfather was a pastor and I felt I needed to follow in his footsteps.
Having gone down this road of ministry I still continued to follow my passion for art. I painted several paintings while working full time in a factory and being the Pastor of two country churches. That continued until 2010 when something began happening to me that I could not explain.
I started having unbelievable pain in my lower back and that was combined with weakness. I went to doctors after doctors and clinics after clinics but I was still getting nothing for answers. Finally it was discovered that I had tumors in my lower back that were wrapped around nerves. This would cause my muscles to spasm and it was incredibly painful.
At this point in my life I hit a low that I had never experienced before. I went from a healthy and strong young man to being in a wheelchair and using a cane. Walking was difficult. The tumors were removed through surgery but they grew right back. I was doing physical therapy, water therapy, and battling depression. It was during one of my doctors appointments I happened to have a camera with me. It was a simple point and shoot but I played around with the functions and took a photo in black and white that spoke to the artistic side of me.
Now throughout my life I had created many paintings and drawings. I considered that to be art, but I never before in my life thought that I could use the camera as a tool to create beautiful images. I was intrigued by this and started taking more and more photos. My artistic eye, that naturally saw composition, was guiding me with what I saw in the real world and the story that I wanted to tell with the images. Life opened up for me through the click of a camera. I do believe that God brought me to that point of disability, because had I not been at that place and gone through the experiences that I had, I probably never would have picked up a camera.
I was drawn to the artistic side of photography and creating fine art. I pushed myself physically to do more and more with a disability that doctors had said would never improve. It was the camera that got me out of the house and exploring the Midwest countryside looking for amazing photos. Prior to that I would stay inside mostly because I was embarrassed by my cane and wheelchair. In a way God used photography to spark my healing.
Getting stronger and having less pain each day I loved exploring the prairies and growing with my skills as a photographer. I developed abilities on my own through experience and began to grow a body of work. Each photo has a story that is personal to me as it captures a moment in time that will never be repeated.
Now I am at almost a 100% physically and my love for photography has grown leaps and bounds. I moved from northern Iowa to the Omaha area and God has blessed me with an amazing family. I have a story to tell through my art and I'm excited for the next phase of my journey through life.