Kurt Cobain crowd-surfing, twisting on his shoulder blades.
My first love, rock n roll, was calling out to me from a coffee table book: "Screaming Life" by photographer Charles Peterson. But, to the surprise of a grunge rock kid with over 30 Melvins albums—yeah, I was cool—what struck me wasn't just the rockers I idolized, screaming their soundless energy from the pages, it was this incredible medium: the brilliance of a captured moment. Photography.
I grew up climbing trees and playing in dirt like any other kid from Eagle, Wisconsin. As a teenager, grunge rock molded me: Kurt Cobain could do no wrong and Eddie Vedder told me not to buy from Ticketmaster, so I didn't. Despite my deep connection to music as a fan, I felt like I wanted to participate on a grander scale. I needed a way to reach outside myself and connect with the rest of the world.
I went to the University of Wisconsin – Platteville seeking a journalism degree. Over several years, I worked my way up through the ranks to become Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper. Even though I was writing thousands of words a week, I never felt as much satisfaction as I did seeing one of my photos published on newsprint. Reminded of my passion for those electrifying rock band portraits from my teen years, I decided to transfer and finish my degree at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where I could dedicate my time and my energies to photography exclusively.
After about 10 years of shooting, I am still always on the look out for that next perfect shot. I’ll kneel in hot coals or hang upside from a tree branch to get it, if that’s what it takes. I love slice-of-life photography, landscapes, portraits – and I embrace a challenge. Current dares I have put onto myself are low-light photography and HDR imaging. I have also been pushing the limits of my photos with perfecting the art of the digital darkroom. One of my accidental specialties is food photography, so I decided to title my blog "Do Not Eat The Photos." Though the photos may appear delicious, please take my advice.
As a self-proclaimed geek, I've absolutely embraced digital photography, almost exclusively. Of course, I'll always appreciate the old school 8x10 view cameras, glass plates, and daguerreotypes; these are the inventions and images that have continued to inspire my peers and me. How can we take for granted the days of chemicals and dark rooms with no computer monitors? Nevertheless, digital photography is the future and I am there.
God willing, this is what I was born to do.
all images copyright - Kevin Groen Photography - 2009