I started with one photography class in high school after my dad piqued my interest, then practiced & studied photography as a hobby on my own for about 20 years before I realized that it was what I most wanted as a career. I then took night classes part-time for three years and completed a full-time one-year program in photography. After graduating, I worked for several years assisting scores of very talented photographers and building up first my skills and then my business. In 2007 I cofounded event photography company Happening Photos with my good friend and award-winning documentary photographer Steve Hart. I now work primarily as an event & corporate photographer and take on editorial and portrait assignments as well. I have lived part-time in Central Asia for the past two years. My most recent assignment was to document for the US State Department a visit by a US scientific team visiting Kazakhstan to work on an international biodiversity project.
Professor Cornell currently teaches:
HPH 169 Fundamentals of Digital Photography and Photoshop
I think of myself as a consultant and my students as clients. It’s not my class, it’s theirs. I am there to help them accomplish their goals, imagine new ones, and discover the fun and satisfaction of playing with a camera. There’s nothing more inspiring to me as an instructor than someone who really wants to know something. And, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the enthusiasm of a student who’s putting a new skill to use. So, in class I welcome questions, ideas, suggestions, experimentation, and free-ranging conversation.
On Precollege Programs:
Regardless of age, there is a joyful sense of exploration in people who are new to photography that is infectious. What’s unique about younger students is the freedom from preconceptions about what a photo “should” be. I see in them an open-minded approach to image making that comes naturally and that veteran photographers work hard later in life to rediscover. It makes me want to go out and make pictures without an agenda, just for the excitement of looking and seeing.
Industry Experience/Recent Exhibitions:
As cofounder of Happening Photos, I photograph all kinds of events – conferences, performances, weddings – and I enjoy the challenge of problem-solving on-the-fly in new and constantly changing circumstances. I also take on editorial assignments and make travel & landscape photos for publication and exhibition & sale as fine-art prints. My photos of Mt. Washington are in the permanent collection of the Kiyosato Museum in Japan. Others are on the walls of private buyers around the world.