My life is as an entrepreneur, special events photographer, and founder of Chappell Studio/MarathonFOTO. I sold my first art work at age four to a compassionate neighbor. I started doing event photography at age eighteen when a fellow fraternity member noticed I never had dates on the weekend and could therefore assign me the job of taking party photos. The diversity of my editorial photographic work thankfully evolved to range from celebrities and presidents, to marathons, world record setting events, and graduations. This afforded me the travel opportunities, and time to develop my artistic work.
My editorial work also bestowed me the opportunity to attend photo workshops with some of the great photographers of the twentieth century. I was fortunate to study under Ansel Adams, and during an afternoon on the beach at Ansel's workshop, Ruth Bernhard and I inspected the sand and shells at Point Lobos. She showed me shells as small as the sand in which they lay. There was wonder in things so small that were out of sight to casual observation. To this day, my work reflects the grand landscape influence of Adams, and the appreciation of the “gift of the commonplace” and minuscule shown to me by Bernhard.
I live in the small town of Fairfield, Iowa, a haven of cultural diversity, spirituality, and green living. After arriving here, I began capturing the serene mundanity of my midwestern surroundings and using my days off during travel to explore earth’s corners with the camera. Photography is my passion and I have spent my life documenting the world through a lens. I wish to share the wonder of nature, light, and form that inspires me, and bring joy and fascination to those who view my work.
The play of light on form is my primary inspiration. I have been trained both in the grand landscape and in macro photography. Since my background is in photojournalism, I approach each scene with the intent to be open to the story the scene is telling and share what Nature unfolds to me. Although I often approach a scene with a previsualized idea, I remain open to the unique opportunity Nature presents at the time. It is often better than I could have imagined. The newness and magic of each day gives me inspiration in forming my compositions .
My photos are made with 35mm cameras with high resolution sensors to capture maximum detail. I use a variety of lenses from 14mm ultra wide to 400mm ultra telephoto. For my micro compositions, I use primarily either a 100 or 200 micro Nikkor lens. In most cases, I use a tripod for maximum stability and detail and I expose using a cable release to eliminate any vibration in the camera thus yielding photos that are sharp on enlargement.
My professional career started when I entered university. I have specialized in photographing people at moments of achievement. Most of my professional work is photographing graduations and running events. Over my career, I have photographed over 4 million people. As the founder of Marathon Foto, I have been inducted into the Running USA Hall of Champions. I have had the good fortune to photograph the setting of numerous world records as well as many sports celebrities, Presidents, and world figures.
My art photography has been selected for inclusion in numerous juried shows for galleries and art museums in the US and is held in private and corporate collections internationally.
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