Behind the Lens with Steve Wewerka
By Kyle Mianulli
“My goal is to part way show you something and then leave that door open…so that it leaves room for people to bring their own emotional experiences to it,” Wewerka says.
With 20 years of experience in commercial and freelance photography behind him, Wewerka’s images have told stories around the world. From the pages of LIFE Magazine, Time, and Sports Illustrated, to the brochures and promotional materials of large and small businesses alike, Wewerka’s portfolio spans the gamut of professional photography.
More recently, though, Wewerka has been rekindling his own creativity, focusing on fine art photography.
“About five years ago I was sort of hitting a creative wall. It just wasn’t fulfilling for me to do that type of work,” he says.
He loaded his car with boxes of prints to show anyone with interest, and set out down a new career path.
Though he avoids photo contests, as he says they conflict with his artistic motivations, his work has been recognized in a number of art fairs around the Twin Cities. He recently won first place prizes at the Stillwater and Stone Arch art fairs and took second place overall at the Edina art fair this past summer.
His work combines the familiar with the fanciful—naturally eliciting an emotional connection between viewer, image, and the cerebral human condition of which we are all a part.
Recently, Wewerka has been showing his “Barn series,” which he says harkens a feeling of independence and singularity to him. Barns are historically the focal point of a family, he says.
“That’s where they built everything, that’s where they stored their food, that’s where they storied their livestock.”
Inspired by his barn photos, families from around the state continue to contact Wewerka, asking him to capture their family stories as encapsulated in their own barns.
Wewerka’s fine art work includes several ongoing projects he says will continue to grow and change as he does.
“They will evolve as I evolve. As I grow older, wiser, dumber, whatever it is, then so will my imagery,” He says.
As it is, Wewerka has a lifetime of wisdom and experience he is now looking to share with others. He teaches a number of seminars and classes, including his Iphoneography class, which empowers people to visualize and capture stunning images with only their iPhones.
“People always think of photography as equipment,” he says. “But I use my iPhone all the time. It’s not about equipment, it’s about seeing. The Camera is simply the tool you use to express what you’re experiencing and what’s in front of you.”
The camera in your phone, he says, is also often all small businesses need to do many of their own visual communications. Another one of Wewerka’s recent endeavors involves mentoring small businesses and non-profits to do their own communications.
He says every business and organization, no matter the size, have compelling stories to tell about their work, products or customers. Hiring an outside photographer to help tell these stories is not always in the budget, though.
That’s where Wewerka steps in with 20 years of experience in non-profit and business communications. His goal is to give people the tools and knowledge to tell their own visual stories—something that is increasingly important in a hyper-connected, socially networked landscape.
To learn about Wewerka’s offerings and to explore more of his award-winning photography, visit his website at wewerkaphoto.com or follow him on Facebook. Also, catch a special presentation from Steve Wewerka at the upcoming Give & Take in the Creative Enterprise Zone, January 24.