A CONVERSATION WITH KANSAS! PHOTOGRAPHERS ABOUT THEIR LIVES IN PHOTOGRAPHY
AARON PATTON IS A COMMERCIAL AND PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER IN WICHITA, KANSAS. He primarily works for companies and magazines, meeting people from all different industries and telling their stories through images.
Photography is his work and his hobby, as he constantly pursues personal projects in his off-time. From his art series “Shapes” to his landscape/travel work, Aaron believes in leading with work and letting inspiration follow.
He and his wife, Christina, each run their own photography business and share a studio in the historic Kress building in downtown Wichita.
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE IN TERMS OF A FAMILY TREE, WHO IS YOUR “MOTHER”? YOUR “FATHER”? YOUR “BROTHER” OR “SISTER”?
If I could be the photo-child of Annie Liebovitz and Irving Penn, I’d spend my career seeking their approval. Clay Cook and Russell James would be the older siblings I’d annoy by trying to be their copycat little brother.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BEST CHANCE PHOTO TAKEN IN KANSAS. WHERE WAS IT? HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
I was working with a client, Dean Lauterbach, on his family ranch just outside of Zenda. We’d had the shoot planned for weeks, and it was a beautiful day as I drove down there. Just as we were getting started, storm clouds started to gather in the distance, threatening to cut our day short. As they rolled in, I was able to get one of my favorite photographs of my career that I call “Ready for the Storm” – an unintimidated rancher standing tall in the face of the impending weather.
PINPOINT THREE KANSAS LOCATIONS (TOWNS/CITIES) THAT HAVE SIGNIFICANCE FOR YOU OR YOUR CAREER. WHAT ARE THEY?
Wichita– This city has been the heart and soul of my career.
Lawrence– I don’t spend much time there, but we can all be thankful for Free State.
St. Mark’s– Growing up in a rural area, I was incredibly fortunate to have had the teachers I did as a kid. They stoked my desire for learning, encouraged curiosity, and shaped me (against my will, most days) into a hard worker. Thanks, Mrs. Wolf et al.
WHO WOULD YOU NAME AS AN “HONORARY KANSAN” FOR THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY? WHY?
Travis Heying. He was born in South Dakota, but he’s been a Wichita Eaglephotographer for over 20 years. The work he’s done as a photojournalist is absolutely incredible. I’m constantly inspired by what he shoots.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAMERA? WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?
The first camera I remember using was a Pentax K-1000. I was four or five years old and I liked watching the light meter move up and down in the viewfinder.
WHAT ARE SOME UNCOMMON OBJECTS THAT YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH?
Mona Lisa smiles. I like photographing expressions that leave the viewer wondering just a little.
WHERE IN KANSAS?
I’m a Kansan through and through. Born in Wichita, raised in St. Mark’s, and now living and working back where I started.
WHAT WAS THE MOMENT YOU WANTED TO BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER? HOW OLD WERE YOU AT THE TIME?
I started getting really interested in photography in my late teens, but shortly after getting married, my wife and I decided we’d make the leap to “be photographers.” Three days later, I had all the paperwork filed to start a business, and nine months after that it was my full-time job.
A good photographer knows when to experience a moment rather than to photograph it, and to never think you’re done learning.