Stacey Van Berkel • Greensboro • Class of ’03
“I find beauty in everything — in people, in places, in food. I’m kind of a different photographer in the sense that I don’t look at a lot of other people’s work. I never really have. I come across it. But I find most of my inspiration from travel, and looking at art, architecture, and so on. For me, that’s my lifeblood. Being a Canadian living here in North Carolina, I get to travel around the state and see some really intriguing things that I might not have discovered on my own.” – Stacey Van Berkel
Left: Photograph by Maria Luisa Arce
Above: Van Berkel took this shot of TV chef Vivian Howard cooking at her home near Kinston, and the two have since bonded over their shared adoration of food.
Eric Waters • Durham • Class of ’12
“I tried to find a niche that’s editorial, somewhat commercial, something more authentic. I like going around and seeing the interesting color and things going on in the state. But I especially enjoy shooting food and restaurants and things like that. I’m an artist, a musician, and a foodie. My interest in food comes from cooking, farming, and working in the food industry. I have a big connection with that world. So I enjoy [shooting] the things I enjoy participating in anyway.” – Eric Waters
Above: Photograph by Robert Donovan
Thomas Hash (above left) and Noble Kelly are all smiles at the NC Barbecue Revival that Waters photographed in Bahama. He also created a fruit-filled picture (right) for Big Spoon Roasters, a small nut butter company based in Durham.
Natalia Weedy • Durham • Class of ’02
“I built a pinhole camera when I was in third grade, so I knew from a really young age that this was what I wanted to do. This would be a profession that never bored me. My background is mostly in advertising, but I really approach advertising with an editorial flair. What I enjoy the most, what drives me, is basically having a unique project and a unique subject every time I have an assignment. No two days are ever the same. I’m always learning.” – Natalia Weedy
Left: Photograph by Mikel Barton
Weedy’s work takes her all over the world. This picture from near Almaty, Kazakhstan, was taken while she was in the country covering a mixed martial arts tournament.
Sara Brennan • Madison • Class of ’03
“I love photographing kids. I try to make our photo shoots more of a playdate than a photography session. Most of the time, I’m with people during their happiest times. But losing my father at a young age really made me realize how important photos are and documenting your life and the things around you. I think that shaped me and made me appreciate photography and find beauty in every situation.” – Sara Brennan
Left: Photograph by Melea Schneider
As an official photographer for Merlefest in Wilkesboro, Brennan combines her two passions: music and pictures. At left, a smiling child is the sign of a job well done.
Joey Seawell • Greensboro • Class of ’05
“I focus on the energy, whether it’s the way the light is coming across an image if it’s a landscape, or whether it’s lines coming together. If I’m photographing a person, it’s a sense of happiness. There’s always an underlying tone of a good feeling. I go for what feels right. What feels good. Maybe that’s a person who feels confident and happy when I’m making their portrait, or maybe I’m photographing landscapes with a composition that’s simple but happy and clean. The energy is a happy energy.” – Joey Seawell
Above: Self-Portrait by Joey Seawell
At left, model Ona Morgan visited Seawell’s studio in Greensboro to take some pictures for his personal portfolio. On the right, Seawell stopped on the way to an assignment to photograph cows in the fading light near Wilkesboro.
Jon Black • Greensboro • Class of ’07
“I’m a problem solver by nature, and photography is mostly problem solving along with creativity. It’s something I’ve been doing since I was about 15 years old. At that point, there was just no skill in my life that I was particularly good at. I was getting my braces off at my orthodontist, and he had a photo book on Australia, and the pictures really stood out and spoke to me. I could not quit thinking about it. The orthodontist ended up giving it to me because after I got my braces off, I hung out at the office and kept looking at the book. That really sparked my interest in photography.” – Jon Black
Black has traveled overseas to photograph Burmese monks in training (right) and Syrian refugees in Iraq (above). Closer to home, he photographed plates sold at Vietri in Hillsborough (left).
Jerry Wolford • Greensboro • Class of ’86
“I worked in Asheboro at the Courier-Tribune for eight months. It was my photojournalism boot camp. I learned I had an ability to quickly connect to people on a human level that belied the short time that we had known each other. Then I went to work for the Greensboro News & Record and worked there for 28 years. Now, my business partner, Scott Muthersbaugh, and I surround people with the artifacts of their lives. We might move something from their house into their picture. We build a set, in a way. When you look at a photograph of a person within their space, it tells their story.” – Jerry Wolford
Above: Photograph by Scott Muthersbaugh
Wolford asked NASCAR legend Richard Petty not to flash his trademark smile for a newspaper photo shoot. The result: a subdued, powerful portrait. Shots like this earned Wolford the North Carolina Press Association’s Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year award — twice.