About Will Kerner PhotographyAt the age of 10 my father gave me my first camera, a Kodak Brownie. One of the photographs I made with it, of father holding my brother’s hand as they board a ship, is one I treasure to this day.
I earned a B.F.A. at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1980 and subsequently traveled widely and exhibited my photographic work in galleries.
In 1990 I photographed a wedding for the first time. Two years later I had begun to build a practice in earnest. From the beginning I determined that my approach would incorporate elements of my travel photography, namely quiet observation, thus allowing the photograph to reveal itself.
Coinciding with the beginning of my wedding photography career something else very exciting happened in the 1990: the birth of Live Arts, a vital community theater which has grown in a remarkable way since its inception. As co-founder, Executive Director and Production Manager during the first decade I gained invaluable experience not only as a photographer (I am still the principal photographer for the Live Arts archive), but also in working with people.
In the last decade my photographic work has taken on another dimension as I have worked with Operation Smile and the Building Goodness Foundation, two humanitarian aid groups, as mission photographer. The experiences I’ve had on these trips -- to Honduras, Kenya, Vietnam, Paraguay, Brazil, Haiti and Guatemala -- have enriched me as a person and as a photojournalist.
In 2005 I co-founded and acted as Producer for LOOK3 The Festival of the Photograph, an international photography Festival based in Charlottesville. Working with this group has been an exciting challenge. The first annual Festival took place in Charlottesville in June 2007. It was a huge success on which we are building for the future.
Someone once told me that the most important skill for a photographer to possess is the ability to improvise. This is one of the most valuable skills I’ve learned from my years as a photographer, working in the theater, and now with the Festival. It is a skill I utilize on every shoot. I love what I do because every day is different, every shoot holds new challenges.
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