Joseph A. Rheaume (https://josephrheaume.wordpress.com) is a fine art photographer and educator from the western U.S. His passion for photographic image making was fostered at a very young age while watching his father make photographs with a Polaroid Land Camera. An active career in music gave way to his educational endeavors in 1996 when he began his studies at Arizona State University. By 2003 he had earned degrees in Engineering (BS) with an emphasis in Graphic Communications, Technology (MS) with an emphasis in Printing, and finally Fine Art (MFA) with an emphasis in Photography. Most recently Joseph has worked in the cultural heritage preservation imaging sector managing the digital imaging department at the Center for Creative Photography & project and production management for Digital Transitions Division of Cultural Heritage, managing projects for clients including but not limited to The Getty Research Institute, Stanford University Library, and The History Factory. He also is an active Digital Imaging & Graphic Arts Consultant on the West Coast for his own company Black Box Pacific / SW. Joseph also offers photography and printmaking workshops throughout the continental United States, as well as one-on-one personalized instruction. Joseph’s passions in photography include collotype methods, photogravure printing, alternative photographic processes (Salted Paper Printing, Van Dyke Brown, Cyanotype, Platinum/Palladium, Wet Plate Collodion, Gum Bichromate Printing), and finding ways to incorporate digital technologies with these 19th and 20th Century photographic processes. He possesses a variety of technical knowledge and abilities involving photography and graphic arts. He has worked in a variety of graphics industry areas and has also been involved in academia as a professor, corporate trainer, and curriculum developer in design, graphics, interactive media, and fine art photography.
LACP Interviews Joseph Rheaume
LACP asks Joseph Rheaume ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.
LACP: What kind of photographer are you?
Joseph Rheaume: I am a fine art photographer; I approach my photography very conceptually.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
JR: I have been making photographs my whole life, but consciously since 1983 when I was introduced to the darkroom.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
JR: I hold a Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from Arizona State University, but before that I studied at various colleges such as Moorpark College in Moorpark, California, and Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
JR: When I started teaching photography as a graduate student it became apparent to me that this was something very special and I had a passion for it.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
JR: I have succumbed to distractions but I have never given up or thought about giving up photography. Photography, in all of its forms, is very much a part of who I am; I cannot imagine giving that up.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
JR: The rewards of a life in and about photography are amazing. I never really think about making a sacrifice when it comes to photography but I probably could have made a heck of a lot more money as an engineer.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
JR: I have gained the ability to see and watch, and I have also increased my visual vocabulary.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
JR: I teach alternative photographic processes at LACP.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
JR: Teaching allows me to share my knowledge with like-minded people and it is very rewarding to see people get excited about learning new things whether it is some kind of technique, process, or new way to approach the process of making photographs. I like to make a difference, and it is fulfilling when students let me know that I did make a difference. It’s a great feeling.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
JR: Embrace technology, don’t be afraid of change.