Photo courtesy Chryseis Dawn Patterson

Photo courtesy Chryseis Dawn Patterson

I’m a professional photographer based in the Knoxville Metro area, specializing in individual portraits. I also photograph fine art landscapes in various parts of the country.

Photography isn't just a job to me - it's my peculiar obsession. I've been a photographer for most of my life. My earliest experience with photography was when I was about 13 years old. I took a 110 pocket camera to summer camp. That's the first time I experienced firsthand this amazing tool that lets you freeze a moment in time. Of course, film and processing was expensive in those days, so there were limits to the number of shots I took. Each photo was a financial investment, and you had to think carefully before pressing the shutter.

My 1st camera, Christmas 1984, taken with my mom's own 110 camera.

When I was even younger, I was fascinated by the way light fell upon various surfaces. Sometimes it was the moon or a streetlight that would make snow crystals sparkle radiantly on a chilly New England winter night. I took special delight in waking up to the sight of snow-covered white pines outside my bedroom window, reflecting golden morning sunlight against the backdrop of a deep blue sky. I’ve always been drawn to details that most people overlook. Anyone can take a pleasing photo of a famous landmark, but I look for the beauty beyond the obvious, especially in the mornings and late afternoons, when shadows are long and texture is revealed. Those are the fleeting moments that really reveal the soul of a place.

Portrait of my friend in college, 1994.

As a high school sophomore, I signed up for a introductory photography class. At the time, I was simply looking to satisfy an art elective, but I quickly fell in love with photography. I bought my first 35mm SLR, a Konica TC-X, that I own even to this day. (This was 1987 - nobody had digital cameras yet.) With permission from my photography teacher, Mrs. Clary, I stayed after hours, experimenting with prints in the school darkroom. The majority of my early photos were not memorable. I kept at it, anyway, shooting at least a roll per week for the remainder of high school and well into college. Looking back at my earliest work, I see the gradual improvement of my photographic eye. It’s a process that never ends.

After my first year in college, I considered transferring to art school so I could study photography. After some soul searching, I decided to stay where I was at the time. I kept up my photography "habit," shooting portraits for classmates. One day I discovered that a local photo lab had a photo I took of my friend, Jennifer, displayed under glass on their counter top. It was then I realized that I'd reached a personal milestone. Even now, I’m deeply flattered when friends use photos I’ve taken of them for their social media profiles.

Today, I pursue photography as a full time vocation. Over time, I've broadened my horizons and expanded into new directions with photography. I continue to be an active learner, attending workshops, studying the masters of yesterday and today, and taking online training.

I pour that same level of passion into every photo session I do.