Colleen Woolpert: Belonging in Syracuse

That area of the city where Fayette and Geddes Streets intersect was once called "The cradle of invention" and is today a center of inventive, innovative thinking, she noted.

Before starting her study in Syracuse

After training as a classical musician, Colleen studied at Western Michigan U with a major in art and a concentration in photography. A year after finishing college, she started her photography business, working as a freelance photojournalist and editorial shooter for newspapers and magazines.

About five years into the business, she shot her first wedding assignment, which led to more than 100 such assignments in fifteen states and in Mexico over the next several years. Her unique approach brought national attention. Her work regularly appeared in national magazines including Modern Bride.

What sets her apart is her work is quite eccentric, often drawing a similar clientel. Her weddings are shot more documentary style than portrait, but also include the classic portraiture necessary to document a grand affair.

There is a definite voice in her work. It is sparse, clear captures that can often mimic classic art. Woolpert thinks this comes from her passion for art history. Her work literally speaks to the observer, as a visual language, a commentary on the subject. And where appropriate, there is often something quite amusing in her captures.

Before enrolling as a graduate student in SU's School of Visual and Performing Arts, she did some teaching, which includes developing a photo program for a prep school in New Jersey. Since coming to Syracuse, she has taught photography to adults at Community Darkrooms, to a group of 12-year old girls (most of which were African refugees) at the Central Village Boys and Girls Club, to students at Syracuse University and guest lectured on photography at Onondaga Community College.

"My interest in teaching is to help students develop confidence and their own unique style," she said.

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