About the Photographer
About the Photographer
Donald Wassel Photographs
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We all have major events in the courses of our lives that become defining moments. Those moments change the way we think, feel, remember, and the way see the world. They shape us into who we are. For Craig, a defining moment was staged when Hurricane Katrina strengthened dramatically on August 28th, 2005, and set its sites directly on New Orleans. His parents, who own a beautiful shaker shingle sided ranch on a serene piece of property a few miles north of Lake Ponchartrain, did the right and safe thing and decided to evacuate.

Out of harm's way and traveling in good weather on a divided highway just outside of Jackson, Mississippi, a car crossed the wide grass median at a high rate of speed from the oncoming lane and struck his parents car head on. His father (Donald Wassel) held on until the morning of September 9th, but passed away (eulogy). His mother was the only one out of four to survive the accident.

In the wake of such grief and tragedy and an event that will never make sense, the way we look at the world and our lives changes. As Craig prepared for memorial services, he realized the only photographs in reach were recent ones of his father with grandchildren. Certainly Craig's children were a big part of his father's life, but he was not able to show all that he wanted about the father he knew.

Photography was a seed that Craig's father planted in him when he was eleven, and they enjoyed the aspiration for it together. He taught Craig the fundamentals, from depth of field to ASA and DIN settings to - most importantly - composition and capturing a moment. Craig's father converted an old coal room in their basement into a darkroom. He has fond memories of spending time with his father developing film, enlarging and retouching on a Besler C4 enlarger, as well as shooting time trials at the Indianapolis 500 and so many more.

Craig's knowledge and experience grew over the coming years as he photographed nature, motor sports, and family. He was a staff photographer for his high school year book for three years, and was named photography editor his junior year. The college years found him putting it aside as he became busy with studies and tennis, but the foundation remained.

The loss of his father, though, was a defining moment, and with it he decided to return with fervor to the love he wandered from when he went to college. He began building a view of his life by creating a legacy of photography he will pass on to his children.

His favorite subject will always be his own family, but as is seen in his 30 photographic art galleries (link) and in his portrait and event photography (link), his lens and portfolio stretch far beyond. He photographs architecture, children, people, fauna and flora, and many other subjects he finds inspiring. He loves candid portraitures, and always looks to capture people in their life surroundings rather than in a staged setting as it speaks more about their story. Further, he has a passion for landscapes, night photography, and macro photography, and monochrome images like those in his "Absolut Black & White" and "Waning Winter" galleries.

So having come full circle, a camera is almost always at his side, and his eyes are always moving from side to side looking for the extraordinary.

"It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary."

~ David Bailey, Face Magazine
London, 1984 ~

Canoe Sunset - 1980

Christmas on State Street - 1979

© All content Copyright 1978-2012 Craig Wassel Photography ©