Sheldon Green, a senior writer and photographer in the Office of Communications and Marketing, will showcase some of his photographic work from Nov 12-Jan 24 in the Cyrus M. Running Gallery.
Green started his job here at Concordia as a photographer 16 years ago by happenstance. His grade-school son was partially responsible for him obtaining this job. One morning, his son was eating cereal and was reading the Fargo-Moorhead Forum, and he found a classified ad for a writer and photographer at Concordia.
Green’s current job involved working for the state Chamber of Commerce, and the family was about to move to Bismarck for Green’s job. Green’s kids didn’t want to move to a different city, so that was one reason his son was looking at the classifieds. Now Green has been here for 16 years, and he can’t believe how fast the time has gone.
Green said that his job at Concordia has changed a lot since he first got here: it’s become much more integrated into the Web and Internet rather than focusing only on the Concordia magazine. Now Green’s position includes helping with brochures, Web pages, and special mailings, along with other tasks. He’s a photographer and a writer, and he can also help with editing and placing the photos.
His favorite part of his job includes the diversity of the tasks he is responsible for.
“I like the photography aspect but not all by itself,” he said. “I like the writing aspect but not all by itself; I like to combine both of them. If you’re a good observer, you can get a good photographic image and write a good story, too.”
Since the gallery has to work in advance to secure artists, Green’s upcoming show has been in the making for a couple years now. Peter Schultz, chair and assistant professor in
art department, and Green were conversing over coffee one morning and were discussing how Green had so many pictures from various study abroad trips that people don’t see, since they’re more focused on the people they encounter on the trips rather than the architecture or scenery.
Typically, students would rather see pictures of major landmarks of the countries they’d be visiting than up-close shots of that country’s inhabitants, according to Green. Schultz came up with the idea of the show, and Green picked photos that target places the students who study abroad would go and the experiences they have.
“[These pictures] show what I’m seeing when I’m there with them and the students aren’t in these photos but they might be next to me or behind me,” he said. “It shows how we relate to the people we meet abroad; we’re encountering them, and I’m right in front of them.”
Green said he’s experiencing a lot of emotions about the upcoming gallery show, entitled “Encounters.” He said he’s both thrilled and scared to death.
“It’s an honor to show my work,” he said. “These are the images that mean the most to me. [People] are going to see who I am in terms of my vision and how I want to relate to people.”
Green has been working on the photos in this show for 16 years, and he’s nervous about how people will respond.
“In this show, I decided to do all people photos because that’s the true sense of how we encounter the studying abroad,” he said. “If you can connect, now you’re a traveler and you’re learning. All the people we see are right up close and personal, and that’s the way Concordia study abroad is.”
Jim Cella from the communications department works with Green whenever pictures are needed for the sports department. Cella has worked with Green for the past five or six years, and he thinks Green does a great job getting the right picture because he’s had experience shooting pictures for the Green Bay Packers in the past.
“It’s fun to have a person you work with who gets it and what you’re trying to tell with the story in the photos,” Cella said. “I’m always picky for pictures for athletics. I don’t want a million pictures; I want one where you can tell what happened. I want more emotion and things like that rather than just your stock pictures that everybody else does. Sheldon does a great job.”
Schultz met Green when Schultz first arrived at Concordia.
“He was already well-known as a traveler and adventurer,” Schultz said. “We clicked right away.”
Cathy McMullen, English associate professor, said his photographs encompass much more than just a nice scene.
“They’re not just pretty pictures,” she said. “They really tell stories about people and places.”
Cella said the work environment with Green has been very positive and fun.
“[Green] gets pumped because he likes athletics too, and then I get excited too and I think that helps him,” he said. “He’ll get pumped if he gets a good picture or if a student photographer gets a good shot. He gives credit and he’s always willing to help and if I need something done at the last minute, he’ll say no problem. It’s fun.”
McMullen said she thinks it’s wonderful his work is being recognized as “the art it truly is.” Some things about Green that stand out to her include his enthusiasm for each assignment and his wide array of talents.
“Even when shooting pictures for classes, he’s always excited about the assignment and he makes sure it tells the story,” she said. “He’s just as good a writer as a photographer; he does profiles for the Concordian magazine, and he’s a good teacher as well.”
Senior Brent Sands took the digital photography class Green taught last spring, and he learned just how involved the process of taking a picture really is. He thinks Green’s work is excellent due to the viewpoints and camera angles he uses.
“Some are right up in your face,” he said. “He knows what he’s doing.”
Sands thinks that it will be exciting to see some photographs in the gallery for a change of pace.
“It’ll be cool to see his work from an artist’s perspective opposed to just the business aspect,” Sands said.
Schultz always thought Green was a “bad-ass,” and he thinks this new showing is a great example of the experiences available here at Concordia.
“For years, he has traveled the world and that experience is stamped on every image that you’ll see,” he said. “The guy is a genius.”
Green said his show is comprised of all of his favorite photos, but he has two favorites out of those. One is of a Chinese farmer because of how hard Green had to work to get that photo. The other is a picture of two boys in Peru “tooting on plastic horns while locked into a wooden box all day by their fearful and protective parents,” Green said.
Some of the countries highlighted in this show include Israel, Turkey, Peru, India, China, and a few others.
“There is much to learn in all the places that Concordia travels to, and our students are so fortunate to have this opportunity,” Green said.
Senior Megan Rice was also in Green’s digital photography class last spring semester. She worked with him over the summer and now works with him a few days a week in and outside of the photo studio.
“Sheldon is really nice, eager to teach, try new things, and be creative,” she said. “[The class was] interesting. He tries every possible angle to get the best picture.”
I’m a senior at Concordia graduating in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Journalism is my life and my passion, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.