Area photographer gets exposure at library
Joe Helgeson’s photography is being featured in an exhibit at the Ellsworth Public Library this month. Helgeson operates JH Pure Photography from his home south of Ellsworth. Photo by Bill Kirk
Picture this: a photo exhibit that not only adds to the educational environment at the Ellsworth Public Library, but gets the photographer some needed exposure.
Joe Helgeson of JH Pure Photography, south of Ellsworth, is the contributor. Helgeson said Wednesday he put up 18 of his photos in the library late last month and they’ll remain on display through July.
“It’s a diverse range of pictures…everything from portraits and weddings to wildlife and nature,” he said, noting a large one in the center features his business’ name and there are business cards available for patrons to take.
The Clayton native said he started his freelance photography enterprise in 2007. He and wife Kristin, originally from Woodbury, Minn., and now a high school math teacher in Rosemount, Minn., moved from Hudson to their present property along CTH V, where they built their home in 2010.
“There’s a separate entrance for my photo customers,” he said.
Helgeson became a member of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce, an organization for which he has taken pictures at such events as Pumpkin Party in the Park and the Spring Fever Expo, he said. At the latter this March, he had a booth just down the way from one arranged by the library. There, he talked with Library Director Shelley Anderson and she invited him to exhibit his work.
The 2000 graduate of Clayton High School was interested in the sciences, English and the arts while still in school, he said. He was also involved in athletics—football, basketball and baseball. But he had a special fondness for the outdoors.
That prompted him to pursue natural resource management at UW-River Falls, where he graduated in 2005. It led to his photographing wildlife and nature. He hadn’t previously entertained the idea of being behind a camera.
“My mom was a hobbyist,” he said about the closest family connection to the vocation, referring to Karen Schnell, still of his hometown. His father, Randy, lives in Fargo, N.D.
Helgeson said he held several jobs during school. At the time, he never thought of having his own business. In a small school, students pick a certain lane and generally stick with it, he said.
“When I started taking photos, I could see the art in it,” he said of an immediate attraction.
Soon, he was transitioning from wildlife and nature into weddings and portraiture, he said.
“It was by default…you do something for a friend,” he explained.
For more pleasae read the July 10 print version of the Herald.