about Thomas Lemke - Thomas Lemke

My beginnings were in Central Wisconsin where I roamed a backyard that was a virtually limitless expanse of farm fields, woodlots, lakes and rivers unbounded by fences. Before the term was used for raising heathy chickens, I was free-ranging.

At age 12 my Uncle gave me a camera and I started to capture my world on film. My father helped me build a darkroom from scratch and the sight of first print emerging in the developer hooked me. Photography would be my passion and my career.

I moved to Milwaukee to attend Layton School of Art and then Milwaukee Area Technical college. I was hired as a company photographer for Northwestern Mutual. My wife, Joanne, and I have made our home in Mequon, Wisconsin for the past 38 years.

I made my living photographing people for the most part. Portraits, public relations and advertisements were my mainstay.  But no matter my urban commitments I always found time to create landscapes of my favorite places, those woods and rivers in wilder country.

I have studied color and composition with Ernst Haas, the photographic range of light with John Sexton and  the beauty of grays and tonality with George Tice.  I try to incorporate my experience and understanding of photography into each image I make.

There is a clarity of experience; a sense of time standing still when I'm working. It is like meditation when the world distills down to the subject and me. Past and future become irrelevant in that moment. I try to discover something that has been overlooked or look at familiar subjects in a new way. When I am fortunate I can transform them into something extraordinary.

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