My love affair with photography began the first time I watched an image magically appear from the chemical bath in my dad’s tiny darkroom under the basement stairs. It continued through Earlham College where I created an independent major and hold the distinction of being their only graduate with a degree in Photographic Journalism.
New technologies have always fascinated me so it’s not surprising that I embraced video the first time I got my hands on a Sony PortaPak (one of the first portable TV cameras).
My professional career began at WISH-TV, as trainee news photographer; I couldn’t believe someone would actually pay me to do what I loved. At WHAS-TV‘s Louisville Tonight I became a writer and story producer. When they canceled the show, I moved back to WISH-TV as Chief Photographer. I won Indiana News Photographer of the Year and three times led the photographers to win the TV News Photography Station of the Year.
I took advantage of the company’s continuing education program and earned a Journalism Masters degree from Indiana University. Applying what I’d learned acquiring the degree, I wrote my own job description and became News Operations Manager.
Throughout my career, I’ve also been actively involved with the National Press Photographers Association – serving on their board and then as their president. I continue to chair their popular Advanced StoryTelling Workshop. Their ultimate compliment was presenting me with the Sprague Award – their highest honor, for my work and commitment to improving the field of photojournalism.
For 15 years, I’ve taught in the Journalism department at IUPUI. In that role, I received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching – the school’s highest honor for an adjunct faculty member.
After 30 years in the news business, I left WISH and started Sweitzer Productions. As a freelancer, I work for lots of clients including 60 Minutes, The Letterman Show, Ronald McDonald House, and AARP but my main client is Pet Pals TV, where I serve as their Chief Photographer. In that role I’ve covered the Westminster Dog Show and The Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.