With today’s average smart phone capable of taking high quality pictures, a common saying claims that anyone with a smart phone is a photographer.
Ron Caimi, a lawyer who loves capturing rural Monroe County with his camera, doesn’t quite agree.
“A real photographer spends a lot of time thinking before taking the picture,” he said.
After growing up in south St. Louis, Caimi started his college days at the University of Missouri. By the end of his first year at Mizzou, he knew the school was too large for him, so he transferred to Webster University to study American literature and religions.
“I graduated with a degree that was largely unmarketable,” Caimi said with a laugh.
He eventually decided to use his degree to teach, but found he wasn’t earning much money. It was at this time Caimi bought a camera at a pawn shop. However, he put the camera aside and decided to attend law school at Saint Louis University. His goal was to obtain a career he could find more financial stability in.
Caimi practiced injury law for the next 30 years, but has now put his law career in the background to spend more time on photography.
Now 60 years old, Ron and his wife, Laura, moved outside of Waterloo about 20 years ago. The couple wanted to own a farm where they could keep their horses.
Caimi chuckled and said, “Little did we realize how much work that was going to be.”
Life on the farm fueled the lawyer’s passion for capturing rural landscapes. When taking pictures in rural areas, Caimi looks for evidence of human presence without actually having people in his pictures. Once an image is captured on his camera, Caimi isn’t shy about using editing software to modify the picture into exactly what he imagined it to look like.
“I don’t really have a passion for photography. (It) is a tool I use to feed the passion of creating images of rural life,” Caimi said.
To help pay for his hobby, Caimi also takes portraits.
“I love trying to capture the human face in unusual ways, especially children,” he said. “They have such expressive faces.”
One of his portrait projects has been photographing the same two children every year since they were infants. Each year, he takes them to a different location. Caimi has taken portraits in many places, including the Salt Lick Trail in Valmeyer, his own home and at Shaw Park in Clayton, Mo.
Caimi’s pictures are posted daily on his photography page on Facebook.
“Facebook is a fantastic medium for promoting yourself,” Caimi said.
He has been able to receive business through the social networking site in the past.
Caimi also uploads photos to his own website, caimiphotography.com.
Caimi wasn’t so sure that he would follow a different career path if he could do it all over again.
“I would if the world was different,” he said. “Unfortunately, commerce and art just don’t often mix.”