Your Name: Todd Pinckney
Your Neighborhood: Ukranian Village
Company/Organization: Todd James Photography
Role/Title: Owner / Photographer
Tell us what excites you most about your work: It's difficult to boil it down to one thing since there are a few different dimensions to what I do. I absolutely love working with couples in capturing their wedding day. Beyond all of the beautiful images that we create, I'm passionate about helping couples SAVOR the heck out of their wedding day. So many times you hear couple reflect on their wedding day only to say, "It was such a blur, I don't remember much of it." To me, that's a shame. In working closely with them, I'm passionate about helping them take in the fullness of the day, to feel the weight of the emotion wrapped up in it, and to consecrate it with their full attention.
Beyond the work that I do with couples, I love that I can have an impact on the world with the art that I create and the stories that I tell. Over the last couple of years, through photo and video, I've had the opportunity to tell stories of people fighting sex trafficking in the US, tackling the water crisis globally, providing orphan care in South Africa, building free wheelchair ramps for families in Salt Lake City, and fighting extreme poverty in Atlanta. I want my life to matter for good and I believe my art is one avenue I was created to do that.
Tell us about someone who has influenced your work: There are so many, but a few years ago I read a book by Donald Miller called, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" that had an incredibly strong impact on me. The premise of the book is this: what makes a good story, is also what makes a good life. He defines a story as a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. The greater the desire and the greater the conflict, the better the story - and parallel, the better the life. Because I'm a storyteller myself, this analogy really hit home for me and gave language to how I want to approach my life and my work.
Tell us about one of your favorite projects to have participated in: About a year and half ago, I had the opportunity to travel across the country in an RV capturing the stories of individuals who are pouring out their lives to bring redemption and hope to their communities on the Better Together Tour (www.bettertogethertour.com).
Four months prior to the trip, a couple approached a few of us about a project. They had a foundation that supported various organizations across the country and articulated that many amazing things were happening in those organizations but the stories of those amazing things weren't being told. They asked how we'd feel about being the ones to tell those stories. For each of us, the answer was a no brainer. We took their proposed idea and dreamed up a trip that was much larger than they or we initially anticipated. Over the course of 7 weeks and 8,000 miles, we captured and shared inspiring stories of the good that was happening in cities across the US through photo, video, and blogging. In a culture that gravitates towards the negative, we wanted to shine a light on the positive, and in doing so, bring awareness and inspire others towards the same sacrificial good.
Tell us your favorite winter activity: Adventuring to a warmer place on the west coast... no, but seriously. But when I'm Chicago, you'll find me basking in the warmth of a local coffee shop, enjoying live music, or dreaming up ludicrous projects or business ideas with my friends. Most recently, a friend and I just launched a food blog dedicated to discovering the best burger in Chicago: www.burger-bros.com :)
Todd calls Workshop home as a founding member. We're thrilled to see firsthand what he has in store for 2014!