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Renwick Review

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Renwick Review

The Man Behind the Camera

Bloomquist+taking+pictures+at+the+GP+vs.+Cheney+volleyball+game.
Bloomquist taking pictures at the GP vs. Cheney volleyball game.
President Clinton. (Photo contributed by John Bloomquist.)

John Bloomquist is everywhere at Garden Plain. From subbing in the classroom, to helping in the community. He is also known for taking outstanding pictures, in sports, nature, stop action, amusement parks, and really anything else. Bloomquist got into photography at a young age. His father, who also enjoyed photography, mentored him in his starting years. Bloomquist attended high school at Penn Yan in New York. From there, he furthered his education in audio visuals at Alfred College. He minored in technical theater. Things really fell in line for Bloomquist in 1985, when he started his own audio visual company in Rochester, New York. During that time, he was a contractor for Eastman Kodak Co. This led him to take a job as a national training manager and work with at least five United States Presidents. He worked with President Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, William Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama. While he was working with President Clinton, Bloomquist got to go behind the scenes at a conference, private receiving lines, and reception.

President Obama presenting “The National Citizen Award” to Mary (Milly) Bloomquist Jr. at the White House.
(Photo contributed by John Bloomquist.)

Today, Bloomquist is a lighting designer for theater, and also volunteers for over thirty different communities and high schools doing lighting, sound, and photography. He volunteered for twelve years at his daughter’s high school taking academic and athletic photos. Growing up, he learned the phrase, “Others before self.” That phrase came from his mother who received the National Citizen Award in 2011. Former President Obama awarded Mrs. Bloomquist this honor. Meanwhile, Bloomquist got to capture this moment with his camera.

Instead of being a photographer, Bloomquist considers himself a historian. He was able to take prints of the Pyramids from when his father taught in Egypt in 1946, and restore them. From his father, Bloomquist learned that it is not the equipment, but the person behind the equipment. His father was a Vice President American Baptist Minister at an all girls college in upstate New York. The graduating class of 1963 got to select who was going to speak at an event. The seniors chose Martin Luther King Jr. Bloomquists’ father was affiliated with Dr. King because they both were Baptist Ministers.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Keuka College N.Y 1963. (Photo contributed by John Bloomquist.)

His father made all the arrangements and had Dr. King flown into upstate New York. Bloomquist’s father picked Dr. King up from the airport, and they continued on with a long day filled with meetings and prep for the event. At the end of the day, Dr. King asked Bloomquist’s father if he could relax at his house. During that time, Bloomquist was only 9 years old. Dr. King came to his house, sat in the living room with Bloomquist and his 14 year old sister, talking, asking questions, and sipping on a cup of tea. Then he stayed for dinner. Bloomquist said, ” The crazy thing about it was that there was no secret service, no security, just them.” In June of 1963,  Dr. King gave his trial run of  “I Have A Dream” Speech at the college in upstate New York. Bloomquist has also worked with other celebrities. He did lighting for Billy Joel in 1974, for Joel’s college tour. He also worked with Harry Chapin, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Garner, Brad Pitt, Brad Paisley, Gloria Estefan, Muhammad Ali, secretaries of states, senators, congressmen, major athletes, and Peter Yarrow.

Bloomquist never goes anywhere without his camera. For him his camera is like a high school student

Bloomquist taking pictures at the GP vs. Cheney volleyball game.

with their phone. Bloomquist said, “You do not know what you are going to capture.”  He takes two cameras, one with a wide angle, one with a telephoto to get up close, 4-5 different lens, backup batteries, and a cleaning kit whenever he goes to shoot. This all fits in a backpack that almost never leaves his side. “One of the hardest part of photography is lighting. I take a lighting meter and take about three or more readings before I start to take photos,” says Bloomquist. Another hard part of photography is the risk involved with getting that one show stopping photo, and that does not stop Bloomquist from standing dangerously close to the action. “I stand ten to fifteen feet away from the action,” he said. During a shoot of a football game, Bloomquist was tackled on the sidelines, and left with a hairline fracture. He was back shooting photos in ten days. “To get the shot you have to take the risk,” says Bloomquist. Another thing he stands by is overshooting, and this helps to get the best shot of the image. Realism is important to Bloomquist, and this is why he does not crop or edit his photos. Bloomquist said, “The way I see it, is the way I shoot it. I want it to be the most real it can possibly be.” Nothing makes him feel better than having his camera with him. You can find his pictures on his Facebook and Garden Plain’s Facebook.

 

Egypt 1946 taken by Mr. Bloomquist’s Father The Rev. E.W. Bloomquist Jr. (Photo contributed by John Bloomquist.)
Muhammad Ali. (Photo contributed by John Bloomquist.)
Peter Yarrow of “Peter, Paul, and Mary” posing with Bloomquist. (Photo contributed by John Bloomquist.)

 

 

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About the Contributor
Camryn Hiner, Garden Plain HS - Renwick Review
This is my first year of participating in Renwick Review. I am not involved with anything at school, but I enjoy playing club softball after school. One thing that I appreciate about the district is the community that makes you feel like family. Sydney Puetz is one person that I admire because she was always a positive and hardworking leader. I want to be an interviewer and photographer.
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    Kirsten MoritzSep 16, 2023 at 10:36 am

    AWESOME JOB, CAMRYN! A masterfully written article about a great human!

    Reply