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Interview with MTSU Photographer Andy Heidt

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I spoke with Middle Tennessee State University photographer, Andy Heidt to get the dish on how he started his photography career.

Tell me about yourself.

I'm a 36-year-old Digital Specialist/Photographer for Middle Tennessee State University. I graduated in 2001with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Emphasis in Photojournalism from Ball State University In Muncie, Indiana. Prior to graduation, I interned at my hometown newspaper, The Republic, in Columbus, Indiana, and was hired on as a full-time staff photographer, and worked there until February 2007, when I moved to Murfreesboro and took my current job. My wife, Alecia, and I live in Murfreesboro with our daughter, Clara, 19 months, our three dogs Mona, Lola, and Ali, and our cat, Bruno.

How did you get into photography?

I got into photography when I was 10. My parents gave me an old Kodak 110 camera and I began taking pictures with it. That Christmas they gave me a gray and yellow LeClic 35mm camera that replaced the 110. When I was in high school I started getting more and more interested in photography, and my dad let me use his Nikon F2, which was the first SLR I ever shot with.Shortly after that, I took a 4-week long night class where we learned to process film and make prints in a darkroom. Not too long after that, I got a much newer Nikon N6000, and then when I was junior in high school I photographed a wrestling meet and pretty much knew from then on I wanted to be a photographer.

Why did you want to become a photographer?

I really didn't know what I wanted to do for a living when I was in high school. I love history, but I didn't really see that as a career path. My mom was an elementary school teacher, which I don't think I could do, and my dad was an engineer, and I'm terrible at math. My sister is an English professor at a liberal arts college, and that didn't really interest me either. Photography for me is something that challenges me every day to be better and better, and it's that challenge of doing something different every day that really drew me into photography as my profession.

What is it about photography that you love?

I love being able to show someone something they may not have ever seen. I know that's not always practical, but the challenge of finding that, capturing that, and relaying that same feeling to someone is pretty special to me.

What does it mean to you?

Photography has given me a pretty great life. I've been able to do things that are pretty unique, meet lots of great people, and it's something that I can't imagine not doing - so really, it means everything to me.

How did you become so passionate about it and why?

I think if you really get interested in something, and you really fall into it and are able to make that your profession, the passion for it follows pretty quickly. I was lucky that my parents were so supportive (and still are) and that all the way from high school through college and now in my professional life that I have been fortunate to work with people far more talented than me that have inspired me to be the best photographer I can be.

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