As a child growing up in Edina, Andrew Vick was always the kid with the camera. “My earliest subject matters were stringers of fish and beautiful golf courses,” he says.
Although he loved taking pictures, Andrew initially thought of photography as a hobby - something to do on the side. “I graduated high school in ’96 and originally got accepted at Madison for landscape design and golf course architecture,” he says. “A couple of weeks before classes started, I pulled out and took a chance on getting into a small school in San Diego where I could study general business and photography.”
While there, he spent time taking photos of surfers catching waves off the cliffs of his campus and of friends getting into modeling. But, it was at a friend’s wedding that he realized he could possibly make a living out of this side gig he loved so much.
“They were in my photo class and asked if I could bring my camera with me to the wedding and then take a few photos,” says Andrew. “When they loved the photos I took more than the ones the paid photographer took, they challenged me to do something with that.”
After graduation, he came back to his hometown. “My whole family's invested in this community. My mom, Penny, taught in Edina and my dad, David, helped run the schools. I even taught for a year. Before doing photography full-time, I also worked for the Edina Chamber of Commerce as membership director.”
Eventually, he signed up to submit work for the Edina Art Fair. “It was on a bit of a whim, and I had to gather material to showcase. I was going to be traveling the world with Young Life [an evangelical Christian organization], helping start a camp for youth in Sweden and then traveling and backpacking around Norway and Sweden. And I thought, if I get enough good stuff, I should have enough for the art fair.” He certainly did, and ended up selling 53 prints! He was on his way to his lifelong career.
Being a photographer, he says, is more than just knowing the equipment and how to frame a shot. It also involves some psychology. “Everyone tells me they hate being photographed, so how do you disarm and connect with them? I'll start a conversation at a table with the camera just clicking away on my lap so they can get comfortable with the sound. Eventually, I'll ask questions and bring the camera up and take a couple of frames and put it back down on my lap. My goal is for the camera to eventually disappear and let it just be a conversation between us. That's usually where people's best comes out.”
He adds. “It always brings me to tears when people feel seen and beautiful. I don't think there's a better calling in the world.”
In addition to photography, his other passion is helping others. “One of the places I've been really drawn to is the country of Guatemala,” he says. “On one hand, they have nothing, but on the other, they have everything. Life is simple, and resources are shared.”
He and wife, Janelle, originally started working with World Visions International, a humanitarian aid organization, and now, by donating a portion of revenue for each wedding, have created a program of giving back. They work with children, families, and communities to feed and educate children.
“We get to be part of the selection process and focus specifically on young women,” he says. “If a family can only educate one kid, they'll usually choose the male, but the weavings and tapestries of Guatemala are created from the creative genius of the women and they need people to believe in them and champion them.”
Adds Andrew, “After a wedding, we’ll send a couple a note that says, ‘Hey, your love story is already making a difference in the world,’ and give them information in case they want to become more involved.”
Locally, he helps teach kids who are taking photography classes. “We've also had photography classes do field trips to our studio and we’ve offered internships. I knew that teaching was always in my blood and now I get to do it with the lens and the camera.”
Fifteen years after that Edina Art Fair, one of his first clients called him and said, “I bought one of your first pictures at the fair and the irony is the photo I bought was of a castle in Ireland, and now I'm marrying a man who was raised within 15 miles of that castle.” She told him he needed to come shoot her wedding. “So, I got to be part of both events, full circle,” says Andrew.
To have Andrew capture your precious moments, go to www.vickphotography.com
5932 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park. (952) 929-4295.