Eau Claire photographer seeks to show a sense of community


By Kristin McLeod

Screen shot 2015-12-06 at 4.35.30 PM

Andrea Paulseth, a photojournalist for Volume One, focuses to find her perfect image at the Chippewa Valley High Tech Alliance press conference earlier this month. © 2015 Kristin McLeod

A lot can change in one minute. In one minute, Andrea Paulseth can adjust the aperture of her camera to obtain the perfect lighting, switch out a lens and choose just the right angle to capture her vision.

Photography is more than just pushing a button Paulseth said. “A lot of people don’t always understand everything that goes into taking a picture.”

Paulseth, a life-long Eau Claire resident, grew up knowing she would become a photographer. Behind those oversized, brown square glasses are a set of eyes that can capture moments and memories forever with the help of her camera.

The once ordinary habit of taking pictures of friends and family, turned into a hobby that became her career.

After taking two photography classes in high school, Paulseth attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduated from the art department with a degree in photography. Even though she and her family struggled with the idea of her becoming an artist because of the perceived difficulty of landing a job and potentially lower income, she pursued her passion.

She worked part-time at both The Leader Telegram and Volume One in Eau Claire. Currently, she is a part-time photojournalist for Volume One, Eau Claire’s local arts and entertainment magazine.

“Volume One magazines always emits a sense of engagement,” said Eau Claire resident, Katie Anderson. “From the pictures of the Local Store and products included to just the events happening in the community, it’s always entertaining to browse through the magazine.”

When she is not in the office editing her photos or answering emails, she finds herself at events in the Eau Claire, Chippewa and Menomonie community, meeting new people and shooting environmental portraits.

Paulseth’s current job at Volume One is not just a job, but also something she enjoys doing.

“It just made sense doing something you loved for the rest of your life, making a living out of it,” Paulseth said.

The challenges that accompany some jobs do not leave Paulseth discouraged for the future. When there is not a lot to shoot the best thing to do is be creative instead of having no photograph, she said.

No matter how tough an assignment may be, the final product makes it all worth it.

“Seeing the final print. Seeing it online. Telling a story with photo,” Paulseth said. “That’s when it’s fun to see the final use of it.”

Not only does Paulseth find it difficult when there is not a lot to shoot for her assignments, but also when people misunderstand her role as a photographer.

“People underestimate how much they are worth, the value of the photo,” she said. “The value is lost especially in a world where everybody is photographer with their phones and they can do it themselves.”

In dealing with this issue, Paulseth said she tries to educate people by explaining the value of a professional and why they should hire a professional. When people try to do her job they lose the value of a photograph, she said.

However, these challenges do not discourage her as a photographer. She always tries to find new ways to improve her skills by taking classes, workshops, watching online tutorials and practicing on her own family to further develop as her expertise.

Paulseth considers herself an artist. Her ability to paint or draw a picture may not be there, but she has an eye for things that could be turned into art through a still-life image.

“Your ability to see how well things look artistically improves,” Paulseth said. “I’m trying to capture something happening whereas drawing and painting is taking something from scratch. The pieces are there, but you’re putting them there in the best arrangement.”


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