When I was an adolescent youth growing up in western
Illinois I became fascinated with black and white photography.
I began my first exploration with the camera and imaging
when I was twelve years old.
By high school my interest in photography disappeared
only to reemerge when I was twenty-one and stationed
in Mannheim, Germany while in the army.
There I discovered the photo lab in the enlisted men’s
club, which was overseen by Hans Jurgen-Heider, a German
professional photographer; Hans and I became good friends
and he tutored me in basic photo lab procedures. I grew
quickly under his guidance and published several photos
in Army newspapers in 1971 and 1972. This exhilarating
experience motivated me to become a professional photographer
In August of 1973, I entered the curriculum at Southern
Illinois University’s Cinema and Photography department
and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Professional
Photography in 1976. With my education solidified, I
began a twenty-five year career in advertising photography.
The first six years I spent mastering photo lab technology
in both b/w and color procedures. I began my career
as a photographer in 1983 and worked behind the camera
until 1994 when my career changed due to economic forces.
I found myself out of work as a photographer
for two years before I acquired a position with the
University of Iowa, Hospitals and Clinics as an ophthalmic
photographer in the Department of Ophthalmology and
Visual Sciences where I still work today performing
diagnostic imaging of patients with serious eye disease.
In addition to the advertising and eye photography
careers, I began doing documentary photography of historically
significant barns in Iowa. After several years of hard
work, I signed a contract with the University of Iowa
Press and published my first book: Harker’s Barns:
Visions of an American Icon in February of 2003. The
success of this book has led to contracts for two more
books – one on Iowa’s one-room schools and
another on Iowa’s county courthouses built before
Harkerphotography is my website showcasing my emergence
in American photography as a documentary photographer.
The photos here are samples of this important work.
I hope you enjoy my vision and love for the architectural
beauty of Iowa’s historical buildings.