About the Artist

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Born and raised in Lexington, Phillips developed a passion for photography upon taking his first class in black and white film developing in the fifth grade at Sayre School. “My father had the camera equipment and was kind enough to let his 12-year-old son use it and not worry about what was going to happen to it.” After that, Phillips had pictures published in the yearbook from then on and continued learning and shooting as often as he was able. “My mom and dad both supported me and let me turn the upstairs bathroom in my childhood home into a dark room.” Now, fast-forward twelve years when Phillips launched his career as a wedding photographer. He shared a consultation room in his parent’s floral business, Carol-Lynn Originals. Here, Phillips’s work adorned; the walls and with the steady traffic of weddings, his business continued to thrive over the years. Once he and his wife began raising their family, Phillips decided to pursue fewer weddings and more portraits so that he could use his time on weekends to be dad to his two sons. Phillips gives back to the community by utilizing his unique talents in a variety of ways. For the past four years, Phillips has headed up a team of 45 plus volunteers to photograph close to a thousand people in three hours. Participants receive their portrait back before leaving that evening. The event is called Jesus Prom, and is a prom hosted for mentally and physically challenged adults. He was also involved with The Help Portrait Project, which takes place in December at locations all around the world. At this event, people who are not able to afford to have their portrait taken can do so for free. Here again, a large group of people from hairdressers, makeup artists, photographers and many more give of their time and talents to give to people in their community. “There is so much dignity involved in having a portrait, where people say, I’m of value. They can take that portrait and pass it down to the next generation of their family just as any other family who has their portrait taken. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of something like that?” Favorite subject to photograph? To take someone who doesn’t feel like she is beautiful, that she doesn’t measure up to that person on the front of a magazine cover and make her feel that way… that is quite honestly my favorite thing to photograph. How could you not enjoy what you do when you do that? I’ve many instances over the years that are exactly these moments. Our society has our self-worth so wrapped up in appearance; and when you can take a shot of someone who doesn’t feel “beautiful,” and spin the camera around for her to see, and she gasps and says, ‘that’s not me! I don’t look like that!’ and I can say yes you do, you are beautiful! I also enjoy working with the demographic of women over 30, who stop having their pictures made once they start having children. They keep their focus on the kids, which is wonderful, but they are doing a disservice to their family by not having their likeness captured so they can have those moments documented to pass down to future generations. There is a huge segment of their lives that should be recorded but often isn’t anymore. A big part of it is that there is a false perception out there on what beauty is and isn’t. When we as a society compare ourselves to people on the front of a magazine cover, “beauty” becomes distorted. Another area I enjoy photographing involves underwater portraiture of sports figures, beauty and fashion. Secret weapon? My wife. She is extremely supportive; and if it were not for her, this business would have been gone a long time ago. When she took over the details, she let me do

what I do best, and she handles the organization of our business. Our partnership has been a crucial aspect to our success. Is there anyone you would like to photograph? “On a totally unrealistic side, I would love to work with the band U2. I’ve always been a big fan of their music and to do something for them would be cool. I’ve been around lots of people from the music business, and I’ve photographed events for concerts and been in the back rooms after the show with Martina McBride, Ronnie Milsap, Diamond Rio, and Patty Loveless. You know, people are people. I’ve photographed President Clinton for an event at a client’s home, and he was very nice. Other than having the Secret Service around, he was just a normal guy. People are people, and that’s why I love what I do. I guess I would also love to photograph Ashley Judd, whom I sat next to in fifth grade.” Greatest achievement? I don’t really think of my life in terms of achievements. I’ve won a few awards and a few blue ribbons here and there, but I don’t find my self-worth in that. My greatest achievement, personally, is being married to the same woman for 20 years and raising two boys who are going to be productive in society. I feel good about my children and knowing that my wife and I have worked hard to raise them. My greatest achievement, business-wise, is seeing people as people and knowing that when my clients leave our studio, they have been given something that will increase in value to them as the years go by. That would be the achievement that I would like to be remembered for more than anything; not that I had accolades, but that I made people feel good about themselves when they maybe didn’t before. Life changing moment in photography? I photographed a wedding where the father of the bride passed away suddenly the Saturday after the ceremony, right before the bride got back from her honeymoon. I can remember sitting in the consultation room to watch the slideshow of her wedding images with the bride and her mother on each side of me, all holding hands. We all three cried. We were sitting there as the last image faded. After the slideshow was over, in the darkness of the room, I heard her whisper, “Thank you. Thank you so much for giving me this.”