Keith Borgmeyer creates photographic art by learning the fundamentals and history of his craft.
By Lauren Sable Freiman
Keith Borgmeyer has natural artistic talent. In fact, his mother tells him he could draw a picture before he could write his name. So when a six-year career in auto sales and finance began to feel unfulfilling, he changed course by heading to college to pursue his creative passions.
“A friend of mine was an amateur photographer — it was my first interaction with a professional camera,” Borgmeyer says. “It sparked my interest, and from then on, I embarked on my journey learning everything about it.”
While pursuing his degree in graphic design with an emphasis in photography, he had the opportunity to learn the art of photography from the ground up.
“I wanted to understand how photography originated,” Borgmeyer says. “I went to school to work in a darkroom and learn the foundation of the camera. I shot and developed film while digital photography was already available so I could use all the fundamental knowledge of the darkroom to define my craft.”
Today, Borgmeyer uses that talent and knowledge as the art director for the Business Times Company, where he oversees two graphic designers while carrying responsibility for the overall look and feel of the company’s publications. The role is a promotion for Borgmeyer, who previously worked as an editorial designer and photographer for the company.
“I used to design two of the Business Times Company magazines,” Borgmeyer says. “I photographed the covers and major features for the magazine. Now, I will focus on the artistic branding of the company.”
He says he does a lot of architectural work and often shoots new construction that is going up around mid-Missouri. Borgmeyer’s love of cooking has also led him to focus on styling and photographing food and creating images that bring the food to life.
“Food is a challenging subject to shoot correctly, however, I’ve learned how to style food, how to light, and how to stage it throughout the years of photographing it,” Borgmeyer says. “I appreciate chefs, and I appreciate their craft. I enjoy collaborating my approach of food photography with their culinary art.
He says shoots like senior portraits, family portraits, and weddings are not his niche, but when he shoots people for his commercial work, he has a special way of making his subjects come alive in front of the camera.
“My entire family is full of therapists, so when working with people, I take a more psychological route and work it more as getting to know the person versus just using the camera,” Borgmeyer says. “I focus on making people feel natural. Creating a rapport with a person allows me to create a strong, purposeful portrait.”
In a time when anyone can purchase a digital camera with many bells and whistles, Borgmeyer says a deep knowledge of understanding light is what separates people with a camera from professional photographers. As an artist, he is driven by the opportunity to create something that didn’t previously exist.
“We are required to go into any situation and create a product that is never going to fail,” Borgmeyer says. “You have to think on your toes a lot, and that’s what I like so much — improvising and creating under pressure and coming away with something great every time, regardless of what situation I’m given.”
While he constantly looks at the works of the world’s artistic greats for inspiration, he also keeps an artistic dream in the back of his mind – one day having the opportunity to photograph a primitive, secluded Hawaiian island off Kauai that has been closed off to all but the island’s inhabitants.
“I’d love to photograph the people of this island,” says Borgmeyer, whose mother is from Kauai. “It’s the last island where the only people are natives, and it has never been documented. It’s a lifetime artistic goal of mine that I’d like to achieve.”
As he continues to improve his craft and work toward achieving his artistic goals, Borgmeyer and his wife of eight years, Ashley, will fulfill a personal dream this September when they welcome their first child.