Questions with a Pro

©Jeremy Ruzich

I’m so honored and proud to be featured this week on the Strictly Business blog of my professional society, the American Society of Media Photographers. I love the work I do and could talk about it for hours, so this brief interview ended up being maybe not as brief as they intended…

Below is an excerpt. But you can jump over and skim the whole thing here! Thanks, ASMP!

We asked: How do you successfully photograph with the viewer in mind? Do you think this effort changes the way you approach your work?

Jeremy said: I’d say I “put myself in their shoes,” but let’s be honest: we all have different sizes and styles, and I can’t know what it’s really like to walk through everyone’s diverse and exotic life experiences. So what I try to do is take everybody’s shoes off.

I’m looking to connect with the viewer on a deep, universal human level; the level of emotion and vulnerability, of bare feet on raw earth. The level we often forget about until reminded by something like a story of a mother’s love for her daughter, or a story about longing for some sense of home, or about fractured relationships beginning to heal…

And the only way to successfully do this: listening and watching intently; being fully present to the people and places and communities; and letting them tell their stories for themselves, as much as possible.

Lydia, the Organic Farmer

Lydia is a small-scale, diversified vegetable, certified-organic farmer currently operating Second Wind CSA​ and tending the earth of New York’s Hudson Valley. This is a sampling of her story. To view it all:


Originally from a small town in southwest Missouri, Lydia moved to New York City to be near a family member for a while. Eventually she made her way to the Hudson Valley to gain more training in production farming. The fresh air and striking scenery were found benefits of life outside the city.


Second Wind CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is an independent incubator program hosted by Four Winds Farm, a certified organic farm located in Gardiner, NY and founded in 1988. Although Lydia has worked in organic farming for 4 years, this is her first year owning and operating a CSA farm.


For the first half of the growing season, Lydia co-owned the CSA – as well as shared a house – with another young woman. After protracted conflict in styles and personalities, they dissolved the partnership and Lydia took full ownership of Second Wind in the midst of peak harvest…

View her full story:

Jerusalem Farm – 3 Years

How time flies and a community grows… Three years ago this May, Jerusalem Farm was dedicated in the Historic Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. The Farm commissioned me to help celebrate this milestone and communicate their story to a broader audience. This is the first of two videos; the second will paint a more complete picture of Jerusalem Farm and will be published later this year.

“Jerusalem Farm is a Catholic Intentional community located in Kansas City, Missouri, built on the four cornerstones of Prayer, Community, Service and Simplicity. We strive to transform our lives and those around us through service retreat experiences, sustainable living and home repair.”

Académie Lafayette – Give to Grow

Académie Lafayette has reached its goal of raising $3.5 million for additions and improvements to the school. Now the students, faculty and staff have a message for all of the donors.

This wonderful little charter school in Kansas City came to me looking to produce a fun video, full of gratitude but also showcasing everything that donors to their capital campaign have made possible. The excellent Stephen Steigman at KCUR narrated while the students and faculty of Académie Lafayette supplied their enthusiastic thanks.

National Philanthropy Day Kansas City

My most recent storytelling commission was with the Mid-America Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for their 2014 National Philanthropy Day celebration and award ceremony. The chapter was in need of short videos to introduce each of the eight honorees and highlight their philanthropy story – in other words, why they are so deserving of the awards. For five of the videos I captured all new content, while the other three were comprised of footage or photographs provided by the honorees, which I then edited into original pieces. The excellent voice-overs were performed and recorded by professionals at local public radio station KCUR.

Though we had a crunched time frame (a little over a month from concept to finished presentation), I was fortunate to be working with very capable professionals who were also receptive and trusting of my creative process.

You can view all 8 videos on Vimeo:

“I am quite simply blown away! These are outstanding. I’ve watched them three times now…and will watch again!” -David Fulk, AFP Mid-America

Kansas City’s Pedicab Company

I recently collaborated on some promo videos for the only pedicab company in Kansas City. In its first three years, Tricycle Transit has added a lot to the city’s already rich and expanding culture, entertainment, and sustainable transportation.  I also just happen to drive a cab myself as a fun part-time endeavor.

Producers: Jeremy Ruzich & Braden Anderson
Director of Photography: Jeremy Ruzich
Editor: Andy Thies
Music: Dojo for Crooks – “All Because”