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NYI Student Profile: Curtis Neeley

NYI Student Curtis Neeley expected to only turn his photography into a profession. His love and respect of photography began at a young age sitting at his father's companies Christmas party. {Eastman Kodak} It was amazing how an auditorium of people was totally captivated by imagery.It was amazing to see such well executed images from all around the world. It was then that he recognized the power of visual communications and wanted to harness that power. Curtis read everything about photography he could get his hands on. He soon realized photography is expensive, and everyone wants to do it.He went to college to become an engineer then joined the USMC.

While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, he returned to his first love - got his first 'good' camera, and probably financed a Fuji film plant learning the ropes. He also enrolled the NYI course. He learned a lot that year - and by the end was shooting cover assignments for "Okinawa Today", contributing to "Stars and Stripes", as well as working as a staff photographer on the USO "Exploring Okinawa" tour guide.

He spent a lot of time behind the camera that year, made a lot of mistakes, and a lot of progress. Curtis neeley started working on being an artist. He used NYI to teach him how to use his camera as a tool to express his art.

Returning to the U.S. - it took several years working odd jobs before he got the chance to again work as a commercial photographer at a studio.

Along the way he shot sports and news for the local newspaper and honed his knowledge of equipment and processing at local lab. He then began doing his own commercial advertising photography. He had even did a few weddings.He worked as a photographer for several years thanks to all he learned at NYI.
One day heading home, he was involved in a head-on collision. Curtis Neeley was nearly killed. In the months of therapy that followed he looked at some great photo books and in a photo magazine one ad looked quite familiar.It was NYI's photo school ad.

Curtis Neeley had a massive brain injury and forgot much of his life,but his love of photography survived somewhere.On the shelves in his house was the NYI course. He had enrolled but not turned in all his assignments.Some of what he learned and used for years he remembered. Much of it was gone along with much of his memories.


Digital was now a powerful tool for a photo artist. He now decided to finish with the NYI course. He had started it more than a dozen years ago and now looks toward their NEW digital course. He plans to learn to use digital and move along with his life although now because of his accident he is brain damaged and a parapalegic. Stay tuned at curtisneeley.com as his story continues.

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