Iconic photographer John Iverson of NoCo Photo and Articulate sits down for an up-close and personal interview with The Carewright before his grand opening.
Iconic photographer John Iverson of NoC0 Photo and Articulate recently had the misfortune of being interviewed by the (self-admittedly) least photogenic women in all of Northern Colorado – Catherine Oakley and Mary Watterson. We had recently met at a Chamber event and were excited to learn about his two new business ventures in Fort Collins. It took us about two minutes to see that John is a man of big vision with an equally big heart.
John traced his interest in photography back to the tender age of eight and a 3rd-grade photography class. His innate Entrepreneurial Gumption materialized when he graduated High School and began exploring photography as a career. Says John, “I reached out to several photographers in the yellow pages and got lucky enough to meet a gentleman who was very successful – a fashion and commercial photographer in Denver. As soon as I started assisting him I fell in love with it and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
John has been a photographer – if not entrepreneur – for most of his life. A 2001 graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, he moved to Los Angeles after graduation to start a production company. That business soon expanded to New York and then later to Milan. Although that business continues to thrive (John Iverson Photography) it’s primary focus is outside of Colorado for the bridal commercial advertising industry.
Asked about his goals for NoCo Photo, we found that family, a passion for under-privileged kids and a love of Fort Collins were his key inspirations. Says John, “I was kind of looking for something to get more communally involved and came up with the idea of starting NoCo Photo, which is just specifically aimed at high school portraits. And the idea, if we can generate enough interest, is to contribute scholarship money to graduating seniors and encourage them to pursue a college education.”
In fact, John has recruited several Junior Reps (kids just completing their Junior year) to “represent” his company. John reaches out to schools and encourages them to find kids who might be experiencing financial hardship, to participate in the program. John shoots their senior portraits for free and in return they tell their friends – and hopefully they get some scholarship money to boot. A pretty ingenious way to care for kids, who may otherwise be unable to afford senior portraits, let alone college, absent a scholarship boost.
While not a sure deal yet, John is cautiously optimistic about his goal of starting a scholarship program, citing it’s his first year in business, he nevertheless is “…eagerly hoping that [scholarships] happen.” In fact, he’s banking on it. Not only is John sponsoring several schools, he’s branding all over Northern Colorado. He’s advertising at the new Fort Collins mall, in Loveland – and is even sponsoring a digital scoreboard for Monarch High School in South Boulder. Says John, “…the goal is to find an avenue to contribute locally, since most of my work tends to be out of State. Since I moved here to start my family, it’s pretty important to me. It’s my primary goal.”
Articulate – A Creative Collaborative
While NoCo Photo’s goals are exciting and admirable, it’s only a small part of his vision. NoCo Photo will be based out of Articulate, John’s other venture. Articulate is a creative collaborative with Patrick Edmiston of PHOCO (pho-co.com), which is nearing the final stages of development in Old Town on Jefferson Street. The 10,000 sq. ft. facility will feature seminars in photography, videography, cinematography, modeling, hair styling and makeup. In addition to all the Know-How-Glam, hard-core creatives and visual storytellers will have their own Bling of Dreams. Want to use Sony Phase 1 gear – that’s 50K worth of “wow” guys?! You can! Articulate will feature the upper echelon of gear, creating a one-of-a-kind creative workspace for photographers, videographers and cinematographers alike. Says John, “Articulate is fashioned after the Galvanize business model (galvanize.com). We have studio space as well as office space [we’ll be] renting out. We’ve got about 9 offices… it’s a huge space.”
So can Fort Collins become the new destination for visual artists? John thinks so: “Our goal, with this whole vision is to kind of put Fort Collins on the map for major production… people who come to Colorado for major productions like that, want to typically film in the mountains. So we’re trying to put Fort Collins on the map as a production spot for large productions. Hopefully that will help with the development of Fort Collins and encourage growth. Being able to do that is fun and we are very excited.”
Articulate’s Grand Opening will be 7/1/16 and, not surprisingly, promises to be a big event. “It’s going to be quite an event, said John. I’m going to be doing a fashion shoot followed up by a fashion show with clothes from Gino Velardi (ginovelardi.com), who’s a prominent designer out of Denver, we’re going to have live music, events and food.”
We’re pleased to say, that despite any outward sign of design sensibility on our part, John nevertheless invited us to his event. It should be noted that after inviting us, he quickly assured us there would be beer. Some people “say cheese” John says “beer.” Clearly he knows his audience…cheers! And we have to put an exclamation mark on that last point. John’s photography is stunning. While the Average Joe wouldn’t anticipate high school portraits to be all that compelling, John’s compositions feature a creative juxtaposition of light, space and texture to add visual interest to his shots. The result is incredibly interesting photographs.
When we left John he was setting out to chase down grip trucks and reaching out to everyone from CBS, NBC, Fox, Netflix and Sony. You can catch up with John and tour Articulate with us on July, 1st. For our part, we’re going to see if we can twist his creative arm and get him to do our portraits.