Everyday Hero: Evan Cantwell

Posted: June 10, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Editor’s note: this Daily Gazette feature profiles key people at Mason who “make it happen.”

Full Name: Evan Michio Cantwell

Current Position: Photography coordinator

Evan Cantwell
Self-portrait with clothesline

Years at Mason: Almost five

What He Does: Captures the faces and places of Mason, thereby convincing others that “what we do here is interesting, or fun, or both” with his images.

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Mason faces

Most Famous Person He’s Ever Photographed on Campus: John Kerry. “Although I try to keep in mind not to confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other. I think the author Erma Bombeck once said that.”

Most Famous Person He’s Ever Photographed off Campus: Bob Dole

Strangest Thing He’s Captured on Film: A demonstration given in a nursing classroom. The instructor was teaching the students using a strange-looking mannequin without legs. “That same nurse was in my house a year earlier teaching me the ‘how to’ when I was recovering from cancer, except I was the mannequin. I’m happy the school has taught such great nurses!”

Best Offer a Subject Has Given During a Shoot: “I can get some fish heads” (from a scientist, referring to some “props” for a shot).

Favorite and Worst Part of the Job: Cantwell loves seeing what all the different departments, organizations, and people are doing on campus, and feeling like a small part of it. “The worst part has to be when springtime rolls around and I have to put on sunscreen because it’s so bright and sunny outside. But someone has to get the shot of those flowers blooming in front of the Johnson Center. Sometimes we just need to sacrifice…. Are you kidding? There is no worst part.”

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Mason images

Cantwell’s Photographic Inspiration Comes from: Sebastio Salgado, Hiroshi Sugimoto, or Richard Misrach, depending on the day of the week

Digital or Film? “I’m hooked on nostalgia, the smell of Dektol, and the click of a Hasselblad, so I have to say film cameras.” However, Mason photographers use digital photography on campus about 90 percent of the time because it’s efficient and cost effective.

On Practicing Buddhism: “It’s taught me awareness. Not just awareness about myself, but also my relationship with everything around me. If I’m too busy thinking about myself, especially on a shoot, I’m going to miss the real moment.”

Cantwell family
The Cantwell family

Off the Clock He Can Be Found: Sitting on a couch with his wife, Charlotte, watching their dachshund/Chihuahua mix puppy, BeBe, do a Tasmanian dance around them.

What People Say about Him:

“Evan always has plethora of suggestions. In fact, he has more suggestions than the Magic 8 Ball. Working with him is like working on an oil refinery in the middle of the ocean—there’s no one else around and you’re scared you might get hurt. He’s just that passionate about his mission here at Mason. Evan cannot be contained by the constraints of the audible language.”

—Eric Goodman and David Smith, digital photographers, Creative Services

“Evan helps keep the ‘creative’ in Creative Services. Sometimes I will request a very mundane photo for him to shoot, and what I will get back is so much more wonderful than I could’ve imagined. On those days, I remember why I chose this field, and I am glad to be here.”

—Colleen Kearney Rich, project manager, Creative Services

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