Columbus firefighter Nathan Dunmoyer finds release with photos
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 23:02
Fighting fires helps Nathan Dunmoyer see the world through others’ eyes, but its through his lens that he allows others to see the world differently.
When Dunmoyer moved to Columbus he began to become discontent and unhappy in his personal life.
“I started taking some photos,” he said, and “doing a lot of thinking.”
Photography became a “self-healing process,” Dunmoyer said. “I started spending a large amount of time on one picture … trying to convey my emotion.”
Over the past two to three years, Dunmoyer’s venture into photography has coincided with his personal journey into becoming more comfortable with himself, he said.
Dunmoyer grew up in a small town in Indiana, the kind of place where “everybody knew everybody,” he said. “I’m kinda a small town farm kid I guess.”
After graduating from high school, he bounced around to several colleges before leaving to take a job at the Columbus Division of Fire.
Dunmoyer said he was inspired to become a firefighter after his own house caught fire.
“It made me realize what people experience,” he said.
A turning point for Dunmoyer came when his friend Ryan Williams passed away in 2011 after being in a motorcycle accident.
Williams was a 23-year-old student from New Albany, Ohio, pursuing engineering at Ohio State.
“He had a huge lasting impact on you,” Dunmoyer said. “He was just one of those special people.”
Williams was a photographer and encouraged Dunmoyer in his own work.
Coping with Williams’ death proved a catalyst for Dunmoyer to realize that photography was “something (he had) to do,” he said. It went from being “a hobby to a passion.”
Photography has become Dunmoyer’s passion, but he isn’t seeking fame and fortune. He is more concerned in taking images that inspire a thought or evoke an emotion.
Dunmoyer said he is pleased with people merely looking at his photographs.
“They wouldn’t even have to buy (them),” he said.
He uses his photography to draw attention to the often-missed beauty that is present in day-to-day life, he said.
“I like passing a building and taking it from a different perspective,” he said. If you’re willing to take a moment to appreciate a seemingly mundane place it can become “interesting in its own way, beautiful in its own way.”
Though he describes some of his images as “dark and eerie,” Dunmoyer said he does this because “a lot of people think that we live in this perfect world.”
He attempts, through his photographs, to remind viewers that appearances are not always what they seem.
“Much of his work is informed by color contrasts, intense, harsh lighting and objective manipulation of nature,” said Chase Ledin, a third-year in English and sexuality studies, and a friend of Dunmoyer.
Beginning by posting photos on Facebook, Dunmoyer started doing more and more with his photography.
A little over a year ago, Jennifer Speck, a friend of Dunmoyer, created a professional website for him.
Speck met Dunmoyer because she lives in an apartment across the hall from him.
“I really knew he had great potential,” she said. “He needed that extra little push, that extra little bit of confidence.”
Speck said she created the website because she thought it would help Dunmoyer take himself seriously as a photographer.
“(After seeing the site,) it hit me that I might be able to do something more with this,” he said. “I realized I might be able to get my photography out there.”
Dunmoyer is working to get his photography displayed in galleries around Columbus.
He said some of his work is slated to be displayed from Feb. 18 through mid-April in Max the Salon, located at 640 N. High St. in the Short North.