About Patsy McEnroe
“Patsy has been Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture's photographer for the past 3 years. She is always on time, on budget and needs very little direction from us to deliver some remarkable photographs. She is not only an artist, but a true professional and an all around great person to work with.”
— Sophie Bidek
Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture
How does one get the seed of photography planted in their head? What is that moment when you fall in love and realize this is what you want your life to be --- even if you don’t know it at the time? When I was a child growing up in Panama, I remember looking at a book on the different cities and skylines of the world. I looked through every page, mesmerized, and one photo in particular was very intriguing to me. How did they get those white streaks on one side of the shot while the other side had a red road? It was a mystery, and it was that day that planted a seed in my head about the wonders of photography…
Soon enough, the seed started to grow and photography became my hobby. I was shooting lighthouses any time I came across one, my brothers, landscapes and of course, skylines with car streaks. And all that time, I never imagined that one day photography would be my career.
I worked my first assistant job for FREE. Working with a professional photographer -- even if it was just a wedding photographer – had me in heaven. I would follow him with rolls of film ready to load another magazine on what was the most beautiful camera I had ever seen, the Hasselblad. I asked the photographer where he learned everything he knew and he mentioned photo school. It was right then and there that I made photo school my goal, too.
In 1998, I received my degree in Commercial Photography from the Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology and then moved to Chicago where I thought I could land a job right away. Not quite! Starting from the bottom is always a humbling experience but also a great way to learn the business. I had my fair share of installing hardwood floors at numerous studios, cleaning them as well, sending out film to labs and being a gofer until I finally got my big break. I worked with one of the most talented architectural photographers at a prestigious firm where I assisted for five years.
During my time at this firm, I traveled the country, carried countless cases to many shoots, helped set up lighting with the photographer and was pretty much his right hand woman on shoots. From time to time, I also photographed a few small projects. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great architects and interior designers, and people who today I can call my friends.
In 2003, I went out on my own and it has been the best thing I’ve ever done. It gives me great pleasure to find work for myself and introducing myself as a new photographer in Chicago. I am so thankful to my clients who gave me a shot and in turn have received professional, beautiful work from me.
Growing up I was shy and very reserved --- I would usually let my sister or mother do all the talking -- but I realized that if you want to make it in this business and in life, you have to let everyone know you are out there and ready. So I make calls, do the best I can do with what I’m given and make the greatest shots I can make. I love my job!