My name is Jim Cottrell, I have lived in or around Portage most of my life and it is definitely the place I call home. I grew up in a mid-sized family that was very active in sports and youth activities. My father got his first Canon camera when I was about 14 and I have been interested in photography ever since.
I earned the photography merit badge with a family friend who owned a part time professional photography studio. This led to a part time job with him that provided some amazing opportunities for me. I got the chance to shoot WMU Football, Little League Softball World Series in Milwood, The Coral Gables Off Shore Powerboat races and a lot of baseball and soccer team pictures. Unfortunately the full time jobs of the two owners prevented them from continuing on with an active photography studio and I had to find a regular job in the local mall.
In High School I spent some time taking pictures for the yearbook which allowed me the chance to shoot football and basketball and lots of photo journalism type of pictures. After High School my direction was more technical and engineering oriented so I put my camera down for several years until I was more settled and ready to focus on photography again.
Having children of my own rekindled the photography spirit in me and I purchased my first digital camera in 2002. As my girls started getting involved in various sports and activities I followed along with my camera taking pictures of the action. Soon other parents were asking me to take pictures of their kids for them. This led to more and more opportunities and growth in my photography.
Today I shoot sporting events on a regular basis and I love how ‘all out’ even the smallest athletes compete. I enjoy the challenge of putting my photography skills, knowledge of the sport and the athlete’s abilities together to catch that perfect shot. A softball player asked me one day if I was going to take any more awesome pictures of her and I replied only if you keep making awesome plays. These kids are truly awesome ones, I am just there to photograph them.