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2011 12 People You Need to Know: Randy Bacon

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Randy Bacon’s foray into photography started at age 15, when his mother gave him a Pentax 35mm camera.

Since then, his interest in the art of pictures has developed into a full-time career.

While Bacon’s been shooting since at least the mid-1980s, it wasn’t until 10 years ago that he left a high-ranking position at MWM Dexter to work as a photographer full time.

Initially, he was apprehensive about taking the leap, but the encouragement of his wife, Shannon, and his passion for art won out.

“You’ve got all this stability, so that first step is very, very difficult, but what I found was once I actually made the first step, it’s been awesome,” he says.

Bacon’s photography has captured thousands of commissioned personal portraits, as well as the humanitarian aid work of Springfield-based Convoy of Hope and families served by local grief support group Lost & Found. His commercial and editorial clients include Seventeen and Time magazines, Nestlé Corp. and Pepperidge Farms, according to www.randybacon.com.

Bacon says he uses his prior years of business experience to meet the daily challenges of running his company.

“I consider myself a good businessman, especially considering I’m an artist,” Bacon says. “By understanding how to do business plans, read a profit and loss statement and balance sheet, and understanding expense structures and all these different things, it actually helped me create a successful business which allows me to be more true to my art and not have to sell out.”

In 2006, he moved his downtown Springfield studio to the Monarch Art Factory, 600 W. College St., from 320 Park Central West. The Bacons are part owners of the Monarch building, where space also is leased to other arts-related businesses.

“We try to do a lot of different things to expose people to music, theater and dance,” says Bacon, whose art gallery also houses Gallery Sounds, an ongoing concert series which has hosted independent bands such as Yo La Tengo and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

“We’ve always got something going on down there. I always love when I go past our building and there’s life in it,” he says.

Bacon also is adding filmmaking to his repertoire. In October, his documentary, “The Last Days of Extraordinary Lives” debuted at Gillioz Theatre. The film, which chronicles the lives of terminally ill patients and their families, is being distributed to film festivals and will be shown on PBS.

No matter his medium, Bacon says he’s driven by an unyielding appreciation for the human connection.

“I’ve very simply been inspired by the fact that every person is a one-of-a-kind work of art,” he says. “I think there’s a power in the arts, period. … It’s a way of communicating that all people can understand, yet define in their own terms.”

For more information on the 12 People You Need to Know series, click here.
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