Check out my website at VardenPhoto.com
I was born in Georgia in a rural town outside of Atlanta called Jonesboro. My older brother taught me how to draw when I was very young and I spent years drawing and painting, training my eye for composition. After attending Georgia State University for two years where I majored in art (amongst a few others) and working some dead-end acting jobs, I decided it was time for a change.
Then, out of the red, one image changed me forever. After the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena landed a rover on Mars called Pathfinder on July 4th, 1997, I headed west determined to study red planet, baffled by images from the surface. I learned again the power of one photograph in a stunning single moment. I was inspired by what people working together could accomplish and how important exploration was to the future of man. So I packed all of my things in a giant box and sent them to the Golden State. The same week I arrived, I joined the local astronomy club.
In 2003, Mars came closer to Earth than it had in the previous 60,000 years. I felt like it was a privilage to see it and it was my duty to record it. I took nearly 50,000 images of Mars through my telescope that year and spent many hours honing my post-processing skills. I became very interested in being an observer. Not just of the planets and stars, but of everything. The universe is made of an infinite number of miracles and its my job to praise them. Observing wasn’t a passive enterprise, it was participating. It changed me. Photography at that time was a means to an end, but before I knew it Iwas bitten by the bug and I couldn’t shake it. It turns out you can use your camera during the day also.
I am an artist. I can’t always decide what media I like the most, but right now its photography. I love to draw and paint when I get the chance. There’s even evidence of sculpture somewhere around here. Sometimes I play music in a band called Labmonkey. I also hike as often as I can in the Sierras or the Angeles National Forest with my wife, Heather, who is also a fantastic photographer and plays drums for a rock band called the Pin-Ups. We live a great life in Southern California with our daughter Scarlett and our dog, Static, looking for adventure in all its forms.