Passionate Pursuits: Capturing Visual Expressions in Photography

The purpose of Excelsior Life’s Passionate Pursuits is to help shine a light on faculty and staff successfully balancing work, home and family – just like our students.

Hem Borromeo (Rotterdam, NY) is a senior academic advisor with the School of Nursing. Outside of work he has been an avid amateur photographer for more than a decade. His photography includes digital, film (medium and large formats), and antiquarian processes such tintypes and ambrotypes.

Hem's photo

Excelsior Life: Can you explain why you are passionate about photography? Borromeo: One of my reasons to be passionate about photography is because it is a memory keeper; it allows us to bookmark our memories with visual cues. To quote Milan Kundera, “You think that just because it’s already happened, the past is finished and unchangeable? Oh no, the past is cloaked in multicolored taffeta and every time we look at it we see a different hue.” The second reason – it allows me the opportunity to wrestle with a visual rather than a verbal language to express myself.

Excelsior Life: How and why did you first get involved in photography? Borromeo: After completing my Masters in Counseling/Community Psychology at Marist College, I decided to take another course just for the fun of it. It was a black and white film photography course. When I saw that first print bloom in the developer, I was hooked. I was also very lucky to have Dan McCormack as my first photography professor. He continues to be my photographic mentor. Not only has he taught me (and countless others) technical tips to produce better photographs, but he has also inspired me to strive to see the world in a slightly different way.

Excelsior Life: Did you ever win any photography awards? Borromeo: I haven’t won any awards…yet. But I have been included in several local exhibits which include (New York) venues such as the Photography Center of the Capital District (Troy), the Spectrum Theater (Albany), the Guilderland Public Library (Guilderland), the Barrett Art Center (Poughkeepsie), Fulton Street Gallery (Troy),  Unison Arts Center (New Paltz), and even Uncommon Grounds Cafe (Saratoga Springs).

This year, I was given the opportunity to exhibit a long-term project on abuse and healing here at Excelsior College.

Excelsior Life: What do you recommend for someone with an interest in this hobby just starting out? Borromeo: Taking a course or two. The Center for Professional Development at Excelsior College offers several digital photography courses. These are wonderful courses!

Excelsior Life: What would someone reading this be surprised to learn about you and your passion? Borromeo: While photography isn’t the way I earn my living, it has certainly added a lot to my life.

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