TODD MIZENER

Photojournalist & Multimedia Storyteller

About:

I am an award winning visual storyteller with nearly 30-years experience weaving narratives, big and small, with light and sound.

My work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, on the Associated Press, USA Today, Dispatch/Argus and others. My work has been honored by the Associated Press, Illinois Press Photographers Association, Illinois Press Association, and others.

I take my craft very seriously but I approach it with a deep sense of humility. I love to learn new skills. I am a perfectionist and driven to maximize all opportunities no matter their breadth. I am an expert skier who would rather spend a day on the mountain with my wife than doing anything else in life. My passions also include craft beer, fine wine and training with Luna and Ivy, our Golden Retriever and Chocolate Lab.

I have built a career on making big pictures out of tiny assignments. I tell my staff on a regular basis to always treat every assignment like it is slotted for the front page. I love the big assignment. In baseball terms I want the ball hit to me with the game on the line. I take much more pride, however, in finding a strong photo from assignments others think are void of visual promise.

In addition to my work behind the camera I have proven track record as an innovative leader and mentor. I have recruited and trained numerous up and coming young photographers. Some of my notable interns include Jon Kim, Pulitzer Prize winner; Jon Lowenstein, NPPA Magazine Photographer of the Year; Leah Klafczynski, 2015 Hearst Journalism Award finalist; and Marianne Morgan, Chicago Tribune photo editor. 

My late parents were both artists which accounts for my artistic acumen, but it is my engineer brother who got me hooked on photography. Our relationship was the classic big brother, little brother dynamic. Jeff, who is 8-years older, led and I followed. I wanted to do everything he did. He was a photographer in high school and built a darkroom in our parents' basement. I was fascinated by the form and function of the enlarger. There was something magical about watching a print appear in the tray full of Dektol. 

While Jeff was away at college I asked my mom if we could set up the darkroom so she could teach me to print. She was headed out the door to the grocery store at the time so she said we would do it as soon as she got back. By the time her Datsun 210 station wagon rolled up the driveway I had already mixed all the chemistry and was making my first prints from some old negatives Jeff had left behind. 

In retrospect, I haven’t stopped learning or pushing the envelope since I slipped that first piece of Kodak polycontrast paper into the developer.