15 Minutes: Photographer intent on new lease on life | TahoeDailyTribune.com

15 Minutes: Photographer intent on new lease on life

Amanda Fehd

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Formerly in construction, Chad Lundquist had a kidney transplant five years ago and has now turned his career aspirations to photography.

Chad Lundquist, 29, has lived in Tahoe off and on since 1993. He is the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s photo intern for the next few months. A challenging experience in life led him to discover photography as a creative outlet.

Q: What brought you here in 1993?

A: I was originally in construction, it was a remodel, and I moved here with my dad to do it.

Q: Why did you stay?

A: I just loved Tahoe. The weather, the blue skies, outdoor activities and snowboarding, the reasons everybody else lives here, too.

Q: How did you get into photography?

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A: Seven years ago, a friend ran the Sharp Shooter at Sierra-at-Tahoe and he offered me a job. After that, I dropped it for a while.

Q: How did you get back into it?

A: I had a kidney transplant about five years ago and my fiancée and I moved to Seattle for three years. I went to the Art Institute of Seattle in design and multimedia, looking for a creative outlet because I couldn’t do manual labor after the transplant. I couldn’t do construction. I could have done it, but it would have been risky.

Q: How did that experience change your life?

A: It’s a complete life-altering event. Everything that you know and are used to is pretty much taken away from you or different. So I had to find a different route or means of making a living.

Q: Did you gain any insight about life from that?

A: Every day. You learn not to take things for granted.

Q: Do you still remember that now?

A: Oh yeah. You have to take each day at a time. I take drugs every day for it; anything could happen. I could lose a kidney tomorrow. It’s not a cure (to get a transplant); it’s a treatment.

It was all about figuring out what I wanted to do and the photography thing just kind of creeped back into my life.

Q: Had Tahoe changed when you came back?

A: No. There’s still the transient lifestyle. Obviously the economy has changed; everyday people can’t afford to buy a house.

Q: Any other hobbies or interests?

A: I work a lot with computers.

And I do a lot of Photoshop work on photos, photo editing, printing, color managing for a couple of local printers and photographers in town, as well as my own stuff.

Q: Where do you want to take your photography?

A: I get asked that a lot. It’s more of a personal journey. Everybody has to have an outlet in their life. Maybe that’s what it is, trying to make some sense of what happened to me with the kidney transplant.

I’ve never seen myself as a victim or anything. These are just the cards I’ve been dealt. I try to appreciate every day that I have. Everything that I do I try to do with passion.

If I can get somewhere professional with the photography, that would be great. And if I can capture life from a different perspective, make a change, because of what I’ve been through, that would be good.