Electronic Imaging Specialist and resident comedian for Elgin Community College’s Marketing and Communications department Mark Carriveau spends his time searching for the perfect shot. On campus, that’s finding the ideal setting, best lighting and glorious moment in time to perfectly capture his subject(s). Outside of ECC, his photographic wanderlust takes him on the scenic route. Carriveau travels the country on his off-time “chasing waterfalls and documenting weekends off the beaten path.”
So far, he’s visited 42 of the 50 states.
Where does an adventurous [photographic] archiver go when he’s looking for inspiration? “The best place I’ve traveled to so far has been Utah,” he said. “Although the whole state is beautiful, the Red Rock Country in southern Utah is really special. If you have a chance to be in one of the state’s national parks at night, you’re in for one incredible experience.”
Though he’s serious about photography, Carriveau approaches life with a light heart and positive attitude—always finding humor in the day-to-day. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he is an alumni of The Second City in Chicago, having taken comedy classes there several years ago.
The punch line: Comedy classes have helped Carriveau excel in his role at ECC, because it taught him to connect with his subjects in ways that made them more relaxed, resulting in a better photo.
We caught up with Carriveau to learn more about his life and his work at ECC. Here is what he had to say.
In your words, what do you do at ECC?
Photography is my main responsibility. I shoot photos for events, portraits, sports, ECC’s publications, etc. Along those lines, I manage our digital assets, and I back up the college’s videographer, Milo Barsanti-Gonzalez.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
It’s hard to come up with just one. After 22 years (I’ve been at the college since 1996), there have been a lot of them. The one thing all of my accomplishments have in common is that they have all been team-oriented. When a team of creative people get together and contribute to a goal, the results are awesome!
What’s something about your job that others should know?
A lot of work goes into pre-planning and post-production of photo shoots. There is also asset management work on everything I shoot. We have a library of about 200,000 images that continues to grow on a daily basis. Our Marketing and Communication team members have to be able to find what they need quickly, so a lot of work (by me) on the back end makes images easier to find on the front end.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I’d make it a “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” and schedule mandatory ice cream breaks at 10 a.m. (yes, ice cream for breakfast) and 1 p.m. I’d plan for pool time from 8 to 10 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. (assuming I could rent a pool and put it in the Green Space outside of Building C). Not a lot of work would get done that day, but everyone would be totally relaxed and stress-free when Dr. Sam resumed his duties.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
My friends would probably say Danny DeVito or Frank Fritz from American Pickers, but I would choose Tom Cruise.
What’s on your “bucket list?”
Visiting all 50 states—I only have eight left to visit. I also want to drive from Miami to Key West and learn to play guitar.
What would be your “theme song?”
“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor always pumps me up!
What was your favorite class in school?
Photography, of course.
What was your first job out of school?
I was a photo assistant for a local photographer.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I like working on home improvement projects, refinishing furniture and woodworking, and finding the perfect [photograph] shot.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
I enjoy working at ECC because…
…I am constantly challenged by my work.