"Milwaukee is one of the next great up-and-coming cities."
What is your job and its responsibilities?
I am a Computer-Science student, internal supply-chain coordinator, but foremost I am an event photographer. I’ve created my own photography “project” called LeJoop Photography, notice that I didn’t say “business,” for that would defeat my purpose. LeJoop was created when I first moved to Milwaukee with the purpose of helping others and bringing Milwaukee closer together through the gift of photography. I’ve lent my services to a wide range of groups, including the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, MKEBKE, NEWaukee, and even to the Milwaukee College of Wisconsin’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation group. Taking pictures isn’t just work for me. It’s getting to know every one’s story and being able to show how awesome they are. That’s what makes it worth it for me. You’ll see me at various local Milwaukee events with my Canon and my Green and Black hat – come say hi!
Was there a point where you decided this was the city you wanted to live in?
Only being 22 years young, I have a much different view of residency in Milwaukee. I didn’t come to Milwaukee because I wanted to live here long term, truthfully after high-school I didn’t really have plan on how or where I wanted to start my life. Instead I came to Milwaukee because I knew it was the place I needed to start and I couldn’t have been more right. Milwaukee to me, is the perfect place to experience college – it allows great exposure to a lot of different cultures and sub-cultures, but also allows you to learn about yourself and how you fit in to the community around you. Personally I’d like to move to England, Canada, or somewhere out west where I can do a lot of hiking and adventuring. I’m a sucker for being outdoors and exploring around, but I’ll always have a piece of Milwaukee in my heart.
What strikes you as the most unique thing about Milwaukee?
The most surprising thing that I noticed about Milwaukee is definitely how all of the different neighborhoods are so closely packed together. I remember one of the first times I drove down to Bradford Beach to meet some friends I actually drove a mile and a half too far and found myself in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, I was speechless. The fact that you can go from the business sector to the beach, from the UWM campus to the more indie/artsy area of Riverwest and see the diversity and proximity of the cultures and neighborhoods is amazing.
It’s kind of funny, I haven’t really tried too many local brews because when I first moved here I spent a good portion of my beer tasting at the World of Beer on Brady (RIP). Drinking beers from all around the world drew me away from the local selection; however, my favorite Milwaukee beer is definitely MKE Brewery’s Outboard Cream-Ale. It tastes great and I usually drink it as part of a tradition – every time I take on a new building project like metal-work or wood-work, I always have a few cold ones nearby!
What is the most effective way to implement change in Milwaukee?
The most important rule about making change is best described by Simon Sinek in his TED session: “..People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” First off change comes with persuasion, you are highly unlikely to make change if you can’t persuade others why this change should be made. I think the most effective way to persuade others is implicitly – through passion. If you’re passionate about what you’re striving for, with a genuine agenda, that will attract people. They will know you’re not using some tactic to forcefully change their mind and will give your mission a chance. I’ve found this through experience, not research and it’s what I’ve based LeJoop on. I genuinely love taking pictures, experiencing new things, and hearing other people’s stories, and I think that’s why I’ve had the opportunity to experience the things I have with my photography.
Where do you see Milwaukee in five years?
Milwaukee is one of the next great up-and-coming cities. In five years I think that Milwaukee will definitely be a destination city for most people. We have everything that a tourist/visitor would want – we have the beautiful lakefront with Bradford and the Art Museum, we have the Summerfest Grounds and all of the festivals that are held there, we have an amazing collection of old European style architecture, and of course – some of the best food and drink spots in the country!