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100th Anniversary Edition

The Alumni News | Winter 1977

Profile: It's no snap making it in photography

ALUMNI NEWS MAGAZINE | 100th Anniversary Edition

He himself might describe it as "a very rough business;” but there's no doubt that Richard Vroom has made it in his field.  

At 34, he has established himself as one of the top editorial photographers in Canada.  
He has had photographs published in 13 books, has made a number of educational films and has worked in 40 countries around the world.  

His background in 1965, he graduated as a pre-med student from UNB.  

It goes without saying that he never went into medicine. The closest he came was a short stint soon after graduation as a pharmaceutical salesman. And that didn't last long. He'd soon launched into travels around Europe, snapping and selling pictures as he went.

By 1969 Vroom had established enough of a reputation to land a National Film Board contract to do photography in Spain. A year later, he was in Japan, again for the National Film Board, catching the spirit of Expo '70 on film. 

Since then, it's been onward and upward. Photographs in Explore Canada, Between Friends, Scenic Wonders of Canada, MacLeans Magazine and Readers' Digest, to name only a few.  

How did he get to where he is now? Studying for a time under Yousuf Karsh helped, but Vroom says the main ingredients to success in photography are hard work, practice and time.  

Artistic ability isn't all that counts either, according to Vroom. An aspiring photographer has to have a good business background to be successful.

Photography is extremely competitive, Vroom says, and not everyone is cut out for it. "There are a lot of people that do it, but very few do it well!'  

After 12 years, Vroom is back in Fredericton. He has come to New Brunswick "to slow the pace;” and thinks he would like to move into the country and live on a farm.  
He is halfway through a book on Maritime architecture and has plans for a picture history book of New Brunswick. 

Vroom says there is plenty of work for him to do in the Maritimes, although 99 per cent of his market is in central Canada. Another attraction New Brunswick holds for Vroom is that his family background is in this part of the world. His ancestors were loyalists from St. Stephen -a family of craftsmen.

The Vroom Brothers cabinet making company takes up one chapter of Richard Vroom's most recent book, Cabinet Makers of the Eastern Seaboard.  

Vroom owns a small marble topped table crafted by his great-grandfather, and hopes to acquire more pieces bearing the Vroom Brothers mark.  

And finally, if you've decided to look through your old yearbooks and Brunswickans for some early Richard Vroom work, don't bother. He didn't work for either.  


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