Have you ever looked at the cover photo of Serve Daily and wondered about the man behind the lens? Surely those pristine photos didn’t come from a novice photographer.
Now is your chance to meet the man behind the visual storytelling feature that encompasses the cover article of each monthly edition of Serve Daily. Now is your chance to meet Pete Hansen.
For the past two years, Hansen has taken key stories in the community and brought them to life with his master photography skills that didn’t just begin by chance, and haven’t just developed in a dark room – although given the longevity of his career, dark rooms were most definitely used.
It was in the late 1970’s when Hansen first entertained the thought of a career or at the very least, a hobby in visual media.
“I’m in my sixties, and I started in high school, so I always joke around and say that I’ve been doing this for just a couple years,” Hansen laughed. “I started off in film and worked for a couple of photo studios in my high school days in Provo.”
Hansen said that he drifted away from photography when he entered college to get a degree in broadcast production at Brigham Young University. That degree took him to Monterey, Calif. where he met his wife, and then he took a job in video production in Chattanooga, Tenn. Hansen said that he was enjoying building a life “out in the world,” but when the call came to come back to Utah to work for KBYU, he took the opportunity.
“I moved back to Utah to be a director at KBYU, and I did that for four years, and then started my own video production company and world freelance for 25 years,” Hansen said. “I did part-time instruction at UVU in digital media and photography, and then took a job at Spanish Fork City nine years ago, and have been loving it and enjoying the work and the good people of the community.”
Hansen explained that his day job is the channel supervisor for Channel 17 for Spanish Fork City, and he said that in that capacity, he is also tasked with taking photos for community events. Hansen said that taking photos out in the community has rekindled his love for photography.
“I am officially the manager of Channel 17 for the Spanish Fork Community Network (SFCN), which is a service the city has available as part of that cable TV operation,” Hansen explained. “We work with local schools, with production of sports, plays and concerts, and we’re actively involved in promoting what’s happening in Spanish Fork. Because of my interest in photography and media in general, I’m often asked to take pictures.”
Helping to spread good news
Hansen said that being out in the community and taking photos for Serve Daily, specifically has helped him to spread good news, which is something he said he is passionate about.
“I see myself as a happy and positive person, and meeting new people who are striving to make the world a better place in some way, it makes me feel good,” he said. “I directed news in Utah, California and Tennessee in the eighties, and it’s the bad news that hits the air; it is rare to have a good news story. This is what makes Serve Daily unique and a great community resource of information.”
“The fact that it’s a feel-good type of newspaper, that in and of itself makes the process of creating images for Serve Daily all the better,” he said. “It’s good stories, people and events. It’s good experiences. That can’t help but rub off of you.”
Hansen took some time to reminisce about many of the photos he’s taken for the paper.
“There was a story of a family in Payson where the little boy had his bike stolen,” Hansen recalled. “I went down there and met with the mother and the children and took pictures of the boy and his new bike because the community had rallied together to get him a new bike. That was a good story.
“There was a story about the woman who did paintings on the Container Corner in Springville (Hillary Cochran). It was so great to meet her and learn about her painting and the things she does to support her and her daughter. She was a wonderful gal and to see the artwork that she does, it was very amazing.
“Just to be able to share people’s stories – even as a photographer, they want to tell me the story, and I have to remind them that I’m not the one writing the story. Just getting to know people a little bit and to hear what makes them tick and what drives them, and see how I can in some visual means portray how you really are, is very rewarding. These are your neighbors and your friends. It makes it much more personable because it’s a small paper.”
While taking videos and photos is what Hanson does for a living, he also does it as a way to experience daily life. In fact, four years ago, he began a personal challenge that he calls “Photo-A-Day” where he takes a photo each day and posts it to his Facebook and Instagram pages along with a caption. He says he began this challenge as a way to teach himself how to use his new camera, but has found that doing it has helped him to pay attention to the little things.
“Every day is a brand new photo that I shoot. My work with the city takes me to a lot of places and events, but there are days that are not filled with city or community events, and those are the days when I have to think of something else. I enjoy photographing people. I ask friends and family if they want to be part of my photo of the day. I enjoy telling a little story about the photo or a message or a lesson that can be learned from the image.”
So, there you have it. The man behind the lens of our very own paper, Serve Daily.
To see more of Pete’s images, he shared them on his personal Facebook page as well as @petehansenphoto on Instagram.