Image: Tom PattersonBlue Earth board members are selected for their diverse expertise and commitment to furthering the mission of Blue Earth. The board is assisted by a select group of advisory board members. This article features board member Tom Patterson who currently chairs Blue Earth’s Projects Committee.

Why are you interested in being involved with Blue Earth? What is it about BE’s mission that resonates with you?

As a professional photo editor and consultant, I greatly enjoy working with photographers to refine their stories and help them reach their potential. Blue Earth photographers are working on some of the most interesting and important issues of the day, and I get to be involved, which is very satisfying to me.

Please tell us briefly about you and your background as well as something unexpected and uncommon that might not be readily known.

After more than a decade on the photo staff of the Statesman Journal newspaper, earning a master’s degree in Multimedia Journalism and completing a Graduate Teaching Fellowship at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, I worked for two years as the photo editor and content specialist at the international humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. Now, in addition to serving on the Blue Earth board, I also I work as a story coach and instructor with Momenta Workshops; I write a regular column on photo editing for NGO Storytelling and I help individual photo editing and consulting clients around the world. Closer to home, I founded — an online hub for my state’s photo community — and I am a member of the Portland Art Museum’s Photography Council. I also still shoot for editorial and nonprofit clients on occasion, when I’m not chasing my insomniac toddler daughter.

What are you doing in your area to help spread the word and build a BE community? How can people get involved?

Next month I will be volunteering at the New York Portfolio Review, spreading the word about Blue Earth and co-hosting a promotional event with the Photo Brigade on April 19th in Manhattan. First beer’s on us!

What’s your ultimate vision for Blue Earth as an organization? What kind of impact do you want to have personally?

I would love for us to build capacity for even more hands-on help to photographers and their projects, creatively as well as in promotion. I am working to personally be more involved throughout: from strategy and pre-production through the ideation process, to help photographers create better, more meaningful work with a long tail.