by Kathy Eide Casas
When you first meet local photographer, poet extraordinaire, and expert interpreter Joe Osejo, you are struck by the modesty of this soft-spoken creative gentleman.
Growing up in an Air Force family, the Osejo’s were frequently on the move, packing and unpacking throughout the years. Moving from Texas to California, they lived in many of the smaller Central California towns; Winton, Merced, Atwater and finally settling in Turlock. Maybe it was the small town pace of life in those communities, or simply a keen interest of words and languages, that would eventually lead Joe down his first career path of interpreting. As a child, he liked to learn new words and as he grew, sometimes just for fun, he would find himself translating newspapers! An interesting way for a growing mind to pass the time!
It was while the Osejo family was living in Turlock, that Joe met his wife, Laura, during a church service. It was love at first sight on all levels, including their love of words. Laura’s family spoke Spanish, furthering Joe’s growing ability to communicate in the language he loved. In reminiscing about those days, Joe explained with a soft smile, “At 14, I told Laura I was going to marry her.” After graduation, that promise came true and just recently these parents of two high school children celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary.
Shortly after Joe and Laura were married, they both felt the lingering desire to do something more–something adventurous. So, they packed up their belongings, said goodbye to everyone in Atwater and moved south to Fresno, where they knew exactly…no one. Not one single person, and that’s what made it so fun!
Both Joe and Laura easily found employment as interpreters at Children’s Hospital, jobs they still enjoy today. It was while Joe was performing his interpretive services that he noticed the emotions that often accompanied people, while they were communicating their messages through him. This was creative inspiration for Joe. He wanted to express those emotions through words, and as a means to do that, he began to write poetry. He went in search of and found other ‘creative types’ as he describes, and discovered the perfect fit…Inner Ear Open Mic Poetry. He was able to share and express himself, along with others, whose creativity was pouring from their hearts and minds. It was clear immediately that Joe had so much more to give. Not only did the words spill out, but something else as well.
Joe began capturing moments, angles and emotions, through his photography. He discovered he had a unique ability to capture that perfect moment, where the true emotion of the person comes shining through. According to Joe, “Photography became so much more than a hobby, it truly is my passion.” Since that time, he has gone on to capture thousands of images, each compelling in their own way.
Joe Osejo has since become known for his expert ability to capture those images. Though he spent some time in the Tower where he was able to display some of his work at his gallery, City Arts, his focus remains on photography. Although he no longer has his gallery, he still dedicates time to aspiring young photographers in the Tower. He sees in these youth an untapped talent that he hopes he will be able to help them develop.
As for future plans, he and his wife plan to “capture the world” through his photography. Joe Osejo can be reached at (559) 916-2758 or via email at joe_osejo@hotmail[dot]com.
All photography in this article is Joe’s.