The first time I picked up a SLR, my Canon EOS, I couldn’t believe how cool it was to be able to sharpen what seemed to be out of focus. Turned out I needed glasses! Once I discovered the Colorado Institute of Art, I had my calling.
After finishing my education at CIA in 1984, I immediately went to work in the photo reproduction industry. I have honed my color management skills over the years and am now considered an expert color printer with an awesome ‘color eye’. As the digital age has pretty much put all those darkroom skills in the archives, I’ve had to reinvent myself digitally. One of the greatest things about photography is change, this can be both good and bad, but I always try to look at things positively. I wanted to learn Photoshop, so I threw myself at it in the year 2000. I’ve been with Reed since 2003 where I have continued to refine and expand my Photoshop knowledge with the help of both Kim Reed and John Harris. These guys know everything you could possibly need to know when it comes to Photoshop, and I have them in my back pocket. After being in this industry for over 25 years, it’s amazing how I am still challenged at times. Being able to use Photoshop everyday allows me to continue being creative and use all the years of my color expertise to bring out the best possible image. I take tremendous pride in what I do and I’ve been told it shows!
I’m not just one of Reed’s Master Pigment Printers; I’m an artist, a collagist and an insatiable collector of found ephemera. I come by my eccentric sensibilities naturally; I get it from my grandfather. Years ago, I worked at Rocky Mountain Custom Photo, a one-hour film processing lab, cranking out hundreds of machine prints every day. Those machines jammed all the time. I was intrigued by those munched “photo fubars”, so I started collecting bits of the rejected, damaged, photo paper that came from those jams, cutting them into geometric shapes, and piecing them together in collages. It was around that time that I discovered the meaning behind my family name, Coller. While thumbing through art books in a hole-in-the-wall book store, I picked up a dictionary on art terms and processes. It turns out that the French word, coller, means “to stick or paste together”. My grandfather was a collage artist and I knew then that my penchant for collages was in my blood! That’s really where my journey as an artist began.
When I made the move to Reed in 1993, I was able to take the “color eye” that I developed at RMCP and refine it working alongside the pros. I learned what fine-art quality is from the best, Bob Reed. Now, I oversee Reed’s Metal and Pigment Printing divisions. I love what I do here. I love working with artists and being immersed in the artistic process every day. People might not realize how much skill and effort goes into making a print better than anyone else. I’m proud every day of the successful problem-solving and extreme attention to detail that makes that possible.
There’s always something new here—people, products, art. I love that. And it motivates my own artistic projects. In addition to being a pro printer at Reed, I’m a near full-time artist, showing my own work in galleries, festivals and by commission.
I never really liked my home country of Germany, so after completing my job training at age 19, I was eager for a way to leave and explore the world. I accepted work as an au pair for a family in America and ended up working and living here off-an-on for the next five years. I bounced back and forth between the countries, working as a photo technician in a professional photo lab while in Germany. I really wanted to stay in the U.S., though, so I earned a degree in Advertising Photography with a minor in Digital Imaging from the New England School of Photography, and eventually received my Green Card. Over the years, I have worked for photographers and in reproduction facilities in both California and Colorado.
I’ve been doing exactly what I love as a photo print technician at Reed since 2005. To me, it’s just fun; making pictures beautiful is pure pleasure! My education has been helpful, but ultimately you either have an eye for color or you don’t. I’ve been told that I have the best eye for color west of the Mississippi! I don’t know, but I’ve always just been good at it. As much as I like taking photos of family and friends, I’d much rather be at my computer making beautiful prints.
I love working at Reed and can’t imagine going anywhere else. Reed has always been supportive of me and provided me with the freedom I need as a working mom. That’s huge. Call me crazy, but I think work is a blessing. I love my job!
I’ve been a photographer since I was a kid, shooting a little bit of everything, but one thing I knew early was that I loved telling a story with my camera. That was why I enjoyed shooting sports as a student, and then, ultimately, studied Visual Communication & Journalism at Metro State College in Denver Colorado. Although my plan was to pursue Photojournalism, my love for the outdoors ultimately led me to my real passion: wildlife photography. After college, I worked as a custom printer at The Pro Lab where I was inspired by the beautiful scenic and wildlife images I printed. I’m an avid hiker and mountain biker, so when I acquired my first 300mm lens I decided to try it out on a hike up Mount Evans to see the mountain goats. I was hooked. Now, I’m out shooting every weekend during cold weather, and after work, as well, during the summer.
I’ve learned to be patient and wait for the drama that characterizes my wildlife work. I’m not interested in pretty animal portraits, but instead, I capture dramatic moments where there is action or emotion from the animal. I am honored to have had my images in numerous industry publications, including National Geographic, Colorado Outdoors, Bugle Magazine, All Animals Magazine, Smith-Southwestern Publishing, and Chicago Wilderness Magazine. But, my proudest accomplishment to-date is being included as one of the international Share the View Competition Top Ten Colorado Photographers for two years running. The competition is tough in wildlife photography, so I consider this a real honor.
In 2008, I came onboard with Reed as the lead Lightjet printer. Many years mentoring with the likes of Rocky Mountain News photographer, Jay Kelzer, and Steve Annibal from The Pro Lab, taught me what makes a good print. Basically, I approach every image as though it were my own. I make sure I would be happy hanging it on my own wall. But, when I’m not printing other photographers’ amazing work, I’m out in nature searching for the perfect light to showcase the amazing animals that I love.