As an eighth grader, Pat Berrett never expected to be a photographer. He can still remember the first print coming up in the darkroom in a storage closet. “This is magic,” he thought.
Berrett’s fascination with photography continued through high school and led to a part-time job with the Belen News Bulletin during his senior year.
The cooperative education program at New Mexico State University offered additional experiences for young Berrett. Eight years, seven states and 35 countries on five continents later, he boasted dual degrees in English and Journalism. He’d tracked satellites for the Department of Defense and worked on various ships surveying for the petroleum industry.
His love for photography and New Mexico led him to a job as an aerial photographer and Photo Lab Manager in Las Cruces.
The mantra, “Do what you love and the money will follow” spurred him toward self-employment and in 1980 he began a full time career in photography.
Berrett laughs that the money has yet to catch up. His clients include many well-known New Mexico artisans and craftspeople. He also works for high tech and emerging-technology companies and has carved out a special niche among local dance and theater companies.
In the past few years Berrett has allowed himself time to work on personal projects. Once again his love for New Mexico is prominently displayed in black-and-white landscapes, a specialty, as well as dancers and fine art nudes. For each of the past five years, he has displayed in galleries and museums.
Berrett received his MBA with a concentration in marketing from the University of New Mexico in 1997. He teaches classes for UNM’s Department of Continuing Education and is a frequent speaker at art-related seminars.
He and Tim Anderson created Rio Grande Workshops in 2008 to teach a variety of photo-related workshops.
After 30 years in the business Berrett boasts thousands of clients with 300 to 400 active clients per year. But the prize for the strangest picture he’s ever taken goes to the client with a live cow in a man’s office. Then, as he thinks about it he adds, “Once I had to photograph a frozen turtle.”