Pete Doherty enjoying second professional life as photographer after career in banking
Photographer Pete Doherty of Schererville is used to getting a nod from Tiger Woods when sharing the same golf-course green.
The same is true during previous club-in-hand encounters with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and others when Doherty is aiming his lens at these and other golf legends.
Doherty, president and owner of Doherty Images LCC, spent much of his 2019 summer on the golf course for work rather than for play. Although, he’s quick to clarify that his late-in-life career change is an occupational adventure, not a day-to-day pressure-filled paycheck obligation.
“I’m doing something I’ve always loved to do,” said Doherty, who enjoyed an August assignment capturing photos of Woods and other golfing greats at Medinah’s BMW Championship on the PGA Tour.
“Photography uses both my imagination and my eye to focus on people, places and my passion.”
Doherty spent 32 years in banking with a concentration on corporate marketing. When he retired 12 years ago from Citizens Financial Bank at age 54, he was serving as region president for the financial institution.
“I wasn’t at an age where I was ready to spend all my time playing golf as a pastime,” he said.
He always enjoyed photography. So, when he launched his company, he initially focused on commercial and scenic photography.
But when asked what first interested him in photography, he remembers clearly.
“I can remember growing up and having one of the classic Brownie cameras from Eastman Kodak,” Doherty said.
Despite requests, he doesn’t have time in his schedule for weddings, which is often a staple assignment for many studio photographers. Doherty concentrates on location photography, and he has a stable of returning clients each year, including NIPSCO, BP Whiting, Peoples Bank, Purdue University Northwest, South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority, Northwest Indiana Forum, Walsh Construction, McShane Construction in Rosemont, Ill., and the Chicago-based golf publication Golf Now.
Erika Dahl, South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority director of communications, said Doherty has a “natural eye” for scenic photography and beautiful images that convey people in candid moments.
“Of course, his photos of the Dunes landscapes are always incredible, which is why he’s always our man behind the camera for any location scenes we need,” Dahl said.
She said Doherty also has a talent for people photos, capturing them just at the right moment.
“We provide a variety of photographs and images to so many agencies and media outlets, and Pete always knows what we’re looking for when we give him an assignment,” Dahl said.
Raeann Trakas, director of marketing and communications for the Northwest Indiana Forum, said Doherty also has a talent when photographing social events and business functions.
“Not only does Pete always seem to know everyone in a room because of his 30 years in banking, but he’s able to still work that room, and appear to blend in unnoticed when he needs to be,” Trakas said. “So besides getting all of the great posed photos we want and all the key names, he also manages to get relaxed moments and candids like no one else can.”
Doherty said his talent for a keen photographer’s eye isn’t a family-inherited trait.
“No one else in my family was drawn to photography as a field or a hobby,” said Doherty, who averages two work assignments a week.
“My dad was an executive for Illinois Bell, and he raised a family as a man who left for work in a suit and tie holding a briefcase each day and came home the same way every day for his entire career,” Doherty said.
He said that, when he chose to enter banking, he felt destined to be like his father as far as his career went.
“But that didn’t mean I didn’t also have my artistic and creative side of my life waiting to emerge,” Doherty said. “I always enjoyed doing hobby photography, especially photos of the Dunes, and over the years, I also loved collecting colorful and unique images from advertisements, such as eye-catching magazine spreads.”
As word of Doherty’s photography hobby reached his circle of friends, someone suggested he offer some of his work as an exhibit opportunity for South Shore Arts to share with their patrons.
“I submitted some pieces as a possible show, and I was surprised to be given a full exhibit in the atrium gallery at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster,” Doherty said. His opening night exhibit reception took place the same day he retired from the bank.
“I had 300 guests show up for my photography exhibit reception, everyone from family and friends to all of the people from my bank life and business acquaintances,” Doherty said. “That’s when my two worlds merged, and my new life of full-time photography began.”