Aaron Caleb Packard, a one-man band in a van, would prefer loading up a bunch of gear and road-tripping to a gig instead of stressing about connecting flights, baggage fees, and overhead storage space, but he does it when necessary. Aaron somehow just seems to belong, whether it’s in an executive suit, on a manufacturing floor, or at a motorcycle rally. He empowers his subjects to be present and be themselves in the moment to create authentic images. If that requires him to hang off the back of a motorcycle facing the wrong direction, Aaron will do it.
The youngest child of two hippy fine art professors, Aaron Caleb Packard arrived in the spring of 1971, a month later than he was supposed to. Since then, he has made it a point to be on time. At the age of sixteen, after attending the Marie Walsh Sharp Art Foundation, he ran out of art classes at his local high school. The only option was to take drawing at the university… from his father. After graduating high school, Aaron attempted to rebel from his artist family by enlisting in the US Navy. His family was actually pretty proud of him, but he ended up back in art school eventually.
After the Navy and a season of crewing on a windjammer out of Mystic, Connecticut, Aaron found himself studying photography at the University of South Dakota. That lasted for a couple of years before he left to check out San Francisco. He thought he was going to be the next Corbijn or Saudek. He started off as a cook at Hamburger Mary’s and shot fashion tests in his free time. One day, a booking agent called Aaron to ask if he did assisting. “Sure… I do assisting,” he answered, even though he really didn’t know what that entailed. It turned out assisting was great, and he learned so much more about photography than he ever did in art school. Aaron continued to assist, produce, and shoot in San Francisco until around 2002.
Since leaving California, Aaron has been a working commercial and editorial photographer based in southeast South Dakota. He took a bit of a break in 2014 to venture into the world of academia and earned his MFA in Photography at the University of South Dakota. Aaron has triumphantly returned to his craft full-time, specializing in corporate industrial lifestyle and portraiture. Lately, he enjoys playing around with product based still-life imagery, mostly involving the saturated colors of candy and American junk food.