About the Photographer
American, b. 1934
Vernon Cheek was born in Berkeley, California and raised in Chicago and Michigan, where he started taking photographs as a child. As an undergraduate he studied fine art at Albion College, in Albion, Michigan, and later political science and history at Pomona College, in Claremont, California. After serving in the Korean War, Cheek entered a graduate program in ceramics at Alfred University in New York State. Inspired by a seminar in photography at Alfred, he shifted his focus and transferred to the Institute of Design, where he studied under photographers Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. In 1962 he founded the photography program at Purdue University, where he taught for the next forty years before retiring.