The man behind our photographs: interview with Kevin Dooley

Anthony Haynes writes: When, a couple of months ago, we decided to design a new website, we searched for suitable photographs to use as header images.

We were pleased to discover on Flickr the work of Professor Kevin Dooley, who has made his work available Creative Commons licences. 

Here we interview Kevin about his photographic work. 

Thank you for agreeing to our interview request. Could I invite you to introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m a professor of Supply Chain Management at Arizona State University, Chief Scientist at The Sustainability Consortium. My main work interests involve helping companies make products in a more sustainable way. [Kevin’s biography appears at the foot of this post.]

What’s the story about you and photography? 

I had just gotten a digital single-lens reflex camera for the first time in 2007 and was looking for a place to store my digital photos and discovered Flickr. 

My interactions with Flickr, including looking at 1000+ photos per day and becoming friends with many other photographers, got me hooked on improving my photography in a conscious and planned way. 

Whether it’s my research or my music or my photography, I like variety, so a lot of what drives me is the need to experiment.

What would you say characterises your photography?

I do a little bit of every style: digital, analog, portrait, street, architecture, landscape, abstract, fractals, light painting, lomography. Probably though a common theme you can find is attention to composition, especially the rule of thirds.

I’ve done a lot of work using Google Street View. I’ve taken a Pan-American trip virtually from Alaska to Patagonia ( and have gone on a world trek from Oceania to Asia through Russia, Europe, and Middle East (

I am currently completing a Mississippi River Trek ( Here’s an article about that work:

I like to create image effects by using software in ways it’s not supposed to be used. 

For example, I created this “fractionating” effect by using the program Fantamorph, which is built to map one face image to another, instead as a nonlinear replicator:

Of your many photographs, which are your favorites?

This is my most faved image on Flickr, and has been shown in NY Museum of Modern Art:

This image has been used by many publications, including textbooks and an EPA report:

One of my favorite lomography/film pieces of my wife Mary searching for beach glass: ttps://

My favorite fractal made is:

I often steal the “flat as a pancake” 2D look from FSA style:

The photographs that we’ve used on our site: how did they come about? 

Those are light paintings made from Christmas tree lights. 

I focus about 1/2 meter from the Christmas tree (you do need to focus or else too much light gets in), and ISO 100, with anywhere from 2-30 second exposure.

 I wave the camera around with my arm either in a looping or linear way. I try to add random “nudges” in the path to make it more nonlinear. 

Clearly a key is having 4000 multicolored lights on the tree!  There's an explosion of light everywhere. 

 I also increase contrast to get rid of the light dust in the dark spaces.

The reason we were able to use your images is that you generously made them available via a Creative Commons licence. What’s your take on that? 

I myself make all of my photos available via Creative Commons. 

While this doesn't yield me "sales", it does yield publication. I typically get 4-5 images electronically published per week, and this has included such outlets as Wired Magazine, Atlantic Magazine, InformationWeek, and Wall Street Journal. 

A number have made it onto Wikipedia pages (for example,, and recently Youtube has used some as cover images for topic tabs. 

There's a lot of need for publishable material, but most people don't want to or can't pay for it. I tag my photos purposefully so would-be publishers can find the right image via the Flickr search engine. 

It also means I find my images being used without attribution all the time. But I’d rather see them used and not attributed (almost always by mistake rather than by malice) than sitting on my hard drive unseen.

Our thanks to Kevin both for making his images available and for kindly providing this interview.

Kevin Dooley’s biography: Dr. Kevin J. Dooley a Distinguished Professor of Supply Chain Management in the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, Chief Scientist of The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), and a Senior Sustainability Scientist in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. 

At TSC Dooley leads a global research team that works with over 100 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers to develop tools that measure and track progress on critical product sustainability issues. 

Dooley has published more than 100 research articles and has provided training or consultation for over 200 companies in the areas of sustainability, supply chain management, quality, and technology and innovation. 

Dooley obtained his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois.