Lincoln man pursues passion for photography despite disability | Local

Barbara Merkley

Chad Madson is wheelchair-bound, nonverbal and only has the use of one arm.

But the 37-year-old doesn’t let cerebral palsy keep him from pursuing his passion for photography.

Even with his physical limitations, the Lincoln man takes professional-quality photos with the help of a custom-made tripod attachment for his wheelchair and assistance from Region V Services.

“Since having my camera on my powerchair in front of me, I am able to independently do all of the camera settings with no help,” he said in a written response to questions. “As my interest grew stronger, my passion for photography grew.”

The tripod was specifically made to fit the attachment that normally holds his iPad and easily slides into place. From there, Madson is able to control his camera with a remote and take photos with ease.

Before he had the tripod built, Madson used a webcam attachment for his computer and a smaller tripod he wrapped around the arm of his wheelchair. 

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Region V Services assists Madson with promotion and transportation to and from sites.

He is completely self-taught and learned his skills from watching YouTube tutorials about photography and photo editing.

Fifteen years later, Madson now has his own business — CAMpix Photography and Portraits — where he sells his photos and offers portraits through his website.

He has plans to further expand his customer base and provide low-income families with affordable portraits.

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“My philosophy is I would rather sell five photos at lower prices than one at a higher price,” he said. “That’s five new followers for me that I didn’t have before. Word of mouth is very important.”

While he particularly enjoys photographing abandoned barns, he also photographs landscapes, flowers, animals and other objects.

Madson believes in the power of a moment and preserving history with photos. Because of that, he rarely edits his photos past adjusting the brightness and contrast. 

“Completely changing the look of my work just isn’t my style. I want my work to look as original to the actual scenery as possible,” he said.

Throughout his photography journey, Madson has faced several obstacles, including the promotion of his business during the height of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, he manages to focus on the positives.

“I have no struggles,” he said. “I’ve always had a very positive outlook on life. I tend to stay focused on what I can do instead thinking negatively on what isn’t realistic for me. I’ve always had that positivity, even as a kid.”

In addition to his website, Madson also displays his work at several places in Lincoln, including Bryan Health System, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and several coffeeshops.

During the month of May, he will display his work at the Loft Gallery on UNL’s East Campus.

“I hope my story will inspire anyone to believe in themselves and to go for their dreams,” he said. “All of us have hopes. If more people would think positive about themselves, the sky’s the limit.”

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