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blood rootTobin Fraley | Photographer & Author
Born in 1951, Tobin Fraley spent his first ten years in Seattle, Washington, growing up in and around his grandfather’s amusement park.  Endless free rides on the park’s bumper cars have had a profound and somewhat curious effect on Tobin’s personality, for since Seattle he has called Berkeley, California, New York City, Kansas City, Missouri and Long Grove, Illinois home and he has yet to figure out an actual career.

His interest in photography began in high school upon discovering his father’s old 35mm Leica along with an enlarger and a few other bits and pieces of darkroom equipment. The political environment of Berkeley in 1968 offered him a chance to practice with the camera. As a center of counter-culture and a flashpoint for anti-war activity, there was no lack of relevant subject matter to photograph. But it was not until years later that he began to study photography in earnest. While owning and operating Zephyr Press, a wall calendar publishing company, he met professional photographer Bill Kane. Bill photographed a great deal of the artwork used in Zephyr Press calendars and shared his knowledge of the technical side of photography with Tobin. Within a few years, Bill was pushing Tobin to work with the 4”x 5” camera while Bill supervised.

By 1995 Tobin was photographing all of the calendar subject matter along with working on portraits and advertising images. In 2000 Tobin and his wife Rachel moved next to the Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve in Long Grove, Illinois where they now own and operate several shops in downtown Long Grove.  Tobin is also the author of three books on the history of Carousels along with a holiday children’s story titled, A Humbug Christmas.  He currently teaches photography at the Chicago Botanic Garden and the Morton Arboretum and would someday like to open a restaurant that serves amazing breakfasts, but he knows that this is a crazy idea.
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