A Successful Photographer, Jon Michael Riley Walks a More Humbling Path as a Budding Novelist
In the 1970s and ‘80s, Jon Michael Riley made a lot of money as a corporate and commercial photographer, and his work anchored advertisements in major magazines.
“I had a client tell me one time ‘Well, we like to use you because you speak the language down here,’” Riley said. “Soon as I get to the south, my southern accent would come back.”
📷Jon Michael RileyCREDIT MATT PEIKEN | BPR NEWS
Riley’s work brought him all over the country, and he took advantage of the travel to shoot his own landscape and still-life photos. He and his wife moved from New York and bought a home near Asheville in Fairview, and Riley could have eventually coasted into retirement.
But as he passed his 60th birthday, Riley found himself caring for a wife with Multiple Sclerosis while bearing with his own weakened back and eyesight.
“It’s hard to do photography if you’re a caregiver, but you can write,” he said.
Riley put away his camera and sat down at a keyboard, determined to become a writer.