Olympus Visionary

Kelley L. Cox

Kelley L. Cox

Kelley is a San Francisco Bay Area based photographer.

Kelley is a San Francisco Bay Area based photographer.

About Kelley

I had been shooting with the same camera system since my first film SLR and into DSLR. I would slowly upgrade or add a lens, then a body, then a lens and so on, as I became more serious about my career and wanted to reach the highest level of my industry, photographing athletes competing at the highest level of their sport. Being paid to cover the Super Bowl, World Series, and NBA Finals was a rewarding accomplishment but I did not want to simply be content with the "check mark". I wanted to challenge myself to continue developing my photography career and set new goals. As upgrades to the lenses and bodies I was using were released, at price points that did not match the investment pay-off system I practice, I did not see the value in upgrading as I had with previous releases. The technology improvements were not significant enough to convince me that an upgrade would allow me to create images I couldn't otherwise capture or increase my income to a point that could justify the cost of the investment. I wasn't looking to make big moves because I was so heavily invested and had the familiarity to get the most out of my gear, but I was no longer optimistic about my future within the system.

I had an Olympus set as a hobby camera to take on backpacking trips so I could save weight without sacrificing image quality of incredible landscapes. I would carry a wide angle on an E-M5 Mark II at football games in case of celebration or other big moment that didn't require the focus speed of peak action and saved me from the unnecessary weight of a DSLR hanging around my neck for hours. I loved Olympus but never imagined it would be my only camera system for my professional work... until the E-M1 Mark II was introduced along with the 300mm f/4.

Suddenly, Olympus was producing a camera that was not only capable of capturing sports with long glass, fast focus and multiple frames per second, but it made photographing sports easier. After borrowing the system for a football game in the rain, I was sold. The light-weight nature meant if a long pass was thrown, I could easily hop up and run from one side of the field to the other. After a long day of shooting, I didn't get the pain in my neck/shoulders/back that other photographers had warned me about. The pain that has caused many of my colleagues to take disability leave (if they are so lucky to be a staff photographer) or ultimately leave the business entirely. Instead I felt healthy, strong and ready for more. The size meant I could pack in every lens I might need and adjust for the situation on-site. The wi-fi meant I could send clients photos from the field, from my phone, without the need to bring out my computer or carry special (and expensive) attachments. The weather-sealing meant I could cover a game in the rain, without rain gear getting in the way of me operating my cameras. The price point meant I could work with the-top-of-the-line sharp and fast lenses with multiple camera bodies without worrying how long it would take me to recoup the cost of my investment while trying to run a sustainable business.

Those perks would all be meaningless if it wasn't a reliable and high quality camera system. Working with Olympus allows me to create compelling and creative images that keep clients hiring me, editors choosing to publish my images, and me enjoying my work.


The Olympus Visionary Program is Olympus America Inc.’s official program for its sponsored photographers. Olympus Visionaries consist of a select group of photographers from across the U.S. and Canada who represent a variety of photography genres, and offer varying years of experience and influence. From Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists to successful entrepreneurs to passionate creators who shoot and share their vision with their dedicated social communities, each has a unique point of view, an enthusiasm for Olympus products and the brand, a strong presence in the photography community, and best practices to share.

The Visionaries use their unique real-world experiences and technical expertise to inspire photo enthusiasts and professionals alike and embrace Olympus camera systems as their tool of choice for capturing and sharing their world in vivid detail. They provide product feedback in an effort to improve Olympus products, programs and services. They also represent Olympus by speaking at Photography Conferences, Photo Specialty Dealer Events, Tradeshows, and more.

For regularly updated content from all of the Olympus Visionaries, visit www.facebook.com/getolympus, www.youtube.com/getolympus and follow @getolympus on Twitter and Instagram. 
To inquire about membership in the program, please contact VisionaryProgram@olympus.com.www.facebook.com/getolympus, www.youtube.com/getolympus and follow @getolympus on Twitter. For more information about the Olympus Visionary program, please contact Eric Gensel at eric.gensel@olympus.com.