Meet Walter Wick
I grew up in rural Connecticut with three older brothers and a younger sister. We loved exploring the nearby woods. I walked the neighborhood on stilts I made from tree limbs. I made them for other kids too. I also made skateboards out of old roller skates that I took apart and fastened to pieces of plywood. I loved to tinker and build. My first serious interest in art began with drawing and painting in high school. It was then that my brother Robert, who worked part-time at a camera store, introduced me to photography.
I studied photojournalism and landscape photography at the Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut. After graduating in 1973, I worked as a lab technician and product photographer in a commercial studio in Hartford. The work was not glamorous, but I was fascinated with the technical challenges of making the surfaces, shadows and highlights look exactly right in the photographs.
Before long, I moved to New York City and started my own studio. At first it was hard to find clients. The lack of work gave me time to explore new ideas and techniques, which resulted in a small, but effective, portfolio of seven images. One of these images came about almost by accident. I was organizing screws, paper clips and other odds and ends. As I began sorting, I liked the way the objects looked spread out on my light box. After hours of careful arranging, I took a picture. This photograph of odds and ends was the spark that helped inspire the first I Spy book! But that would take another 10 years.
In 1991, I collaborated with Jean Marzollo on I Spy: A Book of Picture Riddles. With the success of I Spy, I've had opportunities to visit schools and see firsthand how kids respond to my work. It occurred to me that subjects that have long fascinated me - science and visual perception - are of interest to kids, too. That led to my first two solo projects: A Drop of Water: A Book of Science and Wonder and Walter Wick's Optical Tricks.
When my third solo project, Can You See What I See?: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve debuted on the "New York Times" bestseller list in 2002, a new series of search-and-find puzzle books was born.
In all the years I've been doing photography, I've never had a more appreciative audience than kids. I suspect I'll be creating children's books for a long time to come. And it's exciting for me to have been involved in the design of the KidSpace Gallery at the Connecticut Science Center.