I am Mary Ellen Chiles! Hello!
Thanks for visiting. I have worked jobs ranging from Christmas elf at the original Bass Pro Shops, to a volunteer keeping the silence at a French monastery.
However, I wrote and took photos along the way.
Now I am doing both as a career!
Whether you are just visiting, have hired me, have bought a print - or even just encouraged me - I am glad to have you in my corner. I really appreciate it!
I am a freelance writer and photographer, with a day job as a school photographer. I recently started a business called Chiles Creative LLC.
I focus on feature and public relations projects in my writing life. I worked in hospitality for years and make people feel at ease, and I feel this lends itself to journalism and PR. People tend to tell me their stories, and it's so fun writing those stories as a job. Check out some recent pieces here.
Years ago I said - while running to take a sunrise photo in Alaska - "I'm gonna get fired for taking pictures!" A colleague said, "Why don't you just be a photographer?" Now I take photos for political campaigns and enjoy using my talents to help candidates and causes! I also photograph families and individuals. I like to capture your essence in candid pictures. Take a look at some recent work!
I completed a Master’s of Arts in creative nonfiction writing at Missouri State University in 2018. My thesis is a collection of essays based on working at fly-in fishing lodges in Alaska, which I did for five summers in my 20s. After graduate school, I worked at a lodge in Bettles, Alaska, which is 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I hosted guests traveling to the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Kobuk Valley National Park. In winter 2019 I returned to work as a northern lights guide and see how I can handle winter. (Hint: go skiing!)
I am a credentialed photographer for the Springfield Cardinals and Missouri State baseball teams. I do this less because I want to focus on paid work, but on occasion, I post photos, essays, and player interviews at my site Ol' Abner. I also photograph Missouri State soccer when I can!
I sell images here on this site and at Best Northern Lights.
Thanks for stopping by! Say hey.