Wendy Willis, Intrepid Photographer & Conservationist

A quasi-native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, I am a descendant of passionate, strong-willed Mexican women and outspoken, rednecks of Louisiana.   From both parents I inherited a radical entrepreneurial spirit; for almost ten years I was a third generation restaurateur and co-owner of Cristina’s Café with my lovely sister Crissy. Following this exploit we opened the Sexi-Mexi Burrito Bar where I act as the “not so silent partner with strong opinions.”

Currently, I call home Linden, Virginia, where I am Deputy Director of international programs for American Bird Conservancy.

My exploits in the world of photography began in a Seventh Day Adventist high school darkroom in 1998;  the concept “Ojo Loco” was christened (no pun intended) after the first black and white photo that I printed in high school.

I witnessed the transition from slide film to the advent and evolution of digital SLR’s.  As such, I was able to experience the best of both worlds!

Professionally, I have taught photography courses to national park visitors for Canon, published wildlife images, photographed weddings and framed sumptuous food for my café as well as other food-related businesses in California and Virginia. I continue crafting photographic images of the colorful imagery that surrounds me.

Synonymous to my life, my style and approach to photography has evolved.  Currently, I specialize in the artistic and dramatic use of natural lighting to capture images of food, people and places throughout Latin America where I travel for work.

During my graduate degree in Environment & Community from Humboldt State University, I immersed myself in the culture of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains to better understand the political ecology of coffee cultivation.  I had the opportunity to photograph the sensual nature of Jamaicans, the colorful foodscape and all things related to coffee culture.