Viewfinder: Leaving behind ‘Guys in Ties’

Daniel Acker willfully gave up a coveted staff photographer position in New York City to relocate to rural Illinois. Life is anything but simple in his town of 800, he says. But he doesn’t regret the decision to train his camera on Main Street instead of Wall Street.


Daniel Acker: I took an entry-level photography class in my junior year of high school and really enjoyed it.  I was set to graduate early, and would only have had to attend high school for half of my senior year.  So I told my guidance counselor that after I graduated I was going to take some classes at the community college because they had a photo program. She told me there was a new state program where you could actually go to community college the whole year, and it would count for high school, and the state would pay for it, books and everything.  So I ended up doing that. And then I became good friends with the head of the department and head facilities manager, and they became mentors to me and I learned a lot.  I ended up being there two more years and then I went to Rochester Institute of Technology, where I got my BFA in photojournalism. I graduated in 2000 and then I moved to New York and started working at Bloomberg News.  I worked there for 10 years, until 2010.


Daniel Acker is a contract photojournalist for Bloomberg and a freelance editorial and corporate photographer based in the rural community of Tiskilwa, Illinois, two hours outside of Chicago.  

Acker lives on Main Street with his wife and two daughters in a 135-year-old house with a to-do list he'll never quite complete.

After spending his youth in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2000, Acker spent a decade as a staff photographer for Bloomberg in New York City.  He relocated to Illinois in 2010 to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle in the country.

He serves as a trustee on the village board of his community of 800, and while life is as busy as ever, he savors the quiet moments on rural backroads as often as he's able. 

Acker's Instagram feed (@daniel_acker) contains images made outside of his editorial work, which can be viewed at