They’re not on Kansas anymore

Sydney Raman

Taking pictures for big names like Versace and Louis Vuitton was once a career direction photographer David Weiner would have never thought of. Growing up in a place like Salina, Kansas, and successfully making a well known career in such a harsh industry is almost unheard of. 

As a 2012 Salina Central High School alumnus, David Weiner is a freelance photographer and creative producer. Weiner has worked on campaigns for companies like Versace, Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and even owns his own production studio with his girlfriend. 

Weiner hasn’t always been interested in photography, and realized in college that he would have to do more to get himself out there. 

¨I didn’t get into photography until freshman year of college when I quickly learned that if you want to be a journalist in the ‘real world’ you’ve got to be able to do everything,̈ said Weiner. 

Weiner attended Emerson College and studied journalism, but the transition was definitely hard. From a small town to the busy city, a lot can change. In this, Weiner gained a sense of independence. 

¨I was so stoked to meet new people and venture off on my own in a new city. I didn’t have any family or friends on the East Coast so I definitely felt like I was on my own which was hard, but gave me the opportunity to come more into my own and become who I am today. The move from Boston to New York was an even bigger transition because I didn’t have the title of ‘student’ to fall back on,̈ said Weiner. 

The move for Weiner became something that only strengthened his career. The stigma around small towns is that not much can ever come from it, especially fame. 

Teacher Ben Rohrer believes that it all comes from within and hard work. Rohrer saw this immediately when Wiener was his student. 

¨A lot of students have problems with being secure with themselves and being confident in there own skin,̈ said Rohrer. With Weiner it was a different story. 

Weiner explains that when people heard about how he was from a small town, it catches their attention. 

“What I’ve noticed consistently throughout my journey after high school is that people love to root for the underdog and me just mentioning in passing that I’m from a small town in Kansas immediately catches peoples attention and often places me in the category of ‘underdog’ in their minds. I think it’s been advantageous coming from a small town largely because it’s instilled a humbleness and genuine curiosity in me that’s pushed me to take hold of all of the opportunities that come my way. If you grow up having access to everything that a big city has to offer, it becomes easy to lose sight of all the amazing things in front of you. I’ve met a lot of jaded New York teenagers,” said Weiner. 

Despite being a small town Salina now has lots of exposure and new opportunities. However like Weiner and Claybaugh, breaking that small town mold might just land you somewhere that you would never expect. 

Tyrees Allen (actor): Graduated from central in 1972, graduated from Marymount college in salina with a degree in theatre arts, acted in hit shows like CSI Miami and Bones, 

Cassie Claybaugh (model): Wilhelmina model, models a variety of clothing brands, graduated from Central in 2012