For the past couple of years I had set my sights upon returning back to Minnesota.  I had posted about it numerous times and last year, it actually happened. When I say return, that’s because when I was an Active Duty Marine, I was stationed in Minneapolis for almost 4 years.  

You see, living there was a bit magical.  I grew up listening to Prince, and Morris Day & The Time albums with my older brother, so being able to see places that they were at in the movie, “Purple Rain” made me feel like a giddy kid again.  While I was there I also had the opportunity to spend some time with the Minnesota Vikings and made a lot of great friends.

Fast forward 20 years later, I’m now a well established fitness photographer, and came back to Minnesota last year.  I had the honor of working with two amazing fitness athletes. Both of these clients came recommended by other Minnesotans that I’ve worked and become acquainted with via social media.

My first athlete was Taylor Salewske.  This lady is so inspirational! She was recommended to me from my client Marissa.  Marissa and Taylor both told me about her transformation story, and anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE a fitness transformation story.  I love hearing about the struggles that people have gone through, and overcame by making fitness the catalyst that projects them towards a new journey in life and the fulfillment it gives individuals.  I’ll actually let her tell her own story if you decide to ask her.

Here are some images that we captured at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis with my friend Ryan Fonkert assisting me.  


We began the shoot doing some fashion looks, then turned it towards fitness.  I’m proud of Taylor, and now she’s off to bigger things in Phoenix, AZ as the Editor-In-Chief for the FITPosium Online Education Network.


My second athlete is Kelsey Ellis…

...this lady is definitely leading the way in Minnesota as a trainer!  Now you say, “How so?!?” and I answer with her passion to ensure that Minnesota fitness is put further on the map and recognized as a powerhouse state for fitness athletes.  From what I’ve witnessed, she’s unselfish with her time, to her clients. Kelsey was highly recommended to me by a long time fitness athlete and makeup artist Melissa, whom also lives in Minnesota.  

Here are some of the images we captured together at Lake Nokomis...Again, thank you to my friend Ryan Fonkert for the assist!


The one thing that Kelsey, Melissa, and I continuously spoke of was building Minnesota up and making it something spectacular for fitness athletes.  I’m going back there again this year to help get things moving in the right direction. As a Marine of 20+ years, and as a a proven communicator, I’ve learned and developed a work ethic that’s unparalleled to my peers.  For me, and my business “MikeCon Photography”, it’s all about the athletes and ensuring that they get quality work on a consistent basis.

Kelsey and I were texting back and forth last night and the biggest thing that made me start back to blogging and pushing out this message were her words, “I wanna make MN big too!  I know I can do it!”. That to me spoke volumes, and awoke my motivational spark. I guess some part of me began to feel like nobody else was truly caring about their photos, or promoting all of the hard work that they’ve accomplished in their fitness journey in order to motivate others.  I’ve unfortunately met others who are just fitness trainers/instructors that really don’t care about their people, and are just in it for a quick paycheck, or some title to validate their ego. Kelsey is not like that at all! That selfless attitude to bring up her people in her state is something that I love!

Contact me today if you’re a fitness athlete in Minnesota, and let’s build something special together.  With all those beautiful lakes, fields, farm houses, and city culture, I know we can make something amazing!!  I’ll be flying in on the evening of the 25th of May and shooting with athletes from the 26th-27th of May.  

Mike Conley @mikeconphoto