Shooting for a legacy

April Kroenke returned home to start a photography business, a passion that began when she was a member of the Iola Square B 4-H Club.

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June 30, 2021 - 10:11 AM

April Kroenke has just opened her new business, April Kroenke Photography, on the southeast corner of the Iola square. Kroenke specializes in multiple photo styles and is certified by the Professional Photographers of America. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Hometown girl April Kroenke is back.

After years overseas and criss-crossing the country, 42-year-old April Kroenke has returned home to launch a photo studio, April Kroenke Photography.

Her passion for taking photographs began early, clear back when she was a member of the local Square B 4-H Club.

And growing up on her family’s dairy north of Iola provided an opportunity to capture images of bucket calves, market hogs and riding horses.

However, what really launched her shooting career, she suspected, was traveling to the Kansas State Fair, not for photos, but instead fashion.

“While we were there, Neal McCoy was one of the artists performing on the stage … and I got an amazing shot of him,” Kroenke explained.

“That was kind of the catalyst for going on,” and making photography her life’s work.

AFTER 4-H, Kroenke became involved in high school journalism, yearbook and other related activities, such that by the time she got to Pittsburg State University, she decided to major in graphic design with an emphasis in photography.

“My now-husband, if he couldn’t find me on campus, he knew to go to the dark room,” she laughed.

“I always smelled like fixer and developer, and just loved doing black and white film.”

Kroenke’s Pitt State connections would also pay further dividends, such as when she scored her first wedding shoot thanks to the Dean of Education, whose son was getting married.

SPEAKING of weddings, Kroenke would go on to marry her IHS sweetheart, Scott, who serves in the Army as an engineer officer.

Together they have Austin, now 19, and Jessica, almost 17, and began raising their family while stationed overseas, while Kroenke was still pursuing photography.

For instance, while in Hohenfels, Germany, she shot tons of photos on the base, focusing especially on youth sports.

“It’s like its own little city,” Kroenke said of the military installation.

After returning to the states in 2006, the family then bounced around to Missouri, Texas, Oregon and then back to Texas again.

All the while, Kroenke continued to do photo-shoots and transform rooms of her garages and houses into studio-spaces.

FLASH to May 29, 2021, when Kroenke and her family returned home.

“It’s a little surreal,” she said, “but everybody has been so welcoming and supportive.”

“I’m enjoying it, because it’s been 18 years since I lived in Iola.”

As far as her goals are concerned, “I want to come home and provide the ability for somebody to come in and have beautiful portraits of them, individually, or of their family,” she said.

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