Carroll County Times
Carroll County Lifestyles

An Eye for Art: Sykesville photographer is ‘happiest when ... holding my camera’

Jack Rinaldi is a photographer living in Sykesville. When he was about 7 years old, he watched his sister perform a color guard routine. His mother, Cindy Rinaldi, lent him her camera. “At first it was just a way to pass the time. When the photographs were printed and came back, I could tell which ones I liked and which ones I did not. I noticed that I liked images taken from a different angle or a different space.” Rinaldi said.

In middle school, he tried out different arts such as music and theater but went back to photography. During his senior year of high school at Marriotts Ridge High in Howard County, he got a film camera and rekindled his love of photography.


After Rinaldi graduated from high school, he attended Towson University. He did not declare a major right away but took classes in theater, music and visual arts. “I discovered that I was the happiest when I am holding my camera,” Rinaldi said.

As a result, he decided to major in the arts with a concentration in photography. Rinaldi took classes in art, film photography, digital photography, photography concepts, and exhibit design and photography formats.


The film photography classes required using the old-style 35 mm cameras. He learned how to develop film rolls, and how to edit the photos he printed using an enlarger. He also learned how to “dodge and burn,” which is making a certain spot on a photograph lighter or darker.

The exhibit design class was on the related arts course list. “The class focused on creating an exhibit for people to view your work. We learned it is important to focus on what you want the viewer to see when they enter. It also included what methods could be used to move the visitor through the exhibit,” Rinaldi said.

Jack Rinaldi with two of his photographs, “Smith Island” and “Covid Light #4.” Lyndi McNulty photograph

“The photography formats class concentrated on different types of projects we could do. Advertisement photography, marketing photography, modeling photography and magazine photography were included,” Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi created a photographic series for one of his final projects at Towson University. “During the pandemic, I was thinking about being isolated inside. Even though I was taking online classes and some hybrid classes, I was still closed off. I imagined me looking through a window and outside looks bright and shiny. In the photo series the window gets smaller and smaller, and the inside of the room is getting darker and darker. Eventually, I added artificial light to the photos instead of natural light. It showed that I created my own light, and I was more drawn to it. I could control the artificial light, but I could not control the outside light,” Rinaldi said.

He took half his classes during the pandemic so many were a different format than traditional classes.

Rinaldi graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in arts and science.

Rinaldi has taken many photographs of landscapes during visits to different places. He took 500 photographs in four hours when he was in Ocean City. The photos capture the city and the towns that surround it.

He has started to create his own still lifes. “One of the things I retained from art classes was working with my hands. It gave me the skills to make still life images out of everyday items. Then I photograph them,” Rinaldi said.


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The County Cork Wine Pub in Eldersburg is currently exhibiting one of Rinaldi’s photographs.

“Time keeps moving forward, Rinaldi said. “Things are always changing. Photographs can help us look at the past and accept that it has happened and will never happen again, but you can keep moving forward.”

“I love to photograph nature and landscapes. If I take a photo and come back another time and take another one at the exact same place, some of it will be different,” Rinaldi said.

“I also love to photograph the clouds and thunderstorms. The odds of the clouds forming the same shape again is astronomical. Each cloud is unique,” Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi plans to join the Carroll County Camera Club and the Carroll County Arts Council. He is also preparing to sell his photographs at area arts and craft shows, galleries and restaurants.

Rinaldi can be contacted at and


Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmo’s Art in Westminster. Her column, An Eye for Art, appears regularly in Life & Times.