What was it about Cheri Lomonte that prompted her to fall in love with taking pictures? She picked up her first camera in college, but photography didn’t become a passion until she attended a photographic workshop in Taos, New Mexico, in 2004. And it was then that her life took a dramatic turn.
Since then, Cheri has taken tens of thousands of photographs of images of Mary and her Son Jesus. And along the way, she has produced a considerable portfolio of beautiful work featuring botanical and nature subjects, as well as evocative scenes—near and far.
But let’s let Cheri tell you her story:
When I was thirteen, my parents took me to Europe. It was then that my love affair with Rome began; from 8th grade, it became my plan to spend a year of college abroad.
Following college graduation, I earned an MBA and worked for a time in Paris. Now, that is a good life!
My middle years were spent raising children. I’m not sure who had a better time. I told my sons as they got older that the world was their oyster, to get out and explore it. They took my advice and spent high school years with Rotary and college years in Europe. I was a stay-at-home mom; although, I always had a small business on the side. (I love to work!)
During the past 25 years, even I have been surprised at where God has put me. Several years ago, I shot a photo documentary in Taos, New Mexico, on La Conquistadora, the oldest existing statue of the Madonna in the United States. While I was taking pictures, people kept coming up to me and telling me their stories about Mary. How, through her intervention, their prayers had been answered. During that week, four different people told me to write a book about her. And before the week was over, I had enough stories to do it! And with that, my life took a dramatic turn.
In 2005, I published The Healing Touch of Mary. It is a book filled with amazing stories of faith, as well as many of my photographs of Mary. In 2009, the book was translated into Spanish and published by the Paulists under the title Experiencias de vida con la Virgen Maria.
Soon after, I began to realize that more people needed to “hear” these amazing stories. In 2006, I produced a half-hour Catholic radio program—Mary’s Touch. Starting small, I broadcasted the show weekly, coaxing other stations to play it along the way. Now you can listen to it from over 150 stations across North America and around the world. In a thirteen-year span, Mary’s Touch earned four Gabriel awards for the best radio program in North America. We also accepted a Clarion award for developing the Frontline Faith MP3 player, an innovative pocket-sized device that brings spiritual nourishment to our service men and women and veterans around the world. The Frontline Faith player provides more than 7 hours of Christian audio. Through the generosity of so many who have donated to this nonprofit work, more than 55,000 Frontline Faith players have reached the hands of our troops.
I believe we always know when its time to exit—and in mid-2016, I decided it was time to leave the broadcasting business and get back to my first loves: my family and my photography. And so, here I am!
In addition to photographing the Madonna—one of my favorite subjects, I have published two books for other authors.
Last fall my husband, a Sicilian, and I took an apartment in Florence, Italy, so I could photograph the HUNDREDS of Madonnas there. If I wasn’t in Rome in the sixties for a weekend, I was in Florence. And yes, you can still see where the great 1967 flood took place.
In addition to photographing in Italy, I have also photographed in Cuba (2012) and other parts of Europe (2013-15, 2018), the Middle East, and South and Central America. The opportunity to travel this beautiful world—wow! What a blessing! Yet, despite all my wonderful experiences, I still call myself an amateur photographer because, in French, the word amateur means love, lover.
And indeed, I am. I LOVE what I do!
More About Cheri Lomonte
Cheri is currently working on a new book featuring her botanical images. She and her husband, Tony, reside near Austin, Texas. They enjoy traveling and spending time with their family, which includes thirteen precious grandchildren.
Cheri’s work is in holdings of several international organizations and many private collections. Her photographs appear on the covers of several books. Numerous online and print publications also feature her photographs.