Dennis Cotton cuts a piece of the net after the Ripon College men’s basketball team won the Midwest Conference Tournament Championship in 2017.
Dennis Cotton cuts a piece of the net after the Ripon College men’s basketball team won the Midwest Conference Tournament Championship in 2017.

   Fourteen years ago, Dennis Cotton attended a Ripon College basketball game with a camera and little knowledge on how to use it.

   He’s the first to admit, the result was nothing to write home about.

   “The pictures weren’t very good,” the Ripon resident said.

   So Cotton kept going back, trying to improve.

   “It just progressed from there to learn and try to do better,” he said. “Just like anything else, whatever you’re doing you should just learn about it and try to get better at it.”

   Little did Cotton know, he would become “team photographer” and more of mainstay with the Ripon men’s basketball team than the players who play on it.

   The Ripon resident often can be found at practice and attends almost all Red Hawk games, home and away, along with his wife, Georjean.

   “I like doing it; I’m having fun,” Cotton said. “I like the camaraderie with the guys and coaches.”

   He also noted that parents appreciate it.

   “They use the pictures, they pull the pictures off [the website], they save them for their kids and make scrapbooks and keep a history of all of this,” Cotton said.

   Because of that gratitude, he gladly offers his photos for free — that and the way he started.

   “In the beginning, the pictures weren’t good enough to charge for and then as you go along they got better,” Cotton said. “... [I don’t charge for them now] because they appreciate it, so I pay [it forward].”

Read the full story in the March 8, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.