Joe del Tufo is a photographer, the business owner of Moonloop Photography, and has lived in Wilmington for 25 years. Read his story below as this week’s #PeopleofWilmDE!
“I grew up in Dover, and went to college at the University of Delaware. I spent some time in California before taking a job at DuPont which had me spend a lot more time in Wilmington. After a few years I ended up starting a design firm called Mobius New Media with Matt Urban and Barry Crell, who are both still active in Wilmington.
[I continue to choose Wilmington to work in because of the] opportunity and familiarity. Unlike most cities you can get to know the players in Wilmington pretty quickly. Despite being a relatively small city, it is full of talent, and an unusual amount of successful businesses. That has only improved over time, especially regarding the creative arts.
Here are 3 interesting facts about me:
- As a child I spent most of my time in a backyard forest and creek catching frogs, snakes, and large turtles that were abundant there. A lot of my interest in photography came from this.
- I used to be a scientist. I worked in a national lab in California and the Experimental Station in Wilmington.
- I’ve photographed over 1500 concerts.
[My favorite Wilmington attraction is] the Clifford Brown Music Festival. This is where I learned how to photograph people. I believe it’s the most amazing free festival, at least that I am aware of. Beyond the music, it is a great space for community, diversity and Wilmington at its best.
[What’s my ideal night out in Wilmington?] There are so many new and amazing spaces in Wilmington now, but I’d answer that by taking a walk down Market Street that would start at Chelsea for a beer and a snack, then a quick peek into Spaceboy Clothing to see what’s new (especially if I have an out-of-town friend along), a meal at La Fia, and then a show at The Grand or The Queen, depending on who is playing. It’s something you could have done a decade ago, and it’s still right up there with the best in town.
I think the time I spent working at the Grand Opera House (where Mobius New Media moved in 2007) connected me to a lot of Wilmingtonians. Many of Moonloop’s clients reside in Wilmington, and it has changed a lot in the 20+ years I’ve worked here. I have volunteered with Four Youth Productions, Arden Concert Gild, and I am a trustee at the Grand Opera House.
The quality of the arts in Wilmington is amazing, considering its size. Support it, enjoy it, and you will be rewarded for what it brings to your life. There are opportunities here for just about everyone if you are willing to put yourself out there and ask.
[My proudest moment as a Wilmingtonian was when] I did a TEDx Talk in 2015. It was incredibly challenging and made me think about both my life and the work I wanted to do. A lot of this was the location, as it took place at the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution. It was shortly after this that I decided to focus solely on photography.
It’s a cliche but that’s often why it’s true: it’s the relationships that matter. Never more true than it is in such a small state, and then amplified in the community in and around Wilmington. I have found some deep and unexpected friendships here that I am confident I would not have found in the bubble I lived in when I was younger. The many collaborations have also been incredibly rewarding, often with other creatives but also with groups, companies, and institutions willing to take a chance on my and our creativity.