Roy Inman began his “checkered photography career,” as he is fond of calling it, shooting freelance for the Kansas City Kansan newspaper while he was in junior high school. All through high school, Inman shot for school publications and continued to freelance to help pay for his car, dates, photo equipment, and to help out with expenses at home.
Inman’s undergraduate days at the University of Kansas were paid for almost entirely by freelancing, but now he was shooting for clients such as Time-Life publications, the Associated Press, the Topeka Capital- Journal, The Kansas City Star, and commercial accounts. After graduation he spent two years as a staff photographer at The Kansas City Star, then, realizing he had much to learn about photojournalism even after that real-world experience, Inman enrolled as a graduate student at the Missouri School of Journalism where he earned an M.A. in 1969.
Then followed a 17-year stint at The Star, this time as director of photography for Star Magazine. A mid-life crisis found Inman and his family (wife Barbara and two children) heading to Colorado to open a wholewheat bakery in Denver. After nearly three years of trying to live the good life in the Rockies, the family returned in 1985 to Kansas City, where Inman began his full-time freelance photography business. His clients have included The New York Times, Midwest Living, AT&T, The Hartford, General Electric, Sprint, and scores of others. Inman has also photographed several books and calendars depicting Kansas City subjects.
In 1994, Inman began a six-year project to document the restoration of Union Station, Kansas City, the second largest rail terminal in America. During that time period, he shot more than 70,000 pictures and spent more than 20,000 hours recording one of the largest restoration projects in the United States, primarily on a volunteer basis. Many of his photographs can be found on the walls of the restored Union Station. Inman’s photography now leans toward exhibit work, various types of manipulated photographs and Internet creations.