Cliff Roles is a man of many enthusiasms and accomplishments. Sarasotans began getting to know him 11 years ago as he made his mark in the arts and social scene as an award winning theater actor and tuxedo-clad emcee for the season’s must-attend events. His popular daily radio show aired for more than four years, and during that time he interviewed 2,500 guests. For the past five years, Roles has spent much of his time behind the lens. In his quest for the “it” photo, he chronicles the festivities at gala fundraisers privately and as Scene Magazine’s event photographer, or works more personally with individual portraits and for families commemorating engagements, weddings, anniversaries, parties, babies or pets.
His passion for photography was further fueled by his trip last June to the Grand Canyon to document Nik Wallenda’s historic crossing. Not only did that ignite a desire to do more photojournalism, it sparked a creative impulse to record the Earth’s natural and man-made beauty. As someone who is continually creating new “roles” for himself, his goal is to shoot “photos that matter” and expand his photography nationally.
Roles began his foray onto a broader stage in summer 2013 during a two-month trek across Southern and Eastern Europe where he photographed Sarasota Orchestra’s new artistic director Anu Tali in her homeland Estonia and traveled into Israel for the Jewish Federation. Along the way, he delighted his 4,500 Facebook friends with photos ranging from glorious scenery to his gastronomic adventures.
A native of the U.K., Roles learned the meaning of living life on a larger stage after promoting 130 rock and pop artists for 16 years, working with luminaries like Elton John, Bon Jovi and Celine Dion. Roles emigrated to the U.S. to be with his wife, Maria, whose support he prizes, and he enjoys sharing Sarasota’s many pleasures with her and his Cockapoo, Sam. He recently became a U.S. citizen.