I wasn't raised by a pack of roaming photographers as one of their own. There was no burst of light and divine inspiration leading me to photography. No death bed promise to a loved one about picking up a camera and continuing the good fight. No chance meeting with Ansel Adams or Scavullo from which to draw inspiration. No years spent at a university in studious pursuit of photography's golden rule. It just happened. By chance. Through a friend who had a camera:
"Here's how you meter, it's OK you can borrow it for the weekend."
So cool. I wonder if I ever thanked him properly? The minute I picked up the camera I knew one thing for sure - I was hooked.
I scrimped and saved to buy my first camera. Then came photo books and lots of reading and experimentation. The nasty business of paying the bills tried to get in the way, but almost from the beginning I found a way to make my new found passion pay for itself. My life had new meaning, direction and purpose. There would be no dabbling or trying - I was determined to be a photographer.
Those first few years were kind of crazy, I took on jobs I probably had no business doing. You shoot cars, right? Oh yeah, I'm a car shooting kind of guy. Rent's due. I'm hungry. Damn. Now what? Can I do this? I can do this. How hard can it be? Who cares if it's just one big mirror with multiple angles? I'll rent some more lights, get some big reflector cards, and lay out a ton of black material. Wow. It worked. No sleep, a little stress, but the client's jazzed! Now what? Food? Of course. I love food; that's true, but isn't food supposed to be kind of hard to shoot? No matter, when do we start?
25 Years Later
After twenty-five years and thousands of shoots under my belt now, I find myself a seasoned veteran. My goals are still the same:
- treat every job as if it's your first and your last...and never be afraid to experiment
- to try something new, to push yourself to be a more learned artist
- to listen to your heart and your inner voice.