Who am I? That’s a big question. I have been putting off writing this ‘bio’ for months because I don’t like talking about myself.
I am not shy by any means but I’d much rather be out shooting photos and telling stories than writing a synopsis of myself.
I don’t take myself too seriously, I love my wife, I enjoy craft beer and I never over look an opportunity to learn something new. I take the work I do very seriously but I approach it with a deep sense of humility. I am a perfectionist and driven to maximize my opportunities, both big and small. I have built a career on making big pictures out of tiny assignments. I tell my staff on a regular basis that they need to treat every assignment like it is slotted for the front page. Too many visual opportunities get wasted because photographers prejudge an assignment as insignificant. I love the big assignment. In baseball terms I want the ball hit to me with the game on the line. But I take much more pride in finding a strong photos from assignments others think are devoid of visual promise.
My late parents were both artists which accounts for my artistic acumen, but it is my engineer brother who got me hooked on photography. Our relationship was the classic big brother, little brother dynamic. Jeff, who is 8-years older, led and I followed. I wanted to do everything he did. He was a photographer in high school and built a darkroom in our parent’s basement. I was fascinated by the form and function of the enlarger. There was something magical about watching a print appear in the tray full of Dektol.
While he was away at college I asked my mom if we could set up the darkroom so she could teach me to print. Since she was headed out the door to the grocery store she said we would do it as soon as she got back. By the time her Datsun 210 station wagon rolled up the driveway I had already mixed all the chemistry and was making my first prints from some old negatives Jeff had left behind.
In retrospect I haven’t stopped learning or pushing the envelope since I slipped that first piece of Kodak polycontrast paper into the developer.