About Me

“I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.�
- Mahatma Gandhi

I currently reside in Virginia, a nice place that is that is remarkably artist-friendly. I take up the camera as often as I can, which is unfortunately not even close to as often as I would like. Having gone through school with my two closest friends as shutterbugs, I suppressed the interest I had in photography and kept it to a minimum since I had no camera, which meant I spent most of initial contact in the darkroom developing prints of other people’s work. This also has help given me a real appreciation for traditional non-digital photography and the work that goes into it.

Through the years that followed, I shot with a variety of cameras, all within the budget category, and concentrated on seeing, framing, composition, and interaction while being very mindful of the prices of development. Gradually, as my circumstances improved, I was able to move into a higher grade of camera and started to get tapped more for shooting by people who had seen my work. This coincided around 1990,

with an increasing need for image content supporting other projects I had going on. In 1991, I picked up my first SLR, a used Nikon which led to a Nikon 6006 in 1995 and a Nikon D100 in 2002 with a Kodak DC 280 in there somewhere.

However, it is not the camera that makes the photographer so much as it is vision and experience. Learning to use a film as primary and a digital as a secondary in shooting weddings, and then more interchangeably based on what I was trying to do as well as budget led me to staying focused on what I could do to improve myself as opposed to equipment upgrades.

With that in mind, I expanded into more areas of photography from studio to location, from landscape to portrait, from industrial to glamor, and so on. This all tied in well with the image-dependent tasks I had on the table, as well as providing a creative outlet that was not as time-crushing as other pursuits, such as writing or painting. That is not to say I could not shoot for hours and hours, just that it is a passion I have a little more control over than others.

My Philosophy

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.� - Ansel Adams

Photography has gone through so many changes in my life time. My early experiences were shaped by staring at Minox cameras and reading of their use in World War II. Realizing that the hobby was beyond my reach, but not that of my two successive closest friends in Middle School and then High School, I observed and took careful shots with a Kodak Instamatic – experimenting with ideas and settings. I grew up when Life magazine ruled and National Geographic Explored, and I still have the 1967 Life Issues on the Six-Day War that were to inspired me to seek a degree in Photojournalism years later.

The idea of bringing truth back for people who had to vote on what you were witnessing, of being a neutral party in the midst of chaos, of being like the Watcher from the Marvel Universe was incredibly appealing and clearly naïve. But back in the late 60s and early 70s, most folks saw photos as truth even if they were not allowed in court, and we trusted them more than paintings, clearly not the truth. The irony is the before cameras, in a sense painting was truth.

Now, no one trusts a photo as we have learned that photos are made, are created just as paintings were. Even more ironic is that the ultra-realism in painting so in vogue today may be more honest than a photograph as we realize that all truth is tempered by perspective. We are moving along a path where visual truth becomes more elusive and more effective. Unchained by literality, the artist, the photographer is now able to say, “This is my truth as I have seen it, felt it and captured it� while the viewer can then access the truth that lies beyond the purely visual.

Now, no one trusts a photo as we have learned that photos are made, are created just as paintings were. Even more ironic is that the ultra-realism in painting so in vogue today may be more honest than a photograph as we realize that all truth is tempered by perspective. We are moving along a path where visual truth becomes more elusive and more effective. Unchained by literality, the artist, the photographer is now able to say, “This is my truth as I have seen it, felt it and captured it� while the viewer can then access the truth that lies beyond the purely visual.

A friend of mine was pining over the absence of wizardry decades before the big H showed up. I advised him to look at photography and one other profession because in many ways, a photographer is like a wizard with power over our perceptions, our self-image, and our emotions. While I admit that the magic in photography is metaphorical, I submit that capturing a side of someone that they never knew existed, creating a bedside artifact that helps us remember the lost ones that we knew, or practicing photographic therapy as refined by photographers like Rolando Gomez is perhaps somewhat akin to mind reading, time travel and healing. I suppose that as a philosophy on photography, I have come to feel that photography is far more an art than a record taking technology, and put forth that even when you try to sterilize it, art keeps creeping in.

My Equipment

“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.� - Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photography is such an amazing blend of disciplines, or at least it seems that way to me. I have great respect for all manner of artistic pursuits, but they each seem to call for a slightly different set of meta-skills and proficiencies. I do not have the technical background and experience to speak on a wide range cameras.

I respected Nikon, enough to plunk down the cash for a used Nikon SLR while I worked at Aetna, and since then it has been a trend. When it came time to step up my game I picked up a Nikon 6006. Later, after much shopping and fretting, I picked up a Kodak DC280, which was my first foray into the digital world. After even more shopping and fretting, I picked up a Nikon D100 as a backup for my wedding work.

Generally, I pick up lenses as I go and almost always get a battery pack and an adapter so I do not have to worry too much about power. I prefer CompactFlash cards, as they are bigger and easier for me to hold and find. Currently, I shoot far more digital than film, but the project determines what is needed. I prefer to work on location, so I am always putting together mobile equipment. This often leads me to build pieces of equipment and sets as I plan out shoots. Towards this end, I highly recommend The How to Build Your Own Photographic Equipment Book, which is a great way to get started.

I used to have a studio in Rhode Island for about 4 years, but have not invested in one since I left New England almost a decade ago. Just a matter of the time I have to use a studio has decreased, which makes the expense of it impractical, but not a day goes by that I do not miss having the space.