More "About Me"

 

Most people who hire me really only care about the pictures I make and they don't care about all the work I did before, or who I studied with or any of that. But some people are like me - I really do want to know how people got where they are and why they do what they do. So for those who are as curious as I am, here's a lot about me.

Background

I've had three enormously fortunate careers.  I started my professional life as a commercial copywriter writer.  Somehow I wound up writing two radio programs (one hosted by Bill Cullen and the other by Hugh Downs - anyone remember him?) . That lead to a lot of great corporate work.  I won some awards and moved up to become a creative director.  For about twenty  years I was a free lancer and wrote and directed dozens of films and videos for clients like Apple, Microsoft, Visa, Mercedes Benz and the US Air Force. I won some more awards and traveled the world.  Then I became a marketing executive and helped a bunch of super-bright guys (yes, all guys) start technology companies.  That was amazing and fun but I wanted something of my own -something that didn't demand investor funds and VCs.  So I started a little food company.  Ciolo was its name.  We made pesto and spreads and were distributed to markets nationwide. The growth and success of that venture was both remarkable and lucky. I sold it in 2010.

Becoming a Personal Documentary Photographer

A year or two before I sold Ciolo I had that moment - I looked at my little dogs one morning and realized – they just wouldn’t be around forever. Of course I knew that in my mind, but in that moment I realized it in my heart.  When I stopped crying, my first thought was, how do I put this time in a bottle? How do I save these moments so that I can have them even when these pups are long gone?  The idea came to me that I needed to make “A day in the life of Oboe and Cello.” Photos that I could turn into a book that would last as long as we would. I didn't know this was an existing field of photography and I didn't really know how to go about it.  I just knew I wanted to do it. 

 

While I had been involved  with photography professionally and personally for years, I had never really taken many pictures of every-day life.  The importance had escaped me.  

 

Then I remembered that when I was eleven years old, I had spent months taking Polaroids and finding old photos and combining them into a book that I gave my parents as an anniversary gift.  Incredibly enough, I still had the book. Buried in the bottom of a box of long-forgotten memorabilia, its pages all dry and crumbly, was a visual essay telling the story of a day in the life of my parents and their children - my brother, my sister and me.

 

I wondered, who wouldn't want a book like this?

I put aside my infra-red cameras and alternative photo process work;  I stopped taking business clients  began learning how to document real life.  I hoped to apply the skills I had learned in the corporate world directing shoots for clients and use them to create visual to projects for families of all kinds. And so, I began learning.  And studying.  And practicing.  And practicing some more.

 

Many good photographers today are self-taught.  That’s not something I would claim. I studied one on one with wonderful photographers and teachers.  There were many but most important to me were the terrifically talented Chris Corradino, the super-teacher/photo-artist Robert Kittila – and most of all the best family documentary photographer of our time, Kirsten Lewis.  I think about these artists and teachers before every shoot.  I thank them.  And mostly I thank my small but wonderful family…my marvelously generous friends and the fabulous clients who invite me into their lives and homes and hearts.