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.
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 and began learning how to document real life. I wanted to apply the skills I had learned in the corporate world directing shoots for clients and use them to create 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.