I got my first real camera in 1980. Film was the only medium in those days, and all the setting were manual, so I had to learn Photography 101. In this age of Photoshop and digital “point and shoot” cameras. I still prefer to get the picture right when you shoot it, rather than creating in post production.
In the ’90’s i got serious about photography and decided to pursue it as a career. I started out shooting girlfriends in my house with a basic flood light set-up. I attended a trade show in NYC as a vendor, and had all my gear with me. After the event was over I packed everything on a cart and went to get my car, leaving my helper to watch everything. Well, apparently, they weren’t watching, because when I returned, my camera bag was gone. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because the insurance money enabled my to buy a newer and camera, as well as a basic strobe lighting set-up.
That incident was what turned me into a professional photographer. With the newer equipment, my photography became better, in fact I was able to get published in magazines from that point on. While I was much better, I still wasn’t able to convert the images I saw in my head, into those same pictures on the page. I was reading lighting books and shooting tons of film, but I still wasn’t happy with the results I was getting.
At that point, I began looking around for some type of class to get me over the hump. One day I logged onto the Dynalite website – I was using Dynalite lighting equipment – and a pop-up, um… popped up. It was advertising the Fantasy Foto Camp, put on by 25 year Playboy photographer, David Mecey. This sounded like exactly what I had been searching for. I contacted them immediately, and actually got a response from David, himself. I told him what I was looking for, and he assured me that I could get what I needed from the camp.
The camp was 3 days in California. The first day was an couple hour orientation of who David was, and what we would be learning. After lunch we headed to a location in the Hollywood Hills where the students would be a “fly on the wall” to watch David shoot with various lighting set-ups, as well as natural light, fully describing the “how’s and why’s”, as he went along. When that day was finished I truly felt like I gotten my money’s worth, and I hadn’t even taken a picture. And, we still had 2 days left.
For the next couple days, we shot on location, inside and outside, as well as at the Playboy Studio in LA. When I got there on Friday, I could take a picture. When I left on Monday morning, I was a photographer.
At that point in time my day job was as a Web Master, building and maintaining 16 websites for a magazine publisher in Paramus, New Jersey. I had a 2500 sq.ft. studio where I continued shooting, when I wasn’t at the job. In the mid-2000’s the Internet changed, and my company decided to outsource their websites. I was offered the job of Editor to create a new magazine. Funny thing was; I didn’t have any idea what an editor did. Luckily, I’ve always been good at jumping into the deep end and then learning how to swim.
For over 15 years I traveled all over the country shooting for the magazines. From Hollywood to Florida to Chicago to Vegas, and even Jamaica, it was non-stop flights and shoots.
So, for the next year I worked the new title, until I was given editorship of a couple of the bigger magazines I had been shooting for. By that point, the writing was on the wall… due to the Internet, magazines were quickly becoming dinosaurs. As circulation shrunk, so did the budgets, to the point where I was shooting 3 complete magazines, cover-to-cover, each month.
Ultimately, that company closed down, so here I am… I’ve restarted my Web Development business, specializing in SEO, but my real love is pointing my camera at things to create art; whether it’s an interesting face, or a beautiful sunset, I just love the process.