I was never really good at drawing portraits. I could never get the eyes just right. There's something about the moment between expressions when we are willing to show a side of ourselves we wish we could wear all the time. That little glimmer in the eye. Something pure. Something honest.
When I first held a camera, I knew I connected with a piece of myself. The first real moment I captured, I knew I connected with a part of someone's story. Photography to me is more than craft, art, or even passion. Photography for me is a way of seeing.
But how did I go from a kid with a camera to a photographer? I think it all started with my first camera. It was your typical Cannon film camera. Nothing fancy, it was just an automatic film camera with a flash that I could reload with more film.
I took pictures of everything! Family, friends at school, my dog, straight into the sun; you think of it, I took a picture of it. To my disappointment, the pictures did not turn out the way I saw it. There was a huge gap between what I saw through the camera and what the camera saw.
Enter my aunt. She took amazing landscapes and wildlife. I knew I wanted to make my photos look like hers. So I asked. That’s when I learned about Manual controls in a camera and the world of digital photography. I could control the Exposure, Aperture, ISO, and Shutter Speed.
My 2nd camera was a Canon Bridge. I loved that I could take pictures and see immediately how they turned out. This helped me cover a lot of ground and bridge the gap between what I saw and what my camera saw. But there was still something missing.
I was fortunate enough to start my journey during the internet age which meant I could learn from some of the greats like Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, and Peter Lendbergh. But my biggest inspiration came from the legendary artist Rembrandt and his use of light in his work.
My camera was seeing light and I wasn’t completely. I knew I needed to learn how to see light if I wanted to be a photographer. The first thing I wanted to do was help my camera see how I saw. Enter Depth of Field and another camera.
I knew I needed to explore different lenses, but I couldn’t change them on my bridge camera. I decided to switch to Sony and got the Alpha NEX-5. I was finally able to start making the pictures I was seeing with my camera and for the first time I felt like an actual photographer.
Over the last 10 year, I’ve taken hundreds of thousands of photos, a few hundred portraits, and have been able to work with some amazing people, artists, and brands. I was the Director of Photography on multiple projects including issues for printed magazines and newspapers, and a creative talent agency I helped to launch.
I’ve been able to work with some incredibly talented people as a photographer and it’s been a privilege to share my gift with so many people. I’m even more proud to say that many of those people have become my friends.
If the next 10 years are half as amazing as these past year, I can look forward to meeting and befriending inspiring people and continuing to learn to see.