I began my career prior to the advent of digital photographic technology, and like many people who discover picture taking at any age or any era, photography enabled me to make personal connections with others in a way that I hadn’t done before. In high school I photographed a lot of street scenes, and took first place in the National Scholastic competitions three years running. After an incomplete stint at college, I spent six years working at large commercial catalog studios in Chicago photographing products and people with 4x5, 8x10 and 11x14 Deardorff cameras. I processed thousands of sheets of film, managed an assistant, and produced several thousand images that were used in catalog advertising. I learned commercial lighting from the photographers who had perfected these skills over decades in the catalog industry.
After that I spent seven years in the wedding and portrait business and learned the difficult skills necessary to photograph very important events, work quickly, communicate effectively, stay organized, maintain a professional attitude and perform hundreds of technical tasks in a condensed period of time. Medium format cameras, portable studio strobes and a desire to master the techniques required for this work made this time a highlight for me. It was extremely high energy, I was still using film, and I enjoyed it very much.
Over the following ten years my wife and I had three children and I worked on the photography staff at General Dynamics Convair Division in San Diego. The work involved photographing projects for the United States Department of Defense which included high speed photography of unmanned space launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Tomahawk and Advanced Cruise Missile testing on San Clemente Island and Dugway Proving Grounds, submarine production at Electric Boat in Groton Connecticut, F-16 test support at Ogden Air Force Base, the visits of the U.S President and Vice President, and annual report photography for the GD headquarters office. I sported a DoD secret clearance, I utilized every common professional camera format, large and small (still using film), traveled a great deal, and saw my photographs published worldwide in many different ways. This was the most demanding and involved job I had had up to this point, but I was discovering the most important job I – or anyone - could ever have involved those three children.
Digital cameras began appearing at very low resolution and very high cost, and combined with the introduction of Photoshop by a company called Adobe there was a compelling reason to investigate. I did so by partnering with Dean Collins for seven years and we worked with Eastman Kodak, Hasselblad, Sinar Bron, Fujifilm Global and others to produce education videos, seminars, traveling roadshows and short films for the purpose of educating professional photographers in the use of these new technologies. We produced thousands of commercial photographs as the backbone of these education materials. Scanning backs, one-shot backs, three-shot backs, SLR cameras and an abiding need for more and more RAM defined the era.
Following this I took a position with a company called Foveon in Silicon Valley, founded by Dr. Carver Mead, and staffed mostly with PhD’s in the fields of optics, electrical engineering, software, and mechanical design. For six years we worked to produce a digital camera sensor that would produce three times more image data than the standard CMOS sensors that were gradually being adopted. We succeeded; I was no longer using film and my wife and I were attending middle school and high school graduations.
Since 2005 I have been the staff photographer for Taylor Guitars in El Cajon, California. This work involves producing images in studio and location environments of guitars, people playing guitars, very famous people playing guitars, in addition to supporting the engineering staff and producing marketing content for magazines and other outlets. Additionally, since 2005 our three children have become adults, finished their educations and have started careers in design, in music and in education. I never earned that college degree, however today I have a degree of experience that far surpasses it, and a grateful heart for the beautiful family that has brought the greatest meaning to my life.