I am told that I need to write an artist's bio. I will give it a try. I guess these accompany the works of an artist to give people a better understanding of the artist. I think they are a waste of time. I personally feel that the work of an artist really should speak for them. But I’ll give it a try.
Born in Philadelphia in the 60’s, mother was a professional seamstress that worked in the blue-collar garment industry. My father was everything from a carpenter to printer who finally became a Lithographer. I went to catholic schools from 1st to 12th grade. Growing up wasn’t anything special. Around the SW Philly neighborhood was your basic environment for an inner city kid. My group of friends consisted of about 9 guys and 2 girls who I can say shaped my perception of what real friends are. After graduating from high school, I went to college for about 1 year when I realized it wasn’t for me. School up to that point was really a waste of time. There was always something missing and I did not realize what it was until I became much older. I decided to escape it all by going into the US Navy. I became a Hospital Corpsman in the world of military medicine. During that time my duty stations and pumps allowed me to see many countries in The Caribbean, SE Asia, South America and Africa. All of this took place in the first half of my career. I guess you could say that photography really spoke to me during the latter part of my career. I will get back to this later. I spent 22 years in the Navy, acquired several degrees and now work as an IT professional. When you put most of your life in a single paragraph, it seems to lack luster.
So lets get to why I have ventured down this unforgiving path as an artist. Photography for me really started when I was in college the first time. I borrow a friend's Pentex K-1000 and walk around campus just shooting one day. I came across a house fire just off campus. There wasn’t anything really dramatic about it but I just started shooting. I had no real ideal of what I was doing but just went with it. After getting the prints back, I saw one image that really spoke to me. I wanted to shoot more but my finances didn’t allow it. Not too long after that I went into the Navy.
It wasn’t until I was married and went to Guam that the bug really hit me again. At that time, my shooting was like anyone else. Although my shooting was mainly around the house and of my son, I felt a yearning to do more. Just didn’t know what. I left Guam and some years later found myself stationed back with the Marine Corps down in South American. Within a 3 year period of traveling throughout South America and Western Africa, I realized photography was not just a passion but a part of me. I shot everything I could possibly shoot. During that time period, with the help of a combat photographer, I learned film processing and black and white printing. I knew I couldn’t give this up. I wanted to capture everything around me. I guess every budding photographer goes through this until they truly find themselves.
After my stint with the Corps, I became a Medical Forensic Photographer for the Navy. We did everything in that lab from simple portraits to crime scene photography. Everything was done in house. B&W prints, Color printing, slides, copy work, etc… What helped even more was the fact that there were a few along side of me who wanted to go further in photography as well. I remember the most important statement that was ever made when addressing my photography. It was “No matter what you are doing in photography, always take time to shoot what you love.” The impact this statement had on me, I never expected. Fast-forwarding to 2005 and beyond, I am out of the navy and working a government job. I picked up my first digital camera and a Mac. I started shooting everything but not what I really wanted to shoot. At some point I wanted to get back in the studio and, for once, start shooting nudes. I wound up shooting at a studio that a friend recommended. This is when I started becoming the photographer I wanted to be, which involved, among other things, shooting nudes. I tried to recreate other works and strived to almost copy other styles without realizing what I was doing. I then had this idea and bought a camera that was converted to infrared only. I started to see everything a little differently. My understanding of digital photography and light changed. Basically, this was my true beginning.
I love being a photographer. I choose to shot for me. I hope every artist creates for themselves.