That is a question I am often asked. And I certainly know the answer. It started when I was a child honestly, I remember it like it was yesterday. I grew up in a small seaside town in Oregon in the 70’s and 80’s. I am the youngest of 3 children and we have always been a close-knit family. My mother started it all really, she had so many photo albums, all loaded with black and white and color photos of distant relatives, special events, and adventures, most of whom I never met or places I had never been. But there they were, right in front of me. Each with their own fascinating story to tell, or rather- to be told. It was like a moment in time and space was forever captured, to be shared and never forgotten. I remember being so excited whenever she would bring the albums out of the closet and we would sit for hours as she told stories of all the beautiful people and places.
Then there was one Christmas in particular, it was all of us; me, my brother, sister, and our mom and dad. We all loved Christmas and would have the most fun times decorating our home and celebrating the season. I loved it so much! Well, my mom had a camera, it was a film camera of sorts and with it, a built in timer. So I dug the tripod out of the closet and had us all gather in front of the Christmas tree that we had meticulously adorned with so many ornaments, lights, candy canes and of course, loads on silver tinsel! So, I set the camera up on the tripod and focused it on the family, started the timer and jumped as fast as I could to stand with them so proudly there as the camera flashed its magic. Years rolled by and when that particular photo would come up in the pages of our photo albums, my mom would laugh and say with a smile “We’re all in this photo, who took it?” I’ve always loved that picture, and that moment, and that memory.
That was the hook, and it was all in! Throughout the years, I had a paper-route, odd jobs, part-time jobs, whatever it took. And you can ask anyone, I spent every penny on cameras, lenses, flashes, and film. In school I was involved with the yearbook and school newspaper as a photographer. And that’s when my dad, who was the most amazing man I have ever known, built me a full, complete loaded dark room in our garage. It was really his garage, but his generous nature was such that he donated a huge portion of it to me and said he saw so much passion in me he couldn’t resist. I will forever be grateful to all my family.
I remember spending countless hours taking pictures, in our home, on the beach, camping, and fishing trips. I bought film in rolls of 100’! And if I wasn’t taking photos I was in the darkroom developing and printing them. In school, there were several teachers who saw and admired my ambition and drive for photography. They were always encouraging and provided me with lots of energy to continue. One teacher in particular, Mr. Reed, even went as far as developing a photography class for credit just for me, and well anyone else who might have been interested. But there hadn’t been anything like that prior and now there was.
I photographed my first wedding when I was 17. I used my 35mm Minolta X700, which was a “big” upgrade from my previous X370. I incorporated speed lights, strobes, and flashes very early, always knowing that I am essentially painting with light. Well before wireless flash was thing, I day-dreamed of a day when there would no longer be a tether or cable between camera and light. And now, photography technology is everything I ever dreamed it would, and much, much, more! It all brings joy and happiness to my life, and to my soul. It truly is what I am here to do. To do. Why to do? Because the magic that happens when you look at photos from the past, of the people, the families, the places, the events, all the memories are a window into the moments we have shared. Nostalgia is one of our greatest gifts and giving that to others, in the very best way I can, is the feeling of knowing exactly who I am.