Have you ever felt that you were destined to do something? That everything you have done in your life has led to this one thing? That's the way I feel about my life as a photographer.
I am the son of a loving Mother, who was born on Valentine's Day, and an amazing Father, who was a wedding photographer himself when he was my age. Growing up, we actually had a working darkroom in our basement and my Dad was always taking photos of my sister and I for the family albums. My Mom was a stay at home Mom and streamed countless hours of romance movies on the VHS player. She was a pure romantic and my Dad has called her his beautiful bride his whole life. They were the most loving and supporting parents I could have ever asked for. When I was very young, they saw I had an eye for the arts and always nurtured my creativity. I am truly grateful that they encouraged that talent and always inspired me to create. When other kids were being pushed to Science or Math they bought me art supplies and comic books.
When I was 14 my Dad and I went on a trip out west with the Boy Scouts to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Arches National Parks. He gave me 30 rolls of B&W film and his old Minolta camera. He taught me everything he knew about photography and my creativity went wild. Being a bit of an introvert at that age, I was able to express how I saw the world in my own way for the first time. The next year, in High School, I took my first photography class and was developing and printing these images of mind blowing landscapes myself. My passion for photography was born. I was able to dodge, burn and print these images of mine by hand and witness them come to life for the first time. That moment of seeing my first prints developing changed my life forever in ways I never could have imagined.
MY COLLEGE YEARS
When it was time to choose a major for college I really couldn't think of anything I wanted to do more than take pictures. I enrolled at UMBC for a double major for Photography and Graphic Design with a minor in Art History. There I was introduced to a whole new world of Digital Photography and Photoshop. I was able to learn about the history of all the artist who have come before me and influence my art in new and creative ways as well as the basics of the photo studio. Many lessons I still use today when it comes to color theory and leading lines.
One of the biggest benefits of college I experienced was the networking. Many of those first friends I made at UMBC became my future clients and I still take pictures of their families to this day.
What can I say about college summer? They were so much fun and I learned more here than any other experience in my life. I spent 4 summers living in Ocean City, MD as a beach photographer, locally known as a "Scopes Guy". My job was to walk on the beach all day and take as many pictures of families as I could for free. We would do our best to sell them prints in the evening but I would photograph an average of 30-40 families a day for 110 day in a row for 4 years.
This was the most intense photography boot camp you could ever think of. If your photos sucked, nobody would buy them. If nobody bought your images, they wouldn't put you on the beach. If they didn't put you on the beach, you couldn't pay for the housing. It was do or die. I own so much to this experience and this is the job that brought me out of my shell and taught me how to work with people. I fell in love with portrait photography because of this job.