HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I started shooting pictures for publication when I was on the yearbook staff in junior high school. I was 13-years-old. Yet my formal career began on the last day of an around-the-world voyage. It was December 17, 1981… I was admiring the sunrise over the horizon as the ship was coming into Port Everglades in Florida. I thought to myself,
“ I’m going to be a photographer.”
My photo instructor on board the vessel inspired that profound moment. He didn’t so much as to tell students how to shoot, he lead by example. His composition, use of colors, and each special moment captured, was an explosion for the visual senses. I was still young, extremely impressionable and relatively inexperienced with a camera, but from that point on in my life, it was all I ever wanted.
I enrolled in the community college back home and found myself working with a wonderful department and more inspirational professors that provided additional visions and technical perspectives. I went on to California State University at Long Beach and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in photojournalism.
I freelanced for many publications in the Los Angeles area, including the Long Beach Press Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, and the Los Angeles Times - many times only working for gas money or film. It was a marvelous time in LA but the smaller community paper is what I had my sights on.
I found myself in the sunshine state again, where the whole process had begun years earlier. I landed at the Boca Raton News and worked my way up the ranks to photo editor. (The paper has since closed like so many others in this digital age.)
I enjoyed the community aspects of journalism, getting to know the neighborhood and people knowing you. When you become part of a community, you can enter so many lives and record special moments. Having the opportunity to spend time with subjects and getting to know them a little in order to make better pictures has brought me closer to what I desire as a photographer.
Along the way since that December morning in 1981, I have traveled the country and the world, photographing people, places, and history-making events. In my mind, no assignment has ever been too big or too small. I enjoy every day that I make a good picture.
After a brief foray with a family business that brought me to Las Vegas - I picked up my cameras again and started up where I left off. Today in Las Vegas, I contribute regularly to Getty Images, Associated Press, Reuters, other publications and wire services still willing to pay a day rate.
To paraphrase my first photo instructor, who was so influential in my humble beginnings, “Photography is not a ‘job’ – it’s fun, it’s inspiring, it’s life affirming, but above and beyond all this, it is a privilege.”