Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving. And thanks to those who influenced me.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to list some people who have influenced me greatly, either directly (I've taken classes with them, know them personally, etc.), or indirectly (I've followed their work for years, or they've done something that changed my life). This list has to start with my college photography professor, Ed Scully. He was a crusty ex-Navy photographer teaching at Ramapo College in NJ. I started out there studying electronic music and synthesizers, but had an interest in photography from high school. I started taking classes with Ed and got turned around. He could be a difficult, critical teacher. I remember a story about him where a student stood up in class and asked why he never patted anyone on the back. Another student shouted out "because he is too tired from kicking your ass." That pretty much summed it up. I attribute my strong technical background to Ed. I still have my notebooks from those classes. Sadly, Ed died about a year after I graduated, and I never got to see him again.

After college I started working in catalog houses, producing photos for big catalogs like Sears, Montgomery Ward, etc. My mentors there were Jose Tese and Serge Lacks (not sure on the spelling of the last names). After that I went on to work with Jeff Morgan (advertising still life) and Dennis Gottlieb (food). Then I started renting a studio space with Tony Verga and, when he moved to Chicago, Paul Gelsobello. Then I got out of photography and discovered computers and typesetting. I put away the 8x10 camera at that time and went back the 35mm cameras I used in high school and college. I mostly used a few different point and shoot cameras for the next 15 years.

During this time I got to know Paul Brainerd, founder of Aldus in Seattle. PageMaker was becoming my life. Thunder LIzard productions hired me to work on the PageMaker Conferences and I moved to Seattle. At a tradeshow event in Boston Paul Brainerd introduced me to John Warnock and Chuck Geshke of Adobe. This was in January, 1994. Here were the three folks who had the biggest impact on my "computer" life. Just a few months later they announced the merger of Adobe and Aldus. In January 1995 I was hired on at Adobe (where I still work today).

Around this time I was also introduced to a relatively new program called Photoshop. For that I thank John and Thomas Knoll. And Ctein and Bruce Fraser for being there to answer my questions about photography and digital imaging. And Ole Kvern and Steve Roth. And David Blatner. Steve and David wrote a book called "Real World Scanning and Halftones" and asked me to take a quick photo of them for the back cover of the book. That got me to pick up the camera again. It was still a minor part of my life, but interest was growing again.

A few years later I decided to take some photography workshops to freshen up my education. One of the first people I took a class with was Steven Begleiter in Missoula, Montanna. Everything came back and Steve was very complimentary. The passion was re-ignited. From there, I've taken classes with Martha Casanave, Margaretta Mitchell, Jay Maisel, Greg Gorman, Craig Tanner, Art Wolfe, Patricia Ridenour, and Kim Weston. All of whom I need to give great thanks for inspiration and keeping the spark alive.

I also need to thank some great women in my life. My mom is in her 90s and has always been totally encouraging. Never questioning any turns I took in my life. My wife, Kim, is just as encouraging. And totally understanding/accepting of the naked people often traipsing through our house.

I am sure there are a few more names that should go in here. I'm blessed with a wonderful life and wonderful community.

And finally, a great big thanks to everyone I've had the pleasure to photograph over the years. You are what keeps me going!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!!

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