Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My First Time

There is a first time for everything and this is my first time at "blogging". First let me say that
I love "first time" experiences and lately I have been seeking them out. That's because the realm
of possibilities has exploded with the advances in technology.

A little background. I'm 54 years old and I have been a professional photographer for almost
30 years. I have shot for numerous publications - National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian,
Travel & Leisure, Endless Vacation, Islands as well as ad campaigns for tourism/hospitality
clients and annual reports for Fortune 500 companies. I love what I do because everyday
is different. I can't imagine having what people refer to as a "real job".

I get asked three questions on a consistent basis.

1. Does your camera take good pictures?

I must confess - that question is probably the most annoying question for me. Mostly
because I'm not a tool or gadget kind of person. I use the right tool for the job -
and the job is communicating and "telling the story". So, the tool is the means to the end.
If I'm in a good mood, I reply with a smile "yes". If it's been a long day - my reply is
a bit more sarcastic - "yes, my camera takes great pictures - I don't have to crawl out
of bed at the crack of dawn to capture that magical light - I just send my camera out
to take those good pictures.

2. Where is your favorite place in the world?

I actually like this question, but never really had ONE answer until I visited the
Isle of Man. Now I can say that this is my favorite place that I've been - because it drew
me in on levels I can't explain.

3. How did you get started?

To make a long story short - I was studying architecture at Syracuse University in
the late 60's and early 70's. I realized that I wanted to see first hand the man made
wonders of the world - so I decided to take a leave and do some traveling. What started
out as a 3 month trip to Europe - ended up as a year long backpacking odyssey around
the world - or almost around the world. When I returned to the States (because my
open ended airplane ticket was expiring) I knew that I wanted to pursue a career that
would enable me to travel, meet people and explore cultures. So, I decided to become
a photographer. Again, it was a means to an end. Not about the science but about
the journey. That was in 1973. I enrolled at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA
(one of 6 women at the time) met my future husband there and graduated 3 years
later. I was offered a job at Boeing (the token minority) turned it down and moved
to the NYC area to make my fame (not fortune) in magazines. If you know NYC
and were around in the mid-70's, you are probably thinking that I needed to have
my head examined. Leave southern California for NYC which was on the brink of
bankruptcy. But, I threw all caution to the wind and made the move.
After a brief stint at assisting a studio photographer, I went to see Jay Maisel, a legend
in the industry and a wonderfully blunt individual. He looked at my "studio" portfolio
and basically told me to my face that it was garbage. He asked me if this was what
I wanted to do. I replied no, but I was told that if you wanted to make a living in
photography - that was where it was at. Then I showed him my photos from my
backpacking journey. He loved them and asked me how old I was. I replied 25.
His retort was "you're 25 years old and you're already making compromises".
It was a turning point in my life.

Stay tuned.


Blogger Joe P. said...

Oops... maybe I should've kept my mouth shut. Blog on!! JP

3:58 PM  

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