Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Starting A New Journey

Sometimes, a new journey begins in unexpected ways.

Last year, a dear friend that I’d known since childhood died of melanoma. We’d met in 7th grade and grown up together. Our parents became friends. We learned to drive and got our first cars on the same timetable. We explored the world outside our neighborhood together. And although we lost track of each other for a time as we both entered our career years, we came back together and enjoyed several years of talking, visiting and sharing memories before he passed away. He was a long-term executive at a blue-chip technology company and looked forward eagerly to his retirement. He never got there.

As I carried his casket to the grave site, something in me changed. I realized that I was spending my life in meetings and airports, creating useless spreadsheets and trying to meet my employer’s unrealistic opposing demands to cut service and increase revenues.

Just a few weeks later, I found myself standing on the mud flats along Cook Inlet, an hour’s bush-plane flight south of Anchorage, surrounded by Alaskan brown bears. In the distance shone the snow-capped mountains of the Katmai Peninsula. Mother bears with their cubs were feeding. My camera was clicking away.

This year, I left my job to concentrate full-time on photography. This was no spur-of-the-moment decision, but a choice to get my life back on center. I have always been driven by a need to create. I wrote my first short story at the age of five and got my first 35mm camera at 13. Professionally, I was a working journalist covering the automotive industry and saw my byline in major daily newspapers and magazines. I had a long career in marketing, advertising and public relations, heading two prestigious car accounts and one major motorcycle account. I also co-founded and ran a video production company with an amazing partner, during which time we garnered more than 50 awards for our work.

In 2007, I decided to get serious about photography. I have studied and continue to study with masters such as the renowned Art Wolfe, Canon Explorers of Light Lewis Kemper and Jennifer Wu, and creative geniuses such as Jim Zuckerman, Tony Sweet and Brenda Tharp.

This year, my work has appeared in the “Portraits of the Garden” show at the Sturt Haaga Gallery, and a new show opening next week in Europe (details to come). I’ve also been recognized with several awards, and my work is for sale both on my own site and at Saatchi Art. I have a book coming out next month and several exciting projects in the works.

This is a journey I’ve been preparing for all my life. The death of my friend and the transcendent experience of closely photographing wild grizzly bears were simply the push I needed. We too often spend our lives waiting for the day when we can do something instead of just doing it.  

So please come along to follow my adventure. I’ll also be sharing camera and gear reviews, photo tips and lessons from my own art journey. Thanks!