Why a Photographer?
We have an amazing team at TRG - we pretty much talk about it all the time - and the photographers are absolutely no exception. Just take a look at our photo page and you can quickly tell what talented and creative shooters we have here.
What you can tell by meeting them is how much of a team they are. How well they work together. How much work they put into your images. How much they truly love doing what they do.
Which led me to thinking...How did they get into Photography? What type of Photography did they originally want to get into? How did they wind up at TRG?
I've known since a young age that I wanted to make photographs for a living. I remember using a relative's film camera when I was 9 years old and falling in love with the process of seeing and finding things that interested me and capturing them on film. When I was a teenager I finally figured out that photography was the only thing I wanted to do. My aunt loaned me her 1970's pentax film camera and my mom bought me a box set of Ansel Adams books, they were not photo books though, they were technical manuals. I was always into science as a kid so delving into the technical aspects of how photographs were made captivated me. That passion for the craft has stuck with me ever since, you will find me reading technical manuals and how to books more than any other literature. My initial goal for a career path in this field was documentary photojournalism, I wanted to be a war correspondent. All through college I worked on extensive long term documentaries, contributed to local newspapers and pushed forward with my goal of creating work that exposed untold stories. At the end of my college career I was fortunate enough to intern at TRG. Being surrounded by this immense pool of creative talent pushed me to learn a side of photography that I had never known before and I haven't looked back since. I still use photography to tell stories, but now I am telling our client's story.
I'm kind of predisposed to loving photography and studio life since my high school summers were spent hanging out and interning here at TRG. Having a mom in the business is certainly a cool boost in the right direction, though photography wasn't always my first love. I was super passionate about music and actually went to school for recording engineering. I was in that industry for a while and even started my own record label with some friends years ago, but got really burnt out on the 18 hour days in the recording studio re-recording take after hapless take of musicians who probably weren't as talented as they thought they were. That experience along with my love for photography led to the natural progression of shooting live shows and band portraits. I did a ton of that in my youth. I went on countless tours with countless bands and really got a thrill out of shooting bands going crazy on stage and documenting their lives off stage as well. After a while though, I kind of felt like a cover band artist because much like a musician playing songs someone else wrote, I was just using a camera to document someone else making art (with their music). This drove me to start wanting more control and utilizing my own lighting and studio shoots. I feel like the fast paced life of shooting live music really laid the foundation of quick on your feet thinking and honed my skills for recognizing a good shot very quickly. It's kind of a "blink and you miss it" world. After my years producing music and shooting bands, I came home to Cleveland and started back at the studio which I grew up in. I suppose the rest is history.
My initial interest started in the 70's when my childhood neighbor, a sales rep for a Japanese robotics company, brought my father a Canon A-1 from Japan. Seeing, and more importantly being able to play with that technology, really sparked my interest in photography. From that point forward I can remember seeing things in the world as moments or photographs -- I would remember family trips or childhood adventures as albums or photo books in my mind. As I grew older and got my own camera, I ventured into black and white, trying to get down to the essence of the medium. During that same period, I got to see the Robert Mapplethorpe show in Cincinnati amidst heavy national controversy. The fact that I experienced the work of an amazing and ground-breaking photographer in his most visible moment (ironically a year after his death) fueled my passion for the medium, and etched its power in my mind forever. After college I moved to Vail, Colorado to live the life of a ski bum, and continue my exploration of black and white photography. I worked under several professional photographers, experiencing the industry through sports action and scenic images. The beauty and power of nature, paired with my passion for black and white photography, drove me to explore the great American West. Much to my surprise, I found that I loved photographing the people and the places of the West more than the natural landscape. This discovery pushed me back toward the art world and civilization, ultimately carrying me back to Cleveland. And, it wasn't long before, once again, I found myself surrounded by artists fueling my passion. I found myself at TRG. Reflecting on my life as an artist, the common thread I've found is that time and again, I've wound up surrounded by incredible artists who share the same passion for photography and art. They have pushed me to rethink how I perceive the world, and to find new ways to express those experiences that form the photo books in my mind.
I first began my interest in photography as a young teen when I purchased a mail order Kodak instamatic film camera for $5.00. As a child I always had an interest in tinkering with art and construction projects and I liked the ease of making photos of family members, pets and other documentary scenes. Soon I was experimenting with my own color and B&W film developing and set up my own darkroom in the basement bathroom. In high school with the help of my more experienced cousin I bought his Pentax 35mm SLR camera and soon became consumed by all things photographic. I purchased more camera equipment as I gained experience and money and soon owned an arsenal of medium and large format cameras and enlargers. At this point I had taken no formal classes in photography until my second year in college during the middle of pursuing a degree in Graphic Design at the University of Akron. While taking a fine art photo course at Akron as part of a course elective my photo instructor recommended R.I.T. to finish out my formal education which I did. My R.I.T. experience was invaluable and I learned that a person is capable of almost anything in life if they have the desire.
A favorite uncle with an interest in photography gave me a camera about the time I was entering high school. Almost immediately it became nearly an obsession, with no particular subject more interesting than any other – I just loved shooting and making prints in my darkroom (A small bathroom with black tape around the door).
People may not believe it now, but I was a shy person then and photography was my way of communicating with others. Getting involved with the high school newspaper and yearbook forced me to open up in learning how speak and share with others. You might say that photography chose and molded me, not so much as I chose photography. I started TRG to emulate the first photographer that I worked for in Cleveland - he gave superb service that supplemented his craftsmanship. I worked at two other studios after that but realized that successful commercial photography is about the shared experience with clients. Forming this studio was the best way to do that.
When did you fall in love with Photography? Let us know in the comments below.