I am not a photographer. 

So what happened was, in a previous life I was in a band.  After we signed our first record deal, we had our first real photoshoot with a big name photographer who had shot Oprah.  Lots of money was being spent.  It was all going really well... until it wasn't.  It started to go a direction that wasn't us at all.  When I spoke up about it, it became clear that my opinions were not needed.  I was able to discern this because the photographer said:

"Why don't you just stand there and look pretty and let the grown ups work."

Later on, during a discussion about the album artwork, I got into a difference of opinion with the label guy who was clearly used to having the final say.  I asked him, "Do you do this to _______ (insert name of big artist who sells a lot of records)?"  and he said, "When you sell as many records as __________, you can have a say too."

And thus a photographer was born. Actually, a filmmaker was born.  I really wanted to make movies, so I started taking pictures to practice lighting for movies. To me, a picture is a single frame from a movie. I resolved to learn the skills necessary to be able to express my vision.  I wasn't going to get in a position where someone could tell me what to do. I carried that philosophy deep into my work - I never want to impose my will on the person in front of the camera.  What comes out of the camera should be an expression of that person.  To shoot the soul, so to speak.

So, I consider everything in the frame a collaboration; it's a shared vision that flows from you, me, the makeup artist, wardrobe, my assistants... everyone on set.   Every shoot starts with a long meeting: Who are you?  What do you love?  What vision do you have?  How do you feel about pictures?  What do you hate about your previous pictures?  What hasn't been done before?  I had a meeting with a popular singer/songwriter and after it he said, somewhat wonderingly, "No one has ever asked me what I thought before."  That boggles my mind.  And after that comes more meetings and endless emails.  I will watch the movies you love and study the pictures you reference.  Annoyingly, I will keep asking you questions meant to turn you into the director of your own movie.  You know what you like and what you don't like - you just might not know how to express it.  My job is to crawl inside your head and see the movie you see.

I spend a lot of time getting to know the people I shoot.  Working with me is more of a commitment than working with most photographers, but how am I going to shoot the picture you wanted if I don't know what you want?  I love the process of getting to know people and to create photographs unique to them.  I don't know how to do quick shoots or half days.  I only know how to go all in, and every picture gets my very best even though it's never my picture - it's your picture.

Let me know if you want to collaborate.


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