This is my long form “About page.” A micro-memoir.
I was born here on earth and have lived here pretty much my whole life (except that one time in college). I’m a boomer, old enough to remember some stuff during the sixties and young enough to have missed the draft. It’s good to be here, now. Life is interesting and full of growth.
I’ve always loved taking pictures. It’s both an art and a profession for me. When we were little my folks brought each of us kids a Kodak Instamatic when we turned 10. I was excited to get mine after my brother and sister got theirs.
I specialized in photographing pretty much anything that was visible, from nature to people. My first formal portraits were of my 5th grade classmates and I did a lot of pet photography. It was only one pet, though, my dog.
By high school I managed to get my hands on a 35 mm camera and built a darkroom in the basement. I soon learned that if you were on the newspaper or yearbook, you could get free film and paper which was great. I also got lots of assignments; clubs, sports, student life and portraits
The best part about assignments is that you are photographing with a purpose. You use your skills to get the best quality and your creative juices to get shots are cool and tell the story, that serve the purpose. The majority of my work has always been for others to see and to use. I’m reluctant to call myself an artist. I’m a photographer,and when I do my best work, it rises to the level of art.
I followed the scientific side of my nature when deciding what to study in college and earned a B.S. in environmental technology at Florida Institute of Technology. We did a ton of field work which was great. I love science. It’s all about careful, objective observation (just like photography).
While in college I hopped on the yearbook staff, became the editor-in-chief and pretty much earned a second degree in photography.
Producing a book every year was always quite a project. I know I spent a lot of time shooting, cranking out prints in the darkroom and laying out pages. I was the project manager and totally accountable. If I did not do my job it wasn’t just a bad grade.
It was awesome. I loved it. Doing photography, managing project and producing books was rewarding and satisfying.
Fast forward to life after collage and a full life. I initially spent a few years working for newspapers and then became an environment consultant while running a wedding photo business on the weekends. I had two thriving careers.
Being an environment consultant taught me a lot of discipline and project management skills. It also kept me at the leading edge of technology, which helped me keep my photography business up to speed as use of computers grew, the Internet emerged and we migrated to digital cameras.
Having a consulting career as an anchor was perfect for growing a family. My wife and I built a home in the county and raised two girls who’ve both become scientists in their own right. The world certainly needs good scientists.
Being part of a company and having health and disability benefits came in quite handy when I was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002. Treatment was brutal, but successful and I can now say I’m a veteran of the war on cancer. Scarred but still kickin’. It slowed my down for a spell but I never stopped shooting.
After 20 years of the duel careers, the consulting side slipped away in 2008 during the great recession when I was happily laid off. By that time I had opened a studio in Frenchtown and was shifting from weddings to business photography. Launching a full time business at the beginning of a recession took dedication and commitment. You either make it of you don’t.
Upon becoming a full time photography business I joined several chambers of commerce, a BNI networking group and Frenchtown’s Business and Professional Association. I quickly learned the value of being part of the business community. It is very rewarding. We are all in this together.
For my part I started a photography group, conveniently called The Photographers Group (photographers.group). We meet monthly and do projects together to document our world. Our most recent project was called Hunterdon Retail. 50 photographers participated in photographing locally-owned retail stores in Hunterdon, exhibiting their images at the Red Mill Historic Village and creating a historic archive of all the images (over 400). It was a collective effort to benefit the photographers, the local businesses, the Red Mill and to grow awareness of our group.
My role as a business photographer is also mutually beneficial, to support myself and to communicate about my clients. To tell the world their stories with high quality photos and video. To create images that generate a positive emotional response on the part of the viewer
One of my favorite films is a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi . Jiro is a 93 sushi master who embodies the spirit of shokunin, the mastery of one’s profession. Jiro’s highest purpose is to get better at making and serving sushi and he is already one of the best sushi chefs in the world. I watch the film often.
I expect to be doing what I do indefinitely, as long as I have a camera and client. Just like Jiro I want to get better at what I do and share it. I even keep a camera in my pocket at all times and constantly look for photos to shoot an process. Practice, practice, practice. The better I get, the better my photos will be and the more my clients and I will benefit.
Woodstock Trading Company, a small hippy store, has been in business in Cherry Hill since 1981. During that time, its little domain on Rt 70 has become crammed with highway businesses and suburban shopping centers. WTC stands out as a unique little island. Seventy-nine year old Gladys “Mom” Glass, successfully runs the store with her cat, six days a week. Her merchandise includes hundreds of T-shirts, incense, jewelry, beads and all kinds of rock and roll memorabilia, but no paraphernalia. […]
B-roll is the term used for video and film footage that isn’t part of an interview or scripted scene but instead scenes that offer support and help tell the story. I’ve never heard it used for stills but it makes sense. During a recent portrait shoot at August eTech, an IT consulting firm, the president wanted more than just headshots and let me wander the office getting images that capture the feel of her staff handling the challenging work of […]
Being seen means being noticed, even if it is just for a moment. We want to be seen. When we are driving, we want other drivers to see us. When we are at a table waiting to order a meal we want a server to see us. There are countless examples and many apply to our businesses. If no one sees us how will they know we are here? What they see matters. In some cases we may not care […]
When I search restaurants online I’m presented with an abundance of food photos, some good, some not so great. Food photography is an art. Less frequently I get to see good ambiance photos and rarely do we get to see the people who pull it all together in the kitchen, the chefs. For restaurant week 2018, Flemington Community Partnership brought me on to photograph some of it’s local chefs. Matt at Matt’s Red Rooster, Jonas at 55 Main and Leandro […]
Every year I invite photographers to be part of the Summer on the Delaware photo project. The intent is t create images that depict people and the river whether it is playing on it or just being near it. Fourteen photographers took part this year generating photos that share their vision of summertime on the Delaware River. One photo per photographer is being exhibited Saturday Sept 1 and continuing through September 2nd to coincide with Frenchtown’s exuberant Riverfest Celebrations.
OK, yeah, so it was 1982 in the photo office of the Fort Pierce News Tribune, in between assignments. I guess I thought I could grow a beard (nice try). It’s funny what you may come across when digging through archives. Like most people, I often wonder what will become of all the digital photos I’ve been compiling for the past 15-16 years.
Do you stitch together 180 degree images to create photospheres? (Doesn’t everyone?) Here is how to modify the metdata to make them work on Facebook posts: http://tophermcculloch.com/2016/06/make-photo-work-360-photosphere-facebook/ Thank you Christopher McCullock for posting this for all us photosphereographers.
Every month my Meetup Group, Frenchtown Photography Meetup, gets together in the studio to share images, insights and take part in mini-workshops. We also engage in projects to push the envelop and see what we can accomplish collectively. Most recently we met to screw around with Photoshop and create somewhat strange, humorous images using layering. As part of our discussions members often mention websites about photography they enjoy. Here are three goods one we recently talked about. “You Suck at […]