In the days of film cameras I started by shooting bodybuilders at a friend's gym, and eventually landed a job as the photography director for a motorcycle magazine. I got the gig because I had a bike, a camera, and the courage to ask for it. I had attended biker events for years and that's what they were looking for. It was a lucky break leading me to photograph some wonderful and at times bizarre people. It also gave me a direction to refine my photography skills.
I got my first 35mm film camera in high school and shot whatever or whoever I could. I always leaned towards taking more odd shots than mainstream stuff. It's that what's-the-worst-that-can-happen quirkiness that still inspires me today. (The self portrait above was taken with a camera on a DIY PVC rig on the hood of my car attached with bungee cords going down 7th Ave. in Ybor City. It's not about being dangerous, it's about embracing a different way. )
Early on I went to graduate school and got a Masters of Science degree in Counseling Psychology. Having my own practice allowed me to understand how incredibly whacky (yes, that's a clinical term) we humans are, but also made me more comfortable in my own skin. That idea permeates much of my personal photography work. Combining my clinical knowledge and quirkiness has led me to shoot things that can be eye catching and sometimes visually unpleasant or provocative. With the advent of the digital age I also became skilled in the art of the digital editing.
I started teaching photography over 10 years ago. From 2007 to 2014 I was the lead instructor and designer of the educational programs at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts. I developed the Photography 101 program there and taught classes on lighting, Photoshop, street photography, photojournalism, and sports. In 2015 I moved to a bigger beautiful space to accommodate a more comfortable classroom and better technology for teaching.
Back when I was trying to learn, other photographers seemed secretive about their techniques, their equipment, and their thoughts about shooting. There needs to be a new way of thinking. There's nothing I'm doing that others haven't done and there really is no "secret sauce" to photography. It's all about learning. My biggest hope with teaching others is to inspire them to take the next shot differently...better.