I have always had a very keen interest in photography, bordering at times on obsession. However there are ultimately more important things in life - like your family and supporting your family. Early on I wisely rejected the prospect of a career as a "starving artist" and took a more conventional career route in the business world.
In 2008 I found I was able to take an early retirement. This meant I could be at home to help with the kids, to chauffeur them around when needed, and take some of the heavy load off of Anne, my loving wife and mother of our three teenagers. It also meant I had more time to study up on photography and portraiture. I have devoted countless hours to professional training, much of this using resources of professional associations like PPA (Professional Photographers of America), and NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Along the way I also managed to accumulate a substantial investment in photo and studio equipment. This gives me a great deal of flexibility in what I can do with my photography, and how I can do it.
So now, oddly enough, the concept of a career as a "starving artist" seems almost appropriate. I can't make it a full time job. I can, however, take on a limited workload and approach each session with the passion and intensity that it requires. I don't try to do everything, I only do what I can do very well. I work mostly with high school ages, sometimes down to junior high unless its dance related - then age doesn't seem to matter quite as much. Dancers are a specialty, including action pictures (jumps & leaps) which I can do outside, or, with certain limitations, in my home studio.
I learned the basics of photography with a great little 35mm rangefinder camera, a hand-me-down, I received when I was 10 years old. In high school I was active in photography club doing the usual sports and campus life pictures that go in the yearbook. That is where I began developing film and making my own enlargements. I picked up my first SLR at the end of junior year. Some of the pictures on this web site and others, especially in the Black & White gallery, date back to my college days in the 1970's.
After high school, college and graduate school, I pursued my career opportunities and married the woman of my dreams, but still kept up with photography, even maintaining a color darkroom for a time during the 1980's and 1990's. I moved toward digital at the first good opportunity with a slide scanner in the late 1990's. With this scanner, and one of the first true photo quality desktop printers, I was able to scan Kodachrome slides and produce excellent color prints right from the computer.
In 2005 I started doing photography for the Madison Studio Dance Education, where my daughters took dance classes. Working with the dancers and staff there was, and still is, a terrific learning experience for me. A photo session or modeling session is a collaboration between the photographer and the subject, and it requires input and effort from both. When the subject is given the opportunity and encouraged to offer ideas, the poses and expressions tend to be more genuine and engaging, and the results are more natural and realistic. The portraits are more likely to have that enduring appeal that will last as long as the archival media on which they are printed.