The picture that launched my photography business


I picked up a camera for the first time in 1999. Well, not counting my little Minolta 110 pocket camera that I used to play with on trips to Disney when I was 10 years old. I loved that little camera. In the late 90’s I thought I wanted to do underwater photography, strictly as a hobby. So, being a single guy with a good job and a bit of disposable income I went out and plunked down my hard-earned cashola on a complete underwater photography system and booked a solo trip to the Cayman Islands to take some of the most beautiful underwater pictures the world had ever seen.

Well, I came back and developed the film (yes, kids we used to have to wait sometimes a week or more for our film to be developed) and how do I put this nicely… the pictures, well… sucked. And I am putting it nicely. There’s nothing quite like being 70 feet under the surface of the ocean in vodka-like water amidst 25 or 30 tarpons and your only tangible memory is a print that looks like I was photographing a scattering of quarters in my bathtub… in the dark.

So, at the urging of my friend, Heather, I decided to enroll in a basic photography class at the Crealde School of Art in Winter Park, Florida. Without doubt, the best decision I have ever made (thanks, Heather!).

Skip ahead to my second photography class and one of our assignments was a natural lighting assignment where we were instructed to capture an image using only natural light. The picture above was the picture I submitted for the assignment, an abstract nude, and is still to date one of my favorite pictures from my portfolio of what now consists of tens of thousands of images.

I’m here in California typing this post and I am visiting with my great friend from high school who is the subject of the picture. The image you see here is my iPhone pic of a massive 4-foot x 5-foot floating canvas that is currently mounted in her tiny little northern California apartment. It’s quite funny to see!

Although this was just an image for a school assignment, it was selected to be showcased at an exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art. I remember laughing hysterically with my friend who is the subject when we talked of the possibility of someone actually wanting to purchase this image at the museum. Lo and behold I ended up selling three huge prints on opening night and I knew right then and there that I was hopelessly hooked, and I knew that photography was what I wanted to do with my life and career.

As I stare at this image I’m reminded of what photography is all about for me, and why I decided to leave a wonderful corporate career that I loved for the crazy world of photography.

Have a wonderful end of your week!