I was born in Los Angeles, California in 1969. When I was in elementary school I was diagnosed with dyslexia so I had problems reading and writing. These problems never were an issue when it came to looking at pictures (be they in a book or a movie). I noticed that as the viewer I could always at least have an idea of what was going on, this was the power that photographs had that the written word lacked.
I came to photography at first because was obsessed with gadgets and technology. Later on realized that photography put me on equal footing with my peers in school. I was finally able to convey an idea as clearly and easily as they were with writing. This led me to study photography at the San Francisco Art Institute and later cinematography at the American Film Institute.
While studying at the Art Institute, I shot documentary photography projects in
Serbia (the former Yugoslavia) and China. Since graduating from the Art
Institute, I have focused on photographing the eastern parts of Los Angeles – documenting the largely unseen parts of the city and its people. This work includes an extended portrait project photographing one person per intersection for the entire length of Wilshire Boulevard from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. I have also traveled extensively on photographic projects to Hong Kong, to
photograph the remaining months of British Rule, and to Japan, to document its
street life and it’s people.
Photography for me is as much my creative outlet as it is a coping mechanism, I can not go in to any strange environment without a camera. Taking photographs provides me with a reason to be somewhere and allows me to be as involved as I want to be, to be an observer or part of the action.
Since the early 1990’s, my work has involved exploring the urban environment
through photography. Most of my work centers on photographing people on the
street – going about their daily lives and uncovering the interesting in the
mundane. I have also worked on landscape and portrait projects that highlight
the extraordinary in the ordinary.
I primarily work in black and white and shoot film, I find that this process provides me with the focus and discipline that color and digital do not. I use various cameras from 35mm point and shoots to medium format and pinhole cameras, depending on the subject matter. The camera I tend to gravitate to the most is my Leica M6 with a 28mm lens and ISO 400 film. In the past year I have begun to shoot more digital but only as these cameras have improved and I have found capabilities in them that film does not have, in particular the ability photograph in relative darkness. Digital also allows me to call on the knowledge gained in my decade and a half of film work when dealing with color.
San Francisco Art Institute BFA 1993
American Film Institute Cinematography Fellow 1994-1995