So Here's My Story
I haven't always liked taking pictures, in fact, I haven't really done anything creative for most of my life. My day job involves drilling holes in people's teeth and filling them with white plastic. People don't like coming to my office. But, as part of that job, I had to invest in a camera to take photos of those teeth. Not very creative, I know, but when I started taking that fancy camera home on the weekends to play around with, that's when the fun started.
When I started to take photos of family, trees, flowers, buildings downtown, etc, I began to realize that I might have a bit of a talent for photography. It allowed me to use technically intricate equipment to tap into a creative part of me that until then I had no idea even existed.
While attending a continuing education class about photography in the dental office, I noticed that the slides on the power point presentation had photos of underwater animals. I immediately knew that I had to do that, and at that moment a photographer was born. He still has A LOT to learn, but the journey was set in motion.
Naturally, I decided to start my photography career photographing sharks. Yes, sharks. I began watching the credits for shark documentaries to find out where they were filming these animals, and how I could get there. I opened up a new credit card, and I ordered my first underwater camera rig, and booked a trip on a boat to introduce me to some sharks.
I didn't know what i was doing. I could barely get the camera in the housing, and I was still a new-ish diver, and here I was on a boat, traveling a day and a half to get in the water with lots of sharks.
I was hooked. All it took was a close pass by one hammerhead shark to get me completely fascinated.
I went where ever there were lots of sharks. Costa Rica. The Bahamas. Florida. The Bahamas Again. Fiji. More Bahamas. I was obsessed.
But then I wanted something different. If I was going to call myself an underwater photographer, I couldn't be just a shark photographer. I got myself a macro lens, and changed my sights from the largest animals in the ocean, to the smallest.
I initially did not think that photographing the itty bitty critters in the ocean would interest me. I assumed I'd do it once, and then get back to sharks. I was wrong. Macro underwater photography was a whole new skill set, and was a completely different experience. It was almost like Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates in that "you never know what you're gonna get" on any given dive. Shrimp, cephalopods, sea slugs (aka nudibranchs), sooo many different species of fish, and even in one case, and unidentified species of octopus. I want to see them all, and I saw many of them.
But again, I felt like there was more to photography. What else was out there?
While this was happening, I was almost accidentally acquiring equipment for a studio. A few of my patients worked for a photography lighting company that just happened to be right down the street from my office. They knew of my interest in photography, and would bring me damaged or returned lighting gear every so often. After a while I had enough lights to do some studio photography.
So now I needed to start working with people. Models. FASHION models. I was excited to learn this new skill set of learning how to photograph people.
First sharks, now people
Honestly, I was more scared to photograph people than sharks. I had to direct the models. I had to come up with the concept, and sort of be director of the shoot. I had to understand how light works, and get the person to position themself to be in just the right spot. My first time doing it I was sweating. Profusely. Adrenaline ran through my veins. My voice was shaking. My palms were sweating, but I worked through it. Fortunately I was able to find a good group in Nashville to help me along the way, and a few models who were learning as well, so we both knew we were trying to get better.
Maybe it was because I wanted to get back in my comfort zone, or maybe I just had a spark of creative inspiration, but I decided that I would do something different and unique and take the fashion shoots underwater.
As far as I knew, no one else in my home town of Nashville was doing this, so I was blazing a trail, and it excited me. Again, with a team of people who were wanting to make this happen, we set out to make it happen, and we did it. There were challenges, and many learning experiences along the way, but we made underwater fashion photography happen in pools around Nashville, TN. Yeeee haw!
Still reading? I'm about to get to the good part.
All this has led me to where I am today... photographing landscapes. As I looked for more photography inspiration, I found myself being drawn to landscapes. I was amazed at how our planet has so much variety in terms of landscape. Mountains, rivers, glaciers, deserts, volcanoes, canyons, plains, there's just so much to see out there. At the time, many of the most unique landscapes I was seeing seemed to be coming from the same place... Iceland. I HAD to go there.
And go there I did. And again, and again, and again. Just like with sharks, I was obsessed with Iceland. It was like being on another planet, and I wanted to document my vision of it and share it with the world. That place is like a place where the earth takes out its frustrations. Glaciers, wind, volcanoes, earthquakes, rain, and just all around extreme weather. It's all there. It's as if you can see where a giant troll dug its finger in the earth and etched out valleys and canyons and all manner of patterns in the land. It's beautiful and humbling all at once. Standing next to a glacier and hearing it creak and moan as it carves a scar across the land is truly a spiritual experience, and that's what I hope to have captured and shared here with you.
So that's most of my story. It's still being written, and I've left out a few of the details, but I wanted you to know how I got to here. I want you to understand that for me, it's now become more about the journey, and sharing things about the world that you did not know about . The plight of our oceans. Shark populations being decimated. The beauty that exists in all of us. How our plant is so fragile, and it's being destroyed by our actions. It's all there, it's all connected, and that's what I hope to communicate to you with my photography. That's my purpose...