Who is this guy?
It’s a question I get asked occasionally walking around Petaluma. I’ve been told, “You talk a little different,” “You look like a cop,” “Oh, you take pictures.” “Oh, then you’re a right-wing, white christian male terrorist!” (No, I did NOT make that one up)! A small sampling of statements I’ve gotten over the years, most delivered in fun (not that last one) and being inquisitive, which we all are. Truth is, I’ve lived in Petaluma and traveled the San Francisco bay area for the last twelve and a half years! “Really, and you still have that accent?” (Again, not a joke).
In 2005 my wife and I moved across country to Petaluma for assignment to the Coast Guard Training Center at Two Rock. After retiring from there in 2011 having served 27 years, I was lucky enough to still have most of my GI Bill available to me. I was unable to pass it on to my children and I definitely was not giving it back to the government, so in June 2014 I found myself sitting in classes with the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Three years later, my degree would be a Bachelor of Fine Art in Documentary Photography of which I’m very proud of.
During class instructors would ask, “Who are you? What does your art and images say about you?” I would always answer, “I’m a kid from Kentucky, spent 27 years in the Coast Guard, and now I take lifestyle, documentary type images.” The usual reply was “So” and the occasional really honest instructor would say, “really, that’s your opening line, you need to work on that!” It took me awhile, but I did come up with an answer. More on that in a bit….
You may see me walking around our farmers markets asking for the opportunity to take images of the beautiful produce this area offers. Or if you spent the day with me, I might be doing a photo shoot at Point Reyes with an awesome young lady and her two horses, or as many have, I documented the terrible fires that struck our area. Depending on the time of year you might find me on a local farm helping weed row upon row of amazing foods or beautiful flowers being loved and grown by some awesome & strong lady farmers I’ve gotten to know. Or I may be walking around in my Disney mouse ears! You really just never know!
When you visit the front page of my website you’ll see my tagline has become “The Visual Storyteller of Your Life” Go ahead, take a look 🙂 You’ll also see I photograph Lifestyle, Documentary and Fine Art Portraits. What does all that mean? What’s a “Visual Storyteller?” You may hear my accent a little…I like this part!
Lifestyle photos – These are simply orchestrated photos to make them look like you’re out living your life and the harmony of the image is perfect. Nothing wrong with this at all. I love doing them but they are orchestrated. I’ve provided direction to move this way, turn your right shoulder, etc. I may locate some spots that if you trust my vision, will appear this is a natural occurrence and location in your everyday life. But how often do you really spend your day sitting beside a Ronald McDonald statue? Mostly your home, sometimes the park,wherever your favorite location, I love finding new areas, lets make it happen!
Documentary photos – Probably the strongest most thought-provoking photographs you have seen throughout your life. There’s no interaction between the photographer and subject. Some argue there is still direction of some form, but that’s not a subject for my blog today. The only thing actually planned is the session itself. Think of a mom sitting at the kitchen table helping her son and daughter make a bird house for their back yard. In documentary photos, the photographer does not intrude and suggest to mom, “bring your arm up, and kids turn and smile at the camera.” I’m with you to document the day, the excitement of a life event, nearby and prepared to provide you with the memories of the day as it unfolds. Here are two documentary examples the Woodacre Marin County Fire Crew taking a much needed break during the Nuns fires, & a precious friend holding her sweet young niece.
Visual Storyteller – That’s me 🙂 Remember I mentioned instructors would ask who I was, and what my art represents? As you might have guessed, between the lifestyle and documentary type images, I tell the story of your life by creating images that become a precious keepsake for you and your family to have. I show what you do at work, or when you go out to play on your day off. I’m there with you, crafting your story, your life, to someday show your grandchildren how much fun you had on that day and throughout your life.
I’ll go deeper into Lifestyle & Documentary soon. For now, I hope you enjoyed a little insight into who I am. You’ll see me downtown, sometimes even laying on the ground to capture a certain image. Yeah, I do that sometimes. I’m harmless, I’m not a cop, I do talk a little different, and I’m definitely not a terrorist. 🙂 I like a good hot white mocha & if you happen to notice a guy with a camera strapped around his shoulder (the blue strap is a dead giveaway), give me a shout. Chances are I’ll probably have some kind of Kentucky shirt on, I have lots of those! Let’s meet, talk about life, let me show you pictures of my kids, step kids, and awesome 4 grandchildren I have! Tell me your favorite Cabernet or Zinfandel wine!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about one of your neighbors. This kid from Kentucky would love the opportunity to create some lasting images for you and your family. Lets book a Spring shoot now! I make my home in Petaluma so I’m always around! You can find me on Facebook talking & posting about something silly, or my Instagram too! Oh, and if you do see me, ask about the day I mistakenly took my dog’s tranquilizer!! That’s a great story!
Till next time, be good to yourself and each other,