One day my brother just started saying "graaaaavy" in this long comedic drawl and decided it would be hilarious to make "gravy" my nickname. We were living with a group of friends steps from the Pacific Ocean in Venice Beach, CA, and would spend our free time wandering the walk streets, beach and canals, hanging out at places like Van Gogh's Ear and Brandelli's Brig, and of course having youthfully intense, often incredibly bizarre and funny conversations. Any subject was on the table and we'd ramble on long into the night full of joy and camaraderie. When we would inevitably come to some mind-blowing epiphany about the nature of life and the universe, my brother's face would slowly morph into this giant, silly grin and he'd say, "graaaaavy." Saturday and Sunday mornings we'd recover with breakfast at H.O.T. or Rae's Diner and some good ol' biscuits and gravy. What does it all mean? Well how about this: the reality of life - the day-to-day circumstances we find ourselves in - that's like your biscuits. They're sustaining and can be pretty tasty on their own, but aren't they just so much better with a nice big helping of gravy? After all, man does not live by biscuits alone.
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Then and Now My Journey
Taking shots of friends and then developing the film myself in the University of Buffalo photo lab is one of my favourite memories from college. There was no preview screen on the camera or photoshop for quick touch-ups, just film rolls, darkrooms and lots of chemicals. If you make a mistake today you just hit undo, but back then it meant starting from scratch or even losing shots for good! Things have changed in so many ways, but for me the emotion and fun of photography is stronger than ever and that’s what I want always to show in my work. After school I drove across the country and settled in the
Los Angeles area intent on using my creative talents to make a living. I drove a taxi, worked as a telemarketer, was an extra on TV shows and assisted on photo shoots to make ends meet. One day my fellow telemarketer said I should talk to her friend who was a television editor. Turns out they had a huge project starting and needed an assistant right away. It was the dawn of the digital editing revolution and I was blessed with creativity and a knack for tech so it wasn't long before I graduated from "gopher" (hey kid, go for a drive and pick up lunch/coffee/a producer from the airport) to assistant editor and and then a few years later to full-fledged editor.
Fast forward 5 years or so and Canon comes out with their first prosumer DSLR, the D60 with a whopping 6.3 megapixel sensor. I was hooked. No chemicals or darkrooms and by now from television editing I had all of these digital skills like Photoshop, compositing, color-correction and processing and most importantly a much more mature, cinematic eye. I had a blast with that D60 shooting friends weddings, trips, headshots for actors, but editing had become my main gig and by that time I was working long hours for the major broadcast networks. I would still shoot for fun, but didn't pursue it professionally. Then on a trip to New York City my D60 was stolen. I can still see the face of the thief's accomplice. He looked like a crazy-eyed Dave Chapelle with quite the gift for gab. It was a slick two man job at a Midtown Manhattan bus stop late one night when I was on my way to the airport. Crazy-eyes distracted me while his buddy silently rifled my luggage and made off with the camera case. That would be one of many New York City sagas I'd experience - just a few years later I was living the Big Apple lifestyle of life-altering, chronic trauma. As I learned to accept the constant assault on the human nervous system I did what good New Yorkers do and just settled in to becoming a functioning neurotic. Editing full time and no photography. Four years without a camera. I missed it and really understood through this experience that I didn't want to spend all of my time in an edit room disconnected from life and my ability to see things uniquely and document them with the art of still photography. I got involved with a yoga community and they needed photographers to document one of their big festivals so I bought a Canon Rebel, used some old manual lenses my aunt Doreen donated to the cause and was back shooting. The job went amazingly well and there were tons of great photo ops to get my creative juices flowing again. I did more yoga festivals travelling to Taos, NM and the Berkshires in MA, practiced by doing shoots with models and actors in New York and kept grinding at the full time network television job. TV was paying the rent (and paying for camera gear) but the work was definitely not feeding my soul. The signs that it was time to make a change were obvious so I pulled an "Escape from New York." Made it across the bridge without getting blown up by mines and had the capsules of poison implanted in my neck extracted just before dissolving and killing me. That wasn't me. It was Snake Pliskin - who I had actually met years before in downtown Toronto standing in line to buy tickets to The Matrix!
I became an editor and love photography in large part because I love good, creative film making. One of my first, true Hollywood jobs was for Jack Haley, Jr. who was the son of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. Golden age of Hollywood royalty. Having drinks and chatting with Tony Curtis at Elton John's party, bumping into Tim Burton at a premiere in an empty Grauman's Chinese Theatre lobby were among many interesting synchronistic showbiz experiences. There really is a magic to that world and being able to meet some true legends and some of my film heroes puts a very surreal icing on my career cake. Although I still love editing, I enjoy it infinitely more now that I'm not stuck high up in a Manhattan skyscraper. Most importantly it feels great having the time I need to slow down and experience more fully the world around me. A photograph is a visual time capsule - a physical representation of a particular time and place. But it can be much more than that if the photographer is tuned in to a deeper reality. Then, a photograph can transfix the viewer, giving them a sense of the timeless spiritual reality that exists beyond the veil of this material world.
Experience | Skill | Technology
Elevate Your Image
Picture a Soul
People have always been my favourite subjects for photography and I love creating an image that expresses someone's soul in a moment of time.