Monique and I thought that, since we have this blog, we should take the opportunity to do a more detailed post about ourselves, what we do when we are not shooting, what we are passionate about, really anything we could think of that might help prospective couples get a little more insight into what makes us tick and whether we would be a good match for them as their wedding photographers.
I started photography in high school. I wasn’t in a photography class, but I would constantly borrow the cameras from my friends who were and help them with their assignments. At that time I thought it was great fun, but not really something that you would make a living at. In college I started out majoring in political science with a minor in art. By my second semester I finally took that photojournalism course and a light went off. Photojournalism IS the perfect combination of art and politics.
I then changed my major to Photojournalism, and dove right in! I was the California College Photographer of the Year in 1992. I was selected to attend the prestigious Eddie Adams workshop, and, after earning the designation as one of the top photographers of my class, I was awarded an assignment from Life Magazine. I lost girlfriends when I spent school vacations living under bridges documenting the lives of the homeless, and I was on my final internship in 1994 when I got a call from the Associated Press. There was an uprising in Chiapas, Mexico, and they needed a Spanish speaking photographer yesterday. In 5 days time I sold all my worldly possessions and booked a one-way flight to Mexico City. I worked for AP in hot spots throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean for the next 5 years before moving back and taking a staff photographer position at the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Monique and I met in college, but not until I moved back and was asked to speak at one of the photojournalism schoolʼs monthly speaker programs did we reconnect. We did th long distance relationship thing for about 3 years, and then we got married in 2002. Monique had worked at a newspaper in the Bay Area and done weddings on weekends before getting married. She started Photography by Monique, shooting weddings full-time beginning in 2002 while I was then assistant-director of photography at the newspaper.
By 2007 I could see the writing on the wall. The newspapers were in trouble. They could not figure out how to compete with the internet and were flailing about. I was shooting video for the web, stills for the paper, and doing instant updates from every assignment. Too much stuff to do means no single thing gets done well and I was not happy. I started shooting weddings with Monique and was pleasantly surprised to find that the weddings were more like what I consider real, story-telling photojournalism than the scripted and stage-managed assignments I had been doing at the newspaper. So I left the paper and never looked back, though I still do regular freelance assignments for news outlets such as AP and the New York Times.
In 2005 Reno modified the Truckee River downtown and built the first white-water park west of Colorado. It was a huge hit. In 2006, I had surgery on my foot that summer and since I could not back country ski or mountain bike, I needed to find something to do sitting down, so I decided to teach myself to kayak. That first year kayaking was rough! But having a whitewater park a few blocks from your house means you get in a lot of practice, and I fell in love with the sport. In 2009 I started competing in freestyle kayaking and creek races. In 2011 I ended up ranked 8th in the nation in the freestyle kayak point series. I just love everything about rivers, from the beauty and seclusion of Californiaʼs famous granite gorges, to playing on waves and hydraulics in my boat. Itʼs great exercise and keeps you stoked for the next adventure.
Iʼm pretty lucky in that I always have something to look forward to when I wake up. In winter, itʼs getting on my skis and exploring. In summer, itʼs getting in my boat and playing and when itʼs not either of those things, itʼs packing up my cameras and wondering what sort of great images and moments Iʼm going to find while documenting weddings.
As you can probably tell, my passion for photography is the common thread that runs through every aspect of my life, work and play. As you can also probably tell, I like doing a lot of very adventurous activities. What you probably can’t tell, unless we’ve met, is that I almost start salivating like Pavlov’s dogs when I hear of an amazing photo opportunity. I love photographing any wedding, but I especially love adventure weddings. If you are getting married on skis, in a boat, on top of a mountain, in Mexico, in the middle of nowhere, etc., we really need to talk.