A question I get asked a lot is "when did you become a photographer?" The best answer I can come up with is "since I was a little kid." If you mean professionally, then it has been over twenty years full time but I became a photographer long before it became my means of income. My mother was an artist and liked to take pictures so I would sometimes borrow her camera and make some images. She must have sensed my interest and gave me a Kodak Instamatic film camera when I was around twelve years old. My parents never complained about the cost of buying film and paying for the processing which was pretty cool. I just learned as I went along. Trial and error. Experiment and then wait for the results. Sometimes the wait would be weeks and I would forget what was on the roll of film when we picked it up from the drugstore lab. I would use black and white film and color negative film. It would be several years before I would graduate to the world of high color saturation and depth with Kodachrome 64 and other slide films. More trial and error. More expense. Long waits for the results. This was how I learned photography. But shoot I did and slowly developed a passion for capturing special moments or even creating special moments to capture! Enough talk, let's move on to some images and take a little trip down memory lane.
My first classic shot was this one of Pittsburg Pirate great Roberto Clemente being interviewed on the field before a Dodger game. This was either 1971 or 72 and I was either six or seven years old.
I had this Jackson's chameleon for a while. My first attempts at action photography while feeding it crickets proved rewarding and I was stuck. 1975This is Hector. Classic dog with plenty of personality. Here he guards my dad's steaks on the hibachi. Sweet or vicious, he could be both.
My slide show parties were highly anticipated events. It motivated me to keep creating more interesting and compelling images. Kind of like Instagram is today.
I was a photographer for the school yearbook my senior year. This was the kind of stuff I submitted. That book is full of our campus antics.
I learned so much about photography by trying to emulate photos I would see in Skateboarder Magazine. This is John Moore sunset skating a drainage ditch below my house. 1977
A black and white contact sheet from our half pipe ramp. 1978
Always sniffing out great skate spots, this pool was known as "The Jungle" and we spent many hours riding it. 1980
My "brother" Wally Boss was one of my favorite subjects. Gifted with talent, he was always exciting to watch and adventure with. Backside grind with my pal Todd Lookinland watching from above.1981
Karl, Steve and Greg hanging out in front of my Hightide Drive home. 1981
Saw my name buried on a snowy camper. Mammoth Mountain 1980
I was a beginning skier but my friends were all pretty good. I had a hard time keeping up so it was always a pleasure to stop and shoot some action shots. Graeme Scott. Mammoth 1980
John "Muff" Burton was the ruler out at our local surf spot. He was a smooth and powerful surfer and a true "local." This is one of my early water shots using some kind of a bag housing that leaked soon after. 1980
I have always been a fan of shadow "selfies." Me, Karl and Greg walking out to our favorite spot one morning. 1981Sunrise silhouette surf check. 1981
Wally Boss and Camelot. 1980
This is Wally impressing us on his dirt bike at the old rock quarry in our neighborhood. Totally illegal to be riding motorcycles there of course. Darren Olds showing his encouraging stoke. 1980
Wally loved to put on firework displays! More long exposure, night photography experiments. Once again, the wait for the results could take weeks. There was nothing like opening that box of slides when they were ready to see how these experiments worked out. Today's digital shooters can fine tune and tweek settings immediately to dial in the best results. 1980
Portuguese Bend. This was where we learned to surf. In the background you can see Marineland By The Sea. I had my first job there sweeping up the park. I'll never forget having the dolphins surprise me with a ball to the head while sweeping up near their tank post show. 1979
My other "brother" Greg and I did it all together through high school. His surfing was and still is better than most. Newport 1980
Another early water housing shot. Manhattan Beach 1980
My parents took us on a family vaction to Cabo San Lucas back in August of 1980. Triple digit temps at the beach, pumping surf and no one around. We stayed right at the tip at the classic Finisterra Hotel. I played around with my water housing for this one.
Greg eyes the prize.
It was also around this time that our pal Todd Lookinland turned us on to the Grateful Dead. Here he is dead center at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley waiting for the show to start. 1981
I decided to post up next to the stage for photos. From what I remember, it was no big deal to get near the stage back then. The energy of anticipation before a Dead show was electric. We caught as many shows as we could back then and we were still in high school making the 8 hour drive to the Bay Area for runs at the Greek or Oakland Auditorium or the Civic in San Francisco. It was a "deaducation." 1981-82
I feel very lucky to have been a part of this unique musical tribe.
Jerry was such a mellow powerhouse. What a special talent.
Experimentation with double exposure. Long Beach Arena 1980
This was an attempt to splice two transparencies together. Photoshop was decades away. Las Vegas 1981
After graduating high school I went off to San Diego State and joined up with an eclectic bunch known as the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. I soon became the house archivist and once again, my slide show parties were off the hook events with everyone wanting to see more. Here is a group of us out for a sail on Mission Bay. 1985Kenny and Kevin. Puerto Nuevo, Baja. 1985
My buddy Chris taking a nap in secondary at the
San Ysidro border.My friend Stacey (on the right) grew up in La Jolla and introduced me to Bird Rock and Windansea
I lived in a house known as The Fishbowl due to the fact that it was on a busy corner with large windows and no curtains. It was always entertaining to watch the parade of people walking by every day. Punks. 1985
The Paladins were a local rockabilly band that we became friends with and would have them play at our house parties. 1984
|More night painting. |
Friday afternoon "TG's" were a big deal. Hundreds of people would turn out to party.
One party had a skate demo
|Steve Schneer, the Ho Ho man himself!|
A male bonding Coors ad?
Mike Mowrey and I playing with perspectives. 1985
Mel Bergman giving his best Dirty Harry impression
Legendary waterman Dr. Dorian Paskowitz. I somehow arranged a meeting with the man in Mexico to interview him for a journalism assignment. (I can't begin to remember how) Once again, if this was today, I would have shot quite a bit more than ONE SHOT of such a great subject. I look back and wonder what the hell I was thinking? San Miguel, Baja. 1984
Paul, Mike and Mike. What can I say? These guys made me laugh all the time. Too bad I I no negative for this one. Black's Beach 1983
I was laughing so hard when I took this photo of Mike coming out of lockup. What a character! 1983
|Wally's visits were always welcome and full of fun.|
Dave Jessup. A Pepsi and sandwich after paddling the Catalina Classic. 1986
Another interview I did for one of my journalism classes was with KCRW Reggae Beat dj Roger Steffens. I was lucky enough to catch him one Sunday in Santa Monica with the legendary Mighty Diamonds. 1986
One of my first favorite portrait images. I was doing a story for La Jolla Magazine about this 96 year old Mexican potter who still lived in La Jolla. His name was Cornelio Rodriguez. Photographed with good old Kodak Tri-X black and white film. 1985Don Scoles taught me the joy of eating sea urchin. Baja 1985
I never did get to see Bob Marley as I got into reggae shortly after his death. Seeing his fellow Wailer Bunny perform in Long Beach for the first time in the US in years was special. 1986
Joe Higgs told me he taught Bob Marley how to sing. He was a kind and generous man allowing me to interview him backstage before this show at The Belly Up in Solana Beach. 1986
One of my all time favorite singers Alton Ellis. La Paloma Theatre, San Diego 1985
This photo is a classic. Ras Michael and friend, backstage at the Belly Up. 1985
I'll close out this part of my retrospective with this shot of one of one of the early Reggae On The River festivals. 1985