I was one of 6 kids in a merged family
best characterized as the Brady Bunch meets David Lynch surrealism. My
mom, oh so sturdy, worked as a purchasing agent, while my stepfather
had a boat business racing for Johnson outboard motors. They struggled
to feed all of us and provided a healthy physical lifestyle typical of
California. We camped, fished, water-skied, and dirt biked regularly.
Our household had many animals residing in it! Our neighborhood resembled
many of those in the old Doris Day films, quaint and protected from outside
My stepfather Bud loved to take photographs. I managed
to use his Nikon as I entered a beginning class at Cypress College in
California. I didn't ever imagine myself being a photographer or an artist,
even though that seemed to be the easiest outlet to express myself. I
always envisioned becoming a veterinarian. The funny thing is that I
just took a few photo classes for fun with John Wycoff, Marshal Lacour,
John Sexton and David Drake. Next thing I knew I was the freak in the
class spewing out a multitude of ideas. I wasn't very good with the technical
stuff at first--matter of fact I was a bonehead--but there was no shortage
of ideas. I did the array of photo classes and graduated. Encouraged
to go to the Art Center College of Design, I submitted a zone system
style portfolio and got advanced placement 3rd term. It was a boot camp
of a school. I did one term and removed myself for the sake of my soul.
Having worked a few seasons as a National Park Ranger, I returned to
Yosemite to gather my thoughts and escape the fast pace of education.
I looked into other schools; Cal Arts was super and too expensive for
me and the University of Arizona looked good, but they seemed more
academic and less hands on so I returned to Art Center for a couple more
terms. I won a scholarship and completed all the classes. At that time,
I was sort of an odd person for that institution, a free spirit. I think
they have loosened up now. I graduated top off my class, which was a
surprise to me. I was very happy about that for my parents, seeing how
I was the only child that went on to school.
Upon my exodus from Art Center, I received an internship
from National Geographic, from the new director, Rich Clarkson. Bob Gilka
was retiring and Tom Kennedy was coming on as Clarkson's associate. All
of these gentlemen were very inspiring and thoughtful to me; a greenhorn.
They made sure I was on the road a lot. My first gig was working on location
near Mt. Kennedy with Barry Bishop (the first American to climb Mt. Everest)
and Brad Washburn. I was in heaven in the Yukon for weeks! I was
and am so blessed with abundance.
Clarkson and Kennedy suggested that I go to New York
City. I choked and wanted to run to the Hungry Horse Newspaper for a
job in Montana. Four weeks later, I arrived in NYC, visited approximately
38 editors and art directors, shot four jobs in two weeks and I haven't
left yet! Now 15 years later, one son, and many travels loaded
with experiences not to be repeated, but embellished, I still love photography.
Photography has given
me so much more than I expected. One minute I'm working with a homeless
person, and the next a murderer, or a super star. Always learning about
life's gifts and how even though it feels limitless, a moment passes
ever so quickly. One minute I'm
on top, another I'm not. Challenged by current trends to
keep fresh, to decide what's important and map myself anew!
When I started I worked mostly for New York Magazine.
My first job was with Nan Goldin, another photographer with her own special
reputation. It was such a contrast meeting for both of us, I think. She
was living on the Bowery with her cat Milky. She had racks and racks
of clothing, and I was living out of a backpack, kind of a clean cut
California gal, inexperienced in the world of cities for true. I barely
had a drink under my belt, when I slammed into Manhattan. Meeting Nan
was like apple pie meets heroin chic. Laura Broadus and Susan Vermazon
(The New York Magazine), Frannie Ruch (Elle) and Mark Jacobson (New Look
magazine) kept me alive my first two years in New York.
I came to New York with
about $1000 in my pocket, 2 cameras, a Norman 200b and my backpack. I
can't image doing that again! I was lucky to hook into a funky loft downtown
where I lived for about 8 years. I was young and fresh. The photo community
was very welcoming to me. My second year out, Peter Howe (the New York
Times editor) gave me my first assignment with the magazine. For many
years to come Kathy Ryan and her staff incorporated my style into the
magazine. It was a great venue for a new photographer. I was working
a lot for Interview's Marc Balet and Mark Jacobson. Then the Saturday
Night Live show hired me for a season to photograph their television “bumpers.” That
was a terrific opportunity. I continued to work with Bill Black, currently
at Readers Digest. He gave me a number of traveling assignments doing
black and white projects for Travel Holiday. Prior to that I worked for
him at Travel & Leisure.
As time moved forward I teamed up with an agent and
pursued some advertising assignments. Currently I work editorial and
advertising assignments. I enjoy both and as long as there's something
to learn, I will always be taking pictures.
Photography has given me a silent license to move
in and out of many circles of life. I am grateful for this privilege
and consider myself Blessed. Taking a picture doesn't mean stealing a
soul if the subject allows it! A kind eye can reveal much emotion without
sacrificing anyone's integrity. Sometimes what is real isn't so beautiful
to the viewer's eyes. Sometimes I'll meet a person for the first time
and they'll be emotionally in another space and not with me. I only have
a short time to reveal a thread of what's actually shown. Sometimes I
don't take a single shot ‘til a day later, sometimes not at all.
I think curiosity is a good tool to map into a photograph--using my senses
has always been key.
In July of 2001 my son and I moved from the lower
eastside of NYC to New Mexico. We love our life. We have expanded our
little family to include roosters, chickens, dogs, donkey and horses.
We cook out all the time and enjoy campfires and music with friends.
Our life here is simple: we garden, cycle, do our art and music. Our
dreams are made of living creatively and our goals are to travel, surf,
camp and photograph. After spending 16 years in Manhattan this is a welcomed
change of pace and a lovely way to live. I welcome all travel assignments
and might mention that there's a huge saving shooting here in New
Mexico as production costs are much lower than in the major cities.
My life is my art and I have strong feelings about
creating work to inspire people spiritually. The modern world has pushed
so many species to extinction and confrontation. My dream is to touch
society through photography—to evoke an emotional response and
visually inspire mankind to express compassion for the Earth and the
animals that share this planet.
Blessings to All