When I was ten I “borrowed” the camera at our family Christmas party. Most of the photos that year turned into weird close ups of people’s faces with the occasional photo of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja actions figures I had received that year. The next year my Aunt brought me a disposable camera to use. Throughout high school I would occasionally buy a disposable camera and walk around the neighborhood and parks in Bedford, Ohio taking rudimentary photos. None of the prints were that good, but the thrill, for me, was in the physical action of photographing things. While applying to Kent State University and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life I saw Photo Illustration on the list of possible majors. The joy of those Christmas parties and neighborhood strolls came back to me.
Before moving to San Diego in 2012 I worked at Taxel Image Group, a commercial photography studio in Cleveland, Ohio that specialized in food, people, architectural and product photography, for three years. I started there as an intern but gained trust from my mentor and boss Barney Taxel, and was eventually named associate photographer. I was able to practice the craft of photography there as well as refine and my abilities in retouching. Before leaving for the West Coast we completed the photography for the book “Cleveland’s West Side Market: 100 Years and Still Cooking.”