Many people ask me how I got into photography. I thought it might be of some interest to tell that story.
As a child, I always had an interest in cameras and photos but I never thought it would become my career. Also, I had no interest in pursuing it as a career. Being a photographer isn’t a job; it’s a hobby or some kind of art form, like painting. Those are the thoughts that crossed my mind when I began to dabble in photography.
I was studying Education at UBC to get a real job (teaching), when I found a new opportunity. It was simple; I started dating a model. There’s no quicker way to spark up interest in the lens than when your new girlfriend – who I didn’t know at the time – was modelling on the side. She was also studying Education. How could this happen? Teachers don’t model, not even those training to be teachers. Well this one did! And when she started showing me photo examples from magazines that her agency wanted her to simulate, I took a keen interest.
I had a slight problem though: no camera! Fortunately, a lot of people did and when I started asking around, it turned out a friend of mine had a Pentax SF1, 35mm film camera. He said I could use it….just set it on Auto, point and take pictures. How hard could that be?
To my surprise, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. It makes it easier when you’re working with a beautiful and experienced model. We began shooting outside, as that seemed like a logical place to start. She’d stand in a doorway or under a tree, somewhere the light fell softly on her face. I’d look and think, ok this does look nice. With her ability to be natural in front of the camera and the fantastic light, I looked like a pro, right from the start. Soon her agency started using shots I had taken in her portfolio and for her comp card. I was hooked! Oh, I did end up teaching for 5 years, but was learning more about photography the whole time. I eventually quit teaching in 1996 to pursue photography full time, much to my parents’ delight, I might add! I’ve been shooting ever since. It has led to many areas of photography and film and I love it!