My love of photography was inherited.
Dad was never without his Nikon slung around his neck.To my knowledge he had no formal training, yet his images were stunning.
I had my first camera around the age of eight. It never occurred to me that I would one day be in the business of taking pictures.
I took the liberal arts track in college after an illuminating seven years at a girl’s school in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights. Mimicking my father’s career trajectory, I slid into my first paying job with an ad agency - BBD&O San Francisco - on the client/account side fetching coffee and answering phones.
Once “experienced” in the world of MAD MEN, I transitioned to the creative end as assistant to iconoclastic copywriter Hal Riney – then helming campaigns like Yamaha and Orville Redenbacher for Botsford Ketchum.
Well-crafted TV commercials can elect presidents. Riney was credited for getting Reagan in office a second time.
But for me, long format programming held more interest. More pictures, more story.
I looked over the horizon and saw the idiot box in the distance. An opening came up at the Westinghouse flagship station KPIX-TV, also in San Francisco, and I snatched it.
This glamorous entry point began in the commercial sales department selling air-time.
Not a good fit.
From there, within the station I eased into a field crew position as its audio assist, shooting commercials for a purveyor of bedroom mattresses. The spots ran after midnight and were X-rated.
I met a guy. He convinced me to switch coasts and move to Philadelphia.
In a less than seamless transition I worked in fashion at the historic Strawbridge & Clothier Department Store as a special events coordinator before joining forces with KYW-TV in variety programming.
Before Maury Povich was DNA testing young men for paternity, he hosted a 90-minute live show I associate-produced that was a chaotic mix of talk and music. So beyond the on-screen confessions of murdering housewives we had performances from the likes of Ben Vereen, Smokey Robinson and Spiro Gyra.
Three or so years into Philly cheesesteaks and stick-ball, my longing for the Pacific Ocean beached me. I crossed the country again to continue in television in Los Angeles.
My clients here included ABC, NBC, CBS, Warner Bros., Paramount, Lifetime, A&E Biography, Actuality Productions, The History Channel, Telepictures, Fox and Lorimar.
I worked on camera as an entertainment reporter and behind-the-camera as a writer, field producer-director.
A fashion highlight of that long career was an assignment to write and produce the hour-long television documentary on Estée Lauder, the woman and the cosmetics empire she built in NYC.
Photography has a shelf life not enjoyed by fast-food TV.
I love its permanency. Fashion, is a visual, tactile representation of our history.
That resonates with me.
Fashion photography, without a word in print, can tell a compelling story.
That’s why I’m doing what I do.
In my partnership with Chris Ross Leong it’s my job to pull the pieces together – the location, the models, the stylists and to share in the oversight of the business end of things. I document the prep with my trusty Leica which shoots both stills and video.
So, in the end, I’m not so far from where I began...