How does a western landscape photographer who learned photography from people like Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, and Wynn Bullock come to have a wedding and portrait studio in Astoria, Oregon? And then become a writer, as well?
I started out doing "people photography" while still in college, and eventually became interested in the black and white landscape. I was very fortunate to get to know the photographers who influenced (I first met Adams when I was 14), but professionally I wanted to photograph people, and color, as well.
I soon signed on with a studio in San Francisco, where I was very well trained in both portraits and weddings. Fortunately the skills I had learned for people and for large format landscape photography are also the ones that equipped me to be a versatile studio photographer, able to create photographs of almost anything.
I found that I enjoyed doing weddings. I meet people at one of the high points of their lives, and I feel that I am giving the couple, and future generations, a part of their history.
When digital came along, I didn't switch immediately. I waited until the quality of digital photographs was better than that of film. and now all my color work is digital.
As to the writing, well, I always did like the idea of writing. I was in honors English at Stanford and took creative writing courses there, but didn' feel I had the knack of it the way I did photography. Many years later an editor asked me if I could write as well as photograph. I have no idea what inspired her to ask, but I said yes because i needed the work.
I discovered that years of listening to speech and observing the world had given me tools I lacked as a young man, and magazine deadlines forced me to buckle down and learn the craft. Now I write mostly about the people and places of the Pacific Northwest, and I thoroughly enjoy it. It has occurred to me, though, that one of the reasons editors hire me is that they don't have to pay for a photographer as well as writer.
Why am I in Astoria? Because I love the place. The Oregon Coast is a magnificent spot for landscape photography, a great location to write about, and I don't mind the rain. My family came to Oregon a century ago, and after many years photographing in California and the Southwest, I'm glad to be back.