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I graduated from Cornell in the Spring of 1986 and moved to New York City.  I shared an apartment at 30th & 3rd with a college roommate for two years through the summer of 1988.  At that time I wanted to go to grad school to get my MFA so I might end up teaching so, applied to MFA programs at Yale, RISD and NYU.  I wanted to go to Yale or Rhode Island School of Design but, they largely accepting those whom had been working on their thesis for 5-10 years and my commercial work experiences were largely looked down upon. I got into NYU but felt I needed some more grass, trees and fresh air so, I moved back to Ohio. My time in New York City was incredible and it certainly made its mark upon me but, life has a way of taking you where you need to be (An Architectural Photographer).  I am very happy I ended up where I am, as opposed to where I thought I wanted to be (A Collegiate Professor). Maybe I didn’t end up teaching but, I still regard myself a teacher.  Instead of teaching to a class, I merely take on one student at a time and their education tends to be 2-3 years (and they even get paid). They are known as my assistants, past & present, and I care for them deeply.

Assistant’s are often the behind the scenes, uncelebrated and under appreciated team members that help a shoot come together.  The assistant allows the photographer to focus on their vision, while they lug equipment, set up lights, cameras and computers and through and through, keep a shoot running smoothly.  I wanted to take a few moments to give some acknowledgement to some of my assistants, past & present, in chronological order, put faces to the faceless and let the world see some of the truly GREAT work they are doing!

Stuart Hart was my assistant many years ago.  Stuart was a wonderful assistant and very talented.  With my encouragement to go work with the best, Stuart moved to New York City to try assisting in the big city and there, Stuart got smart.  Stuart saw two people on set, doing virtually the same job.  There was “the Assistant” who was facilitating things but was getting very little respect and also very little compensation and then there was this other guy called “the Producer” who was facilitating things and was getting total respect and, in turn, was getting compensated with big bucks so, Stuart became a producer.  He is now one of the Owners of TNC Productions, one of New York City’s top production companies and now works on some amazing campaigns, as you can well see below.

Photography for Absolut, American Airlines & Ram Trucks by Erik Almas
Photography for Pony Baby & Adidas by Sacha Waldman

Then there is Jason Meyer who followed Stuart and, after 5 years of assisting, became my Associate. Jason does wonderful work in both Architectural and Rock & Roll arena.  Jason has been my right arm for more than a decade and I will forever be indebted to him for all of his diligence and hard work.  He has been shooting live Music for more years than he has been with me (which is about 15) and his work is some of the best out there.  Please take a moment to check out the Rock & Roll stuff as it will knock you off your feet (as shown below, WOW!).

Following Jason was the fantastic Andrew Frasz.  Andrew, like Stuart, moved to New York City and has assisted some great great photographers, certainly greater than I.  Andrew is like a sponge and I see him sucking up all the wonderful experiences he has had and then turning all his immense knowledge to create images that are uniquely his own.  Every time I go to Andrew’s website I am simply blown away.  His work has so much sensitivity, openness, heart and grace that I am always in impressed by how far he has come and know that the sky is the limit as far as how far he will go. It is definitely worthy of your time to take a look as what you will see is special on every account.

Next came Dustin Halleck.  Dustin after working with me moved to Chicago, with his now wife while she pursues her medical degree.  Dustin’s vision is unique and he is fascinated by the world both great and small.  I found myself on many shoots, would be setting up and would look around only to find Dustin on his hands and knees photographing a flower or insect.  His investigations into the micro worlds of flowers and insects is awe inspiring. I am perpetually amazed by his work.

Last but certainly not least is the fantastic work of my current assistant, Lauren Davis.  She is certainly no slouch and amazes me daily with her work and creativity.  She may be at the
beginning of her photographic journey but her enthusiasm, talent and vision will take her far.  She will undoubtedly have a very long a fruitful career (if I ever let her leave assisting me).  Definitely worthy of a look and her absolutely wonderful work.

If I leave this world and all I have to show is the fact that I have helped these fine men and women along their journey, the great work that all of them are producing will be enough.  Each has impacted on me and ceaselessly inspire me.  I hope I have, in some small way, helped them along their journey and the time they spent here with me was valuable.

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