My dad taught me how to print black-and-white photographs practially before I could write.
Between the time I started out as a fledgeling fashion and beauty photographer (after training and apprenticeship and assistantship, the old school way) and my present position as the head of an indie production company in Los Angeles, I must have founded, operated in, been a partner in, or just helped out in over eight professional studios and ateliers around the world, that have had more than a couple hundred young photographers pass through on their way to their own careers as professional lens people.
As a fashion photographer I have photographed thousands of models in my career, and even today can tell at a glance the real models from the modules, and, alas, the real muddles.
In other fields of photography, I've been less heralded, and probably more successful. My current collection of stock photos for sale (of less glamorous but no less beautiful or striking images of places, animals, buildings, everyday subjects) started when the 500px stock service was just beginning, has now been transferred over to the prestigeous Getty Images library, and continues to grow to this day.
So in a sense what you're getting from me rather than a school or YooglePedia "trained" photography teacher is a real feeling of photographic tradition and a solid technical base that we'll work together on to make transparent enough, over time, that your photos will seem like effortless snapshots that just so happen to be awesome every time - and you won't let on to anybody else how many hours of sweat and toil it actually took you to get to that level!
Sounds easy, right? Well, no. It is simple. But nothing worthwhile ever came easy.
Ready to bite the bullet and get really good at this?
Creating good art always gives me a sense of accomplishment and deep satisfaction.
Of course, it also comes with some regret, and yet more hunger to do better next time (more on that later)
Someone once said that human beings only do two lasting things on this planet: they make marks on a wall to show people they were once here, and they make younger people to take their place, and look at those marks.
I've been very lucky in my life to be able to have had a hand in both of these things.
The one, my son, is in his late teens and will be on his way to his own journey soon enough.
The other, my own marks, and the marks left by the people I've entrusted with the knowledge passed on to me by my predecessors, are what they are - proof that we were once here, we had a brain cell or two, we had some sense of feeling, and that we were able to articulate that feeling in something that lasts.
What more can one ask for?
Chris is passionate about his work and shares it with enthusiasm . He has taken my beginning editing to new levels by teaching techniques and ideas that make an immediate difference in each photograph.
Chris has a passion for photography and an eye for design. He opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities with editing photos. He is knowledgeable and willing to share his experiences.
First things first:
Who are you? Where did you come from, photographically speaking? Where are you going, photogaphically speaking?
Depending on your answers, what I'll usually do next is to come up with a further set of questions to refine our sense of your current technical and artistic level.
Then, based on the above, I'll set out a few possible courses of action leading to the design and implementation of a select set of classes, exercises and milestones to help you develop your eye and sense of timing, and get your photos looking better than ever before.
Old school. For me, this means apprenticeships in London and Hong Kong over many years, leading to assistantships and then to partnerships in several professional photo studios around the world.
Photography then was more complicated than it is now. The physics of optics and mechanics, with the addition of electronics are the same as they ever were, but the chemistry aspects of real film have largely passed us by.
However, large format photography is still film and chemistry based, and if you want to want to get deeply into that, I'd be pleased to take you through it too.
Not as such. However, let me put it this way:
I spent well over three years and all my income over those three years getting a very solid foundation in the craft that's been supporting me and my family since then. That's a lot of time and money.
What's it worth, to you?
I'm actually a pretty rotten teacher.
Since I was brought up in the if-you-can't-do-teach school of thought, all my "gov'nors" (mentors) have pretty much given me such knowledge I have in exchange for hard labor and on the understanding that in time, I too would have youngsters to pass the accumulated information onwards.
So I've had a series of apprentices, and assistants over the decades of my own, and as such have developed a pretty efficient system of finding out how much they already know, how well they know it, what they want or need to know, and where they are headed.
It's really been a case of do unto others, in the end.
Mostly young professional photographers, screen writers, film makers, editors.
All wanted to better themselves and their art.
All were of the opinion that knowledge is acquisitive. i.e. YooglePedia style spoon-feeding isn't useful to good art, in the long run.
All wanted a more robust way of sustaining themselves and their self-expressions in a meaningful way.
This morning - a brand new day, full of chances to make it worth remembering.
I was going to say 'look for someone who's just been where you're going' but that may just be my pilot's training kicking in.
Ultimately what you should be looking for is a way to express yourself in as succinct a manner as possible.
From the neck down.
Who are you, really?
Where have you been, really?
Take away your YooglePedia implement. No iPhone, tablet, laptop, decktop, internet, books. Now. How much do you really know, without those aids? How fast can you really run, without the tool (bicycle, car, plane) for the mind that seemingly makes life so very easy?
With that in mind, where are you headed? Do you know?