Location: Brooklyn, NY.
Duration: Three years.
Education: After I graduated with a masters in jazz piano in Indiana, I hoped to land a steady job at a university teaching jazz. But I slowly fell out of love with playing music and felt at a loss for career options when I came New York.
A temp job at New York University in Tisch School of the Arts had me doing lots of marketing, design, branding and even a little bit of photography, and I loved it! From there I was self-taught through experimentation as an iPhoneographer (in 2009, before Instagram) and feedback from a small community of other photographers on Twitter and Flickr.
Big break: My commercial career snowballed with Instagram. Brands approached me for work before I had ever even considered a career in photography.
Cultural influences: Everyday life on the streets of New York. Even if I don’t have a camera with me, I am constantly framing images with my eyes, noticing how people naturally pose, how light interacts with their faces and figures, trying to get to the essence of human emotions and personality. This is what I want to bring out in my work, so I am continually observing.
Artistic influences: Avedon, Leiter, Shore, Lorca DiCorcia, Meier, Webb and Davidson. I am also heavily influenced by my peers.
Best work: Photos of my family—my wife, two sons and myself. Family moments provide a record of my life and the ones I love. It is also a great creative challenge to take one subject and shoot it continually for many years.
Work environment: My studio is a beautiful space in Industry City (Sunset Park, Brooklyn) that I share with my wife’s stationery, gift-wrapping and party supply business. There is usually tons of confetti on the floor.
Approach: I aim to shoot authentically for the moment and time that we are in—culturally, artistically, personally. While visual style is important, it’s equally important to be adaptable, to be able to shoot a diverse range of styles and to constantly evolve your skillset. Like many creatives, I live and work in constant fear of becoming irrelevant!
Aspirations: More video work. It’s very cool to translate your visual style into motion, and it really tests your storytelling ability. I want to offer as much value as I can to a client—stills, motion, social media, web, print—and make it easy for them to retain a continuity of visual style.