It wasn’t my dream to be a photographer. Growing up, I wasn’t “The Kid With The Camera”.
I wanted to beat working; I’ve never been a nine to five guy. I’ve always tried to have two or three jobs instead of one boring one.
At twenty I took a trip around Europe. I had my camera with me. When I came back I showed my pictures to people and they said “Wow, you’re really good at this.” I worked part time jobs and did more traveling. I had tea with the Dalai Lama. Took his picture. I met Kim Campbell in Yemen, and had lunch with her and did a portrait of her.
I built my own darkroom. I loved to play in it.
One day, sitting around with a friend, I was painting with oil on top of black and white prints, and we got into an argument: am I just colouring, or am I an artist?
So I applied to the Ontario College of Art to find out. It was a joke. I went for an interview. Forgot all about it. A few weeks later a letter came in the mail. I was accepted.
I took three weeks off work waiting tables, figuring I’d meet some “college girls”. I stayed for four years. It gave me a chance to concentrate on something and hone a craft and take 100 000 photos.
I graduated at 32. I’d met my wife Risa, and we were settling down. I didn’t want to take any travel jobs or be anybody’s assistant.
I printed up some business cards. Before long, I had a good business going.
Now I shoot forty weddings a year. I’ve taught at Humber, Havergal College, the International Academy of Design and Technology, and I mentor. I do remembrance photography for the charity Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I take portraits and headshots. I do pictures for greeting cards and exhibitions. I shoot properties and corporate events and plants and celebrities and animals.
My favourite subject is my daughter Jennie. I’ve got hundreds of photos of her on this site. You can flip through them and see her hair grow. I like photographing her, seeing her grow up in my studio. There’s a story there. It’s easy to do.
Now I have my three jobs. I’m a photographer, a carpenter and a stay at home dad. Not necessarily in that order. As I said, none of this is the product of a lifelong pursuit. It’s been more of a Taoist fashion of following opportunities. Life led me here. I’m glad it did. I like it here.