Night Photography has been my passion since I was first handed a camera 30 years ago. No, my father did not give me a Brownie, but my girlfriend introduced me to her Canon AE1, which I promptly took into my bedroom, turned off the lights, opened the shutter, and started waving a flashlight around to see what would happen. From the first rolls of film that I ever shot, I have been fascinated with the way that time can be expressed and distorted with long exposure photography. The ability to make images that record time differently that how we perceive it with our eyes has held my attention for all of this time.
After exhausting all of the photography classes at the local community college, I moved to San Francisco to study with legendary Bay Area night photographer Steve Harper. Studying with Steve was a life changing experience. In his classes, I learned not only about night photography, but I learned what it meant to be a great teacher. When I began to teach my own workshops eight years later, I based my workshops on my time with Steve. His classes were all about sharing ideas. There was no competition, no rivalry, and the students and instructor all worked and learned together in the most supportive and friendly environment I’ve ever experienced.
I taught my first night photography workshop at Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco in 1998, and knew after that experience that I wanted to teach, and to take the reigns from my mentor, who had recently retired. Since then, I’ve taught well over 100 night photography workshops around the US, and led more than 20 international photo tours. I’ve written 2 books on the subject, and lectured on night photography at conferences in Glasgow and San Paulo, at the Photo Plus Expo, and at the School of Visual Art in New York, as well as in Boston, Houston, and San Francisco.
For me, teaching is not about showing people how to do what I do, but helping people to open the doors and windows to their own creativity, and how to find meaning in their work. Much more than the technical aspects of photography it’s facing those big questions that lead to real growth as an artist. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to do work that I love and to share what I have learned with others who catch the night photography fever.