Growing up in Rochester, NY, everyone’s father, including mine, worked for Eastman Kodak Company. My first camera was a Kodak Brownie, found in a shiny yellow box under the Christmas tree when I was 6. For the next 15 years, I had an unlimited supply of not only steady encouragement, but of free film and processing. I never knew what a gift that was until I became a professional.
My father, a research physicist at Kodak, taught me the physics and chemistry of photography by drawing on napkins at the dinner table. I’m still awed that light travels in straight lines! With that knowledge I could do anything – scramble the light rays through a diffusion material to soften them, focus the light through a baffle to make it sharp, and bounce it with mirrors and fill cards to put it anywhere.
In Rochester, photography was the prime entertainment when families got together. There would always be a slide show after dinner. We’d all help put up the screen and plug in the Carousel projector. It meant seeing the father’s latest photos: the recent vacation, bird pictures, landscapes. And since these were Kodak scientists, there was a steady voice over of technical data. It was like being in graduate school for photography. Sometimes my mother said they’d go on too long, but I loved it and remembered everything.
I graduated from SUNY Binghamton, where I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, with a degree in English literature and then moved to New York. For the next four years I was a photo assistant at the studio of master advertising photographer Carl Fischer. I then opened my own business specializing in corporate and portrait photography, both on location and at my Manhattan studio. I love the nexus of science, technology, art, psychology and laughter that is portrait photography.