I have been fortunate enough to have a number of mentors in my life, many of whom happen to be photographers. There was my childhood next door neighbor who was a wedding photographer. He brought me on to perform normal day-to-day office work like sort through negatives, order wedding albums, and help keep things organized. I was immediately drawn to the work he was doing and very much wanted to learn as much as I could. He offered me free photo lessons on the side and guided me toward my very first camera purchase.
In high school, I enjoyed learning the fine art side of photography through my wildly talented high school photography teacher. His whimsical yet demanding approach to learning the medium is where I really found my love for photography. The weekly photo assignments had me out in the field creating work I never though possible only to then head into the magical darkroom where my visions became reality in the form of black and white photographs. It was a time when we mixed chemicals, exposed photographic paper to light, and truly made our pictures by hand. My high school photography teacher and I communicate regularly by phone even to this day.
When it came time to apply for college, there was only one thing I wanted to do and that was pursue photography. There were a number of colleges to choose from but I set my sights on Bard College in NY. The highly esteemed department of photography professors pushed my creativity even further and challenged me to create a style and approach to photography that I could claim as my own. While that is something I continue to strive for even to this day, the knowledge and experiences I gained during those 4 years have served me very well in establishing a career in photography.
It was during my time at Bard College where my interest in identical twins really blossomed. I spent my entire senior year photographing sets of identical twins. I recall road trips to various parts of NY, OH, MA, and NJ to meet with and photograph twins of all ages. It was a photography project that fascinated me greatly and brought me in contact with over 50 sets of identical twins over the years. Every so often, I learn of more sets of twins and when possible, I take up the opportunity to photograph them.
One of the things all my mentors (and most photographers mention in general) is that it becomes a challenge to balance the demands of owning and operating one’s photography business with the desire to create personal work. In the early years of building my business, I felt a strong commitment to focus my activities on the business itself. As time has gone on and my business has leaned more toward supporting itself, I have begun to take greater liberties in pursuing personal work. It has been very rewarding and in turn, informs and improves the work I create for my clients.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph a 1 year session for Christina’s daughter. We met at a local park and captured fun portraits of Christina, her husband, and her beautiful daughter. It as an extremely fun experience and following the session, Christina was kind enough to follow me on Facebook and Instagram. Of course I made sure to follow back. I always enjoy seeing people’s comments on the photographs I create for my couples and having the ability to stay connected on what is going on in everyone’s lives. While scrolling through my Instagram feed one afternoon, I saw Christina post a photo of her with her identical twin. I nearly passed out with excitement! Not only because she is an identical twin but because she and her sister look so incredibly alike. You’d think that after photographing so many sets of identical twins that the novelty of it all would wash a way a bit. But, not for me.
I reached out to Christina, briefly explained my twins project, and asked if she and her sister might be interested in participating. Thankfully, they both said yes. Here are just a couple of my favorites from a portrait session we had together at my studio. Projects like these inspire me and remind me to keep being creative and to never stop creating new work.