I’ve been fortunate to have had three careers in my life: Photography, Advertising and Brand Design. When I started working as a photographer during college, I didn’t know then that this work would help lead me to my careers in advertising and then brand design. And, how would I have known during my years in advertising and brand design that those endeavors would lead me back to photography. My life has come full circle.
For my first 20 years or so of life, my father was a professional photographer. He owned and operated his own professional photography practice and studio in the small town where I grew up, Middletown, in the country’s smallest state, Rhode Island. My father emigrated to the US as a child from the Azores, Portugal, an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I am proudly first-generation American. He joined the US Army Air Force during WWII. He became a trained documentary and journalistic photographer assigned to a squadron of B17 bombers located at an airbase in Northampton, England. After the war, my father graduated from the first Bahaus design school in the US, The Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, (IIT) Chicago. At IIT he learned photography from a different angle, as both a fine and commercial art. Some of the faculty at IIT at the time included Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, among others.
My father’s passion, knowledge and dedication to photography was a big influence on me as a teenager and young adult. He inspired me to learn the art and craft of photography through countless hours he spent with me in the field shooting in our small but beautiful state, and in the basement darkroom my father built. During high school I worked at a camera and hobby shop in town after school and on weekends. This job taught me about SLR and rangefinder cameras, film processing, film types, lenses and optics, and all other aspects of film photography. My Father had his studio in the camera/hobby store where I worked. I assisted him during his portrait sessions and location shoots. These were good times. We were often in the darkroom together enlarging and crafting our prints, dodging and burning, spot controlling areas in the enlargement, toning prints and many other techniques. We exhibited together at numerous art festivals in Rhode Island.
When college rolled around, I decided to study photojournalism at The University of Rhode Island (URI). I worked as photographer and lab technician at the University’s Audio Visual Center, and during summers as a photographer at a boutique PR and Ad agency in Providence, RI. These photography jobs, and savings from my camera/hobby store job, paid my way through college, and led me to my next career step, advertising. I studied advertising at one of the top advertising graduate schools in the country, The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, outside of Chicago. Armed with my Masters degree in advertising and my photography credentials I entered the advertising industry in New York City, and later in San Francisco, working at a number of large, multi-national advertising agencies on both coasts.
Following 12 years in advertising, my next move was to transition to a growing field at the time, brand design. To start, I opened and ran the New York office for a California-based design firm. This was followed by a position at a New York City design division of a large multi-national ad agency. It was during this time that I met my future business partner. This led to a near 30 year run with us owning and operating an independent, international brand design firm headquartered in NYC with an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
My business partner and I recently sold the business and my path back to photography is now wide open. Over my 42+ years in advertising and brand design I had the good fortune of working with hundreds of still photographers and cinematographers. The talent out there is enormous. The cumulative effect of working with all these talented people inspired me to return to my active photographic roots. Happy to share my view, as well as some of my portfolio with you.