I am the child of immigrants and if you know anything about what it’s like to come to a country with nothing but the clothes on your backs, you will understand why the Yashica 35mm camera my father owned was one of his most prized possessions.
It took me till 13 years old to convince my father that I was mature enough to hold it and take my first photographs on a family vacation at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Lucky for me, my mother had the habit of tipping the camera up or down when she snapped a photo inevitably cutting my dad’s head or feet off in every vacation photo she took.
You know when something feels right the very first time you try it. I was captivated by the technology, the feel of the camera in my hands, but even more so, by the act of “story-telling” in the click of a shutter. In high school, I got a Pentax 35mm from the photography department and worked in the dark room for so many hours that I reeked of chemicals for days afterwards. In college, I bought my first camera with money I made from my first part time job at a bank. It was a Nikon FE-2 SLR that I still own to this day. (I meant to sell it a bunch a times but just couldn’t part with my old friend.) That camera helped me earn the Carl Duisberg Society’s Bundestags Program scholarship that took me to Berlin, Germany to study and apprentice in fine art photography. It has been many years (don't ask me how many, but trust me a lot!) since that wonderful time in Europe and I have been a professional photographer and visual artist ever since. And guess what - I still delight in story-telling one shutter click at a time.
And it all started at the Kennedy Space Center… taking a photo of my father, mother and brother standing beside an astronaut’s spacesuit… using my dad's prized Yashica.