My path to becoming a professional photographer was not a linear one. I first became fascinated as a child, in what was then the Soviet Union, spending time with my father in his make-shift darkroom. I never got tired of seeing black and white negatives, unrecognizable, projected on a sheet of paper and then watching images magically appear in the developer tray.
Years later, my family moved to California where I studied architecture at UC Berkeley, and took courses in painting, drawing and photography. Right as I was about to graduate, I realized that photography has truly captured my interest.
I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but I had no idea how to make that leap. An ‘ah-ha’ moment came when I saw an architectural photographer at work on an image at the Skywalker Ranch, on a shoot commissioned by an acoustical engineering firm where I was working after graduating from Berkeley.
The magic occurred in the Final Mix room, when I saw the photographer use lighting to make the space come alive. The processes I witnessed that day solidified my determination to pursue architectural photography. That same photographer, Doug Salin, became my mentor, and eventually took me on as an assistant.
The year was 1989, when professional photographers were using a 4X5 camera, shooting transparencies. The process was slow and painstaking, and the media unforgiving. As the art advanced engaging digital technology, the lessons learned previously provided a foundation to further develop my methods and style of work. Digital tools give me an opportunity to use the space itself as a canvas, letting me build mood and atmosphere by layering light within the space.
Forming long-term relationships, some of them spanning more than 20 years, and contributing to my clients’ growth and success by creating outstanding images has been the core of my business model for the past 28 years.
Success of every shoot, first and foremost, depends on fulfilling the client’s needs and expectations. In order for me to fully grasp the client’s needs, I like to start with the basics - layout, massing, functionality, and then move to the more subtle, intangible qualities, where I search for deeper meaning in the project. My inspiration comes from the awareness of the architect’s “emotional investment” in the project - what were some of the driving forces - love, passion - that shaped the design process?
My goal is to always meet and exceed expectations by creating images that inspire, surprise, trigger an emotional response, and provide my clients with potent ‘ammunition’ for getting new work and recognition.