1. How long have you been a photographer?

Well I bought my first camera when I was 9 years old – a Brownie 1957 model. I
start shooting regularly at Bryanston (My High School) and learnt to print at 14 years old. My professional career as a photographer started in 1994 and I established myself in NYC in 1996 after stints in London, Milan and Paris…

2. What brought you into the field?

I consider myself a creative person whether I work with a camera, pencil or just brainstorming. At school I was being set up academically to study medicine. However on my own time I studied wood work, metal work, dress making, pattern cutting, weaving, pottery and of course photography. No one at my careers department ever mentioned a career in photography was a wise move in fact it wasn’t even a suggestion. The reality was when you went to a school like mine you were expected to get a “real” job not a hobby…. It was after my stint as a model that I realized that such jobs existed and could be fiscally worthwhile. I recently returned to my high school and I’m happy to report that they have a whole section now on entertainment and media in the careers dept! I big jump from modeling to photography happened in the mid 90s when the ‘Amazonian’ era I was a part of came to an end and the androgynous, heroin chic waif era started. I didn’t want to throw away years of experience an
d I gave it my best shot at photography.

3. What is your primary income stream?

Photography is the main income stream in any one category for my business. However at this stage in my career I obviously my money from TV/Film, book sales, Prints, Endorsements, Creative Direction and Production revenues.

4. How long did it take you to establish your position as fashion photographer?

You are constantly establishing yourself whether to your audience, editors or yourself. I started to get noticed as a young test photographer in Europe. When I came to NYC I worked 7 days a week testing young hopefuls and veteran models alike. It wasn’t too long before I became one of the go to test shooters favored by many of the top agencies like Ford, IMG, Elite and Click. That translated into editorial gigs with my first 14 page spread in Paper Magazine in 1998. The rest is history as they say.

5. What do you believe have been the key factors in your success?

I have always believed in hard work and dedication to your craft. Of course lucky breaks come your way but you need to be able to recognize an opportunity and act on it to produce another set of lucky breaks so to speak. Crissy, my wife has worked tirelessly by my side and I would be a shadow of the man I am today without her. I am not a one man show and never have been. In order to do what I do I have a team of diligent hard working folk who excel in their own areas like styling, make up, hair, production etc. They constitute my team and being able to pick a winning team is key. Hence management skills are key too.

I have also never just sat around waiting for some one to hire me and my team. We have always actively created opportunity and work by looking for holes in the market and approaching clients directly with how we feel they could benefit from our input creatively. In this competitive world you can’t expect people to just come knocking especially in NYC where you have the creme de la creme of talent.

6. Have you altered your career trajectory along the way? If yes, how often and why?

Not exactly but yes and all the time. What I mean by that is I never had a set idea of what I needed to accomplish or set boundaries for my business. I am delighted to tackle any creative task thrown at me whether it means appearing in front of the camera or behind it, designing or creating and both hands on or just on a consultant basis. You see for me photography although a love of mine isn’t really the defining element of who I am or what we do. Being creative is.
As you may know we spend much of our time creating exciting PSAs and films for various charitable organizations too which is certainly different from fashion yet we use the same principles to achieve success.

7. What advice would you offer a photographer interested in pursuing your career type?

First and foremost you have to believe in yourself. You need to learn to love what you do and what you stand for. You need to make statements to get noticed, whether you are loved for them or condemned for them is fine you just can’t afford to be ignored. Work hard and persevere, there’s no substitute for blood and sweat! Love what you do and you’ll find that the passion you show is contagious. Be good at what you do and the confidence you gain will set you free. Only then can you be spontaneous.