My career in the motion picture industry is rooted in an early infatuation with photography. My childhood was documented with a Kodak box camera and 620 size black and white film. To me this ability, of a 'glass-eyed' black box, to freeze moments in time bordered on magical. No less intriguing was the home movie camera. How I loved my grandfathers' 8mm movies recording family gatherings, holidays and vacations. I was en-tranced by the camera magic that caused people and things to appear and disappear. The movie cameras ability to warp time by speeding-up a 'kitchen shot', of grandmas and aunts preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, into 60 seconds always got a laugh. The grace of a slow-motion 'belly-flop' from the high-dive resulted in a mesmerising explosion of reflective, jewel-like abstracts of water slowly unfolding. For me these were magical moments. Moments when the drone of the projector would dwindle into encroaching silence, time suspended as the camera lens gazed into the souls of my family. The light dancing on screen revealing the silent faces and captive eyes staring timeless across the years into my own. I was hooked.

I have always heard music in my head. Not just rhythm, but music, melody, chords, harmony. This could have something to do with thirteen years of violin lessons and being part of numerous youth symphony orchestras. The music I hear can be any mood, many things. What is peculiar for me is, this music is accompanied by visions, style, technique. I loved how one could combine music and imagery in ways capable of reaching deeply into the hearts of others. My personal, professional, and artistic persuits were beginning to take me in a specific direction. I attended Penn State University 1966-1970 graduating with a General Arts & Sciences degree. I took every photography, filmmaking, journalism, art history, and architecture course that I could. I became very obsessed with still photography during those college years. I started a photo business shooting sorority composites and portraits. The business did well enabling me to buy some equipment and my own darkroom. I loved environmental photography-street photography, people doing what they do in their worlds. My first filmaking class confirmed for me that it was not just powerful, communicative images that I sought to capture/create, but that motion was a key component of this vision. I was enamored with Cinematography.

My first film job was with a company in Philadelphia, Pa., Ralph Lopatin Productions. This company was a miniature 'big studio' with all of the specialty departments, equipment and staff. They produced features, commercials, documentaries, corporate films, political spots, etc. I was hired as the camera department slave. I loaded, lugged, and logged in addition to pulling focus, slating and taking the days exposed film to the lab,etc. . I worked with people trained in studio techniques. I learned studio lighting from two old masters-Herb Cardwell and Bob Smith both ex combat cameraman. I was fortunate to have such exposure and wonderful mentors. I spent two years as a camera assistant absorbing as much knowledge as I could regarding all things related to film production. I was reliable, dedicated, and obsessed. It was not long before I was given opportunities to shoot. I slowly won the confidence of my employers and ultimately became the staff DP. What an opportunity to have someone finance your learning years and forgive you of your mistakes of which I made many. My confidence was building. I had become adept with the 16 and 35mm cameras of the time, Mitchells, Arriflex BL's, and Eclair. I experimented with lighting; type, quality, style, and color. I was acquiring experience with a variety of techniques that went beyond just creating the illusion of the third dimension on a one dimensional plane. I had entered the realm of mood, emotion, feelings, the very things that had drawn me to photography and film in the first place. This is what I loved and was certain it was to be my life. My confidence growing, I decided to buy a 16mm Eclair NPR sync-sound camera package, quit my staff job, and make an attempt at a freelance career as a 'Director of Photography'.

During my four years as a staff employee, I had shot for many clients, met many people and made a number of good contacts. Some of my first freelance jobs were shooting films for the Federal Aviation Agency in Alaska, the Rockies,and the Caribbean. The National Park Service afforded me the opportunity to shoot a wonderful film about Assateague Island in all of its' four seasons splendor. I began shooting for WGBH the Boston PBS affiliate. The NOVA series and Frontline took me on numerous journeys into strange theoretical and technical worlds. Nuclear Fusion, Sexuality, Blindness, Leadership, are but a few of the topics. These documentary projects were always shot on location and I was beginning to log some serious miles. I then began to get jobs that shot overseas. I traveled around the world for Welchs Grape Juice shooting 'spots' and testimonials in native tongue. Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, Kuwait, England, some nice locations. I shot a very touching documentary in Hong Kong about the plight of Chinese immigrants who were there illegally. That same year, I found that spending a few weeks in the jungles of northern Columbia with a 'slash & burn' indian tribe can certainly give you a different perspective on your life.

The most memorable project one could hope for involved another foray around the world for the Communication Satellite Corp. This time beautiful Hawaii, tropical Samoa, exotic and colorful Bali, the plains of Kenya, Italy shooting in St Peters Square on a rainy Easter Sunday and a week in Sri Lanka with Arthur C. Clarke. We shot all over the ancient island kingdom with Clarke. I spent an unforgettable evening on the roof of Mr. Clarkes home peering through a telescope, at distant stars, and galaxies as he talked of the universe, the stars, mankind, and things to come. What a rare privelege.

It was about this time that I decided to go to the filmaking capital of the world, Hollywood. I had so cherished the documentary side of my career. The travel, the ecucation, the immersion into cultures and customs so foreign to me, became a big part of the paycheck. However, I yearned to work on bigger productions dramatic films, comedies. I wanted to push my aesthetic knowledge with bigger budgets, crews, and more specialized technology. I wanted to be more in control of the images I made.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1977. I literally knew two people in the entire city and they were both in the film business. Through them I began to meet people in the film community but the process was slow. Thankfully, I was reasonably well established on the east coast, and I continued shooting for many of them. This helped ease my transition into the Los Angeles motion picture community.

LA can be a tough town. And the film business.....I can't imagine trying to break in today. Family and friends are one of the few ways in.