Monday, August 10, 2009

How did I get here?

I was thinking this morning about how I got to where I am right now. People ask when / how I started or if I went to art school, and there are short answers -- I guess this would be a longer one:

1986 Mom gives me her old Minlota SLR with a sweet macrame camera strap.
1987 My first gig as photographer for HS newspaper The Arrowhead
1989 Went to college. Studied Business, Pre-Med, got a degree in Philosophy, took lots of art classes.
1995 Intern / Employee at F-Stock Photo Agency in Ketchum, ID.
1995 First photo sold to Powder Magazine for $50.
1995 Photo intern at Powder Magazine, San Juan Capistrano, CA.
1996 Employee at Mountain Stock, Tahoe City, CA.
1996 - 1998 First Assistant to David Stoecklein
1998 Moved from Ketchum to San Francicso
1998 - 2003 A whole lot of freelance photo assisting for the likes of: Terry Husebye (that's me on the home page!), Dan Escobar, David Maisel, Hunter Freeman, and a bunch of other shooters that came and went. Also studied Art Direction, Copywriting, Architecture, Graphic Design, and Photography at various times at SFAI, Art Center, and CCAC (now CCA). Spent lots of time at the MOMA bookstore, attending APA events.
2003 I go out on my own. Shooting tiny editorial, misc. freebies. Still assisting a bit to fill in the gaps.
2004 things start to work. Shooting small editorial and occasional tiny advertising.
2005 things are working. Shooting editorial and occasional advertising.
2006 things are working better. Shooting fun editorial and more advertising. Sign with rep Marianne Campbell.
2007 things are working well. Shooting really fun editorial and advertising.
2008 things are still working well, then in June things drop off a cliff.
2009 things are picking up again, love my editorial clients, still focused on getting more fun advertising jobs.

So in 23 years of having a camera in my hands, and working towards being a photographer, what have I learned? A few that come to mind:

There are no shortcuts.
It takes time to build a career.
There is no right way to do it, everyone has their own approach.
Looking at (all kinds of) art helps.
All art (photos included) is 100% subjective.
There is no substitute for time spent shooting.
I still feel like I am just getting started.


levbec said...

Awesome post, it always appears to be some hidden mystery as to how current photogs have ended up where they are today. Everyone might have a unique story that shapes their artistic perception and career but this confirms that persistence and hard work really pay off in the end.

ashton rodgers said...

thank you.