What is your title, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
I’ve been working in the photo industry for about 40 years. For most of that time I’ve worked as an industrial photographer. Some of my past work experiences have included: working in an offset printing shop as a cameraman, stripper, and press operator; working in custom photo labs as a film and paper processor, color corrector, custom and automated printer, and as maintenance tech for the processing equipment. Currently, I do a variety of duties ranging from photographing the fabrication process of airplanes to satellites, as well as photographing business social functions. I also design posters, and develop ways to automate Photoshop to speed up our workflow using scripting.
What inspired you most to become a Photographer? Why did you pursue this as a career?
Since before I can remember, I have loved photography. Looking through the view finder of my old brownie camera, as well as my parents Roliflexes mesmerized me. My father used to do his own B&W printing, and I quickly learned to do that, as well as print color. In high school, I worked on our yearbook, shot jobs for our local paper, and also worked printing portraits for a wedding photographer. It was a logical course to continue for a lifetime career.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
The flood of people who will give away their images for nothing more than a byline is one of the major obstacles to a career in the creative fields. That coupled with the fact that most creatives focus more on their art than their business skills is a disaster waiting to happen. While working in a pro photo lab in college, we would note that the good photographers had little work come though, while bad photographers had a ton of work. It just supports that saying that hard work will win over talent every time.
With all the new versions of Photoshop and Lightroom what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
Since I do a lot of scripting for Photoshop, I’m partial to the Deco fill scripts. It’s exciting that Adobe put in some features where users can really customize a feature via scripting. Jeff Chein’s work on shake reduction andcontent aware technology is also amazing. The new ways to warp images are extremely exciting such as Puppet and perspective warp.
What Photographers & Photoshop artists do you follow, and why do they stand out from others in your opinion?
My favorite photographer is Edward Weston, and his work got me shooting 4X5 and 8X10. I have always loved Jerry Uelsmann’s work, and his work spurred me to try photo composites and other photo manipulations back when I was still doing everything in the darkroom. Now with Photoshop, it is so much easier to create what I envision.
Bert Monroy is also someone I highly admire. I’ve taken several seminars with him, and he has changed the way I view and work on my photography. I have expanded beyond “straight” photography to a combination of photography & illustration to just straight illustration.
Patrick LaMontagne is also an amazing artist that I’ve been following since 2009 when we were both competing for a Guru Award at Photoshop World in illustration. While I won that year, the outcome of the award made Patrick rethink his art. He developed his Totem Illustrations after that, and it has been wonderful watching his style and business take grow.
I also love the works of Theresa Jackson and Kat Gilbert. They are always thinking out of the box and experimenting with new techniques that make me want to do more. Like Patrick, they lead rather than follow the crowd.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop & Photography the best?
Mainly I use Facebook, G+, and Behance. There are so many social networks that it’s impossible to maintain a presence on more than just a few and still have a life. For creative work, I think Behance is great in that it allows feedback on work in progress, as well as collaborative efforts. The artwork on Behance is amazing!
What is your prediction of the evolution of social networks? How do you think these networks will showcase artists and Photographers better in the future?
Obviously, social media is here to stay, but it will be more difficult for new sites to gain traction in the all ready crowded market, such as Ello is discovering. There will be more niche sites, as there are people who like a smaller audience, where their images and posts don’t quickly get lost in the sea of chatter. It will mainly come down to what new technology is developed for social media and how fed up people get with the mega sites.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop and Lightroom?
With Adobe’s push to become more mobile, Photoshop and Lightroom will develop towards that goal. You’ll see new interfaces that work better with mobile devices such as the new touch interface with Illustrator. Zorana Gee hinted at this during the sneak peak a MAX with her demo of an HTML overlay for Photoshop. With mobile processing, I can see a bigger push for non-destructive image processing where you can have a small reference file in the cloud so that you can make edits that don’t eat up too much bandwidth or storage. Then you could apply those corrections to hires images on your main computers. We’re seeing this all ready with Lightroom Mobile, so it will be a natural progression to apply this technology to the other Adobe apps. With the new release of Adobe’s SDKs, I think we will see more third parties developing modules or plugins for Adobe apps, like what Astute Graphics is doing with Illustrator. With this opening of Adobe apps code, the SDKs will give the end user more options in editing, while not hampering Adobe with huge R&D expenses. It will help maintain Adobe as the mother ship for image editing. This is not to say that Adobe will give up developing great new features. They will continue to develop new technologies, and to buy out some of the best third party software.