My first photo shoot was in the summer of 1976. I was 10 and my model—my sister, Annie—was 7. My camera: my dad’s 110. That summer, the fashion magazines had begun calling my name. Sure, when I flipped through them I imagined images of myself splashed across those glossy pages, but more than that, I wanted to be behind the camera. I wanted to know what had gone on behind the scenes to create such beautiful pictures.
My sister and I collaborated well on that photo shoot. We picked out sassy outfits, chose the perfect location (the front yard) and backdrop (our favorite walnut tree), and even applied a little bit of makeup (watermelon-flavored lip gloss, as I remember it). Needless to say, when the prints finally came back from the lab, it wasn’t exactly Vogue cover material. Still, that first photo shoot triggered an unquenchable appetite within me for capturing life with my lens.
After college, I spent my days traveling and catching every moment and impression with my camera. Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia,
South Africa, Russia—41 countries in all—each place presented new images and new opportunities for me to learn about film, composition, and light. When I wasn’t traveling, I took photography classes and discovered the dark room. I loved the dark room. I would spend hours in there, intrigued by the seemingly magical powers I had over the images that floated in the tray in front of me. Later, I returned to school full time for an intensive two-year program, studying photography and graphic design at the Academy of Art, San Francisco.
In 2003, after years of working as a Commerical Photography Producer, Photo Assistant, and Studio Manager, I opened my own photography business. In the beginning, I paid the bills by taking any photography opportunity that came my way, while also moonlighting as a photography assistant and photo producer. I shot weddings, head shots, events, a few small commercial projects, and lots of kids. After a while I realized that, of all my work, what I enjoyed most was the art of photographing children. They never followed directions; they’re super silly, ridiculously cute, and have great smiles and laughs. I preferred shooting expressions, lighting, actions, and scenarios that were natural, not too staged. That was to become my focus for the next decade and more.
Flash forward to 2018, and here I am, based in Sausalito, a community that continues to inspire me, 2 kids well out of diapers now and becoming more independent day after day, and a stronger sense of my own style. I still love working with kids—the unaffected naturalness they bring to a project continues to inspire me. But, over time I’ve come to realize that the energy that draws me to work with children is, in fact, everywhere—it’s in things, people, work, play, home, everything. So now I photograph kids and all the rest, with the aim of illuminating the vibrant life that’s all around us. No matter what my subject—an 8 year old with a bowl of chocolate ice cream, a sleek modern living room, or a growing family—I turn my lens to the world seeking to capture a moment in time, to capture life as it happens.