I was born….by the river. In a little tent, and oooh just like the river I’ve been, runnin, ever since..
OK, maybe not lol. Sam Cooke is a G*D!!
Before,Â I stole the “about me” section from my workshop page, I’ve decided to be original here and say something different. I will keep this as much photography related as humanly possible lol.
When I was about five years old, my parents were throwing a party. They did this a lot when us children went to bed. One night, I just wasn’t sleepy, so I got up and started to mingle amongst the people. My Mom caught me and told me to go to bed. Not feeling the need for sleep, I protested. She handed me a Kodak 110speed film camera and an eight cube flash and I went to work.
I happened upon my fav Aunt and Uncle, who were engaged in a FIERCE argument, the part that stuck out the most is my Aunt said;Â ‘One more time, I swear to G*D I will kill you in your sleep.” Standing there I’m sure with my eyes bugged out, she saw me and said “Smike, smile for the baby” and her and my Uncle did!! Then told me to go to bed, which of course I did. After that event, I realized the power a camera held. If it could make people go from wanting to kill each other, to being happy, this was something for me.
When I was 16, I got my own 35mm SLR camera and started shooting photos. Later that year, I had my first major publication in a landscape photography magazine. A few years later, they did an interview with me and asked “What you think of the Digital era?” Of course as any film enthusiast, I proclaimed film was here to stay and NOTHING would over take it. Good thing I wasn’t chosen as someone to predict the future.
One of the questions in that interview started with “As a professional photographer” I never felt comfortable with the title “Professional” as I felt in order to be a professional, one should take on all aspects of photography. I had zero aspierations to shoot portraits.
2003,Â I took the plung and shot my first portrait. I had an Olympus CZ2100 with on camera flash and my trusted 35mm and conquored the world. The same day that I took these photos, I LOVED them. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, how simple it was. 24hours later, I hated the photos and decided to stick with Macro, Nature, Landscape photos. Feeling the bug later in 2003,Â I found a model who wanted her own paysite. This was a great way for both her and I to make money, so I got some cheap hotlights.Â I worked with her for about six months, then she flaked out on it. In that time, I had met another model who was living about five hours away, her name was Diddy. After about two months of going back and fourth, I went out to shoot with Diddy for the site.Â She complained that the hotlights had given her a headache for a straight 24hours lol. Her and I had a falling out and we never got the site going.
I decided that maybe, it was time to dump the hotlights lol.
After that, I got from ebay, a Britek Professional strobe photography set.Â While today I complain about those lights, truth of the matter is, they did me well while I had them.Â I was contacted by another webmaster that he wanted to shoot his wife who’s website name was “Stunning Serena” He wanted to do a site with Diddy and his wife Serena. I made the drive to WI again and saw Diddy again. We shot using my Canon EOS Digital Rebel 300d and britek strobes and created the site Diddy and Serena. About three months after it was going and making each of us close to 1k per week,Â my “friend” decided to cut me out. So I was with out the site, he used my camera and strobes and then (sucky photography)knowledge and I was out. Had I know, I could have pressed copyright charges since I owned the photos, but I didn’t know any better.
About six month after that, Diddy contacted me and said she hated the webmaster. He tried to get her to do a solo site with him, but she didn’t trust him. She trusted me. So I declined and she did a site with another webmaster. That guy was a zleezeball as well, so she came back to me. I decided this time, to do a site wtih her and we created Diddylicious. The site was a HUGE success. In the mean time, another cool webmaster was buying up all the Diddy property he could get his hands on, and finally, came after me aggressively to buy Diddylicious. I talked it over with Diddy, she liked him so I made the deal. 5digit sale in the books! She’s super happy with him and together, they’ve been making great money! The photos that are on her site now, most of them I didn’t take. The sale was completed about six or seven years ago.
Bored, I decided that if I was going to do website work, it was going to be the BEST I can do, so I started reaching out to Photographers across the world. I found a photographer that was local to MN. He was great at that time. After a while, I noticed he was pretty unprofessional in his actions and I decided that I didn’t want to be associated with him. I severed all ties with him and went searching for someone else to learn under. I was searching the net and came across a photographer named Art Ketchum. I saw that he was 8hours away, in Chicago, IL. Better yet, he taught monthly workshops! I sent a general inquiry to him,Â he was polite, professional and very personable. Every month for almost a year, I made the 8hour drive out to Chicago, IL, to learn from one of the masters.
Soon after that, I pulled from several other photographers and together, I tried to create my own style of photography. Today, one of the most amazing comments that have ever been paid to me, was by a photographer named Jimmy Zuck, he said “I love Jay’s photos! I can always tell a photo that was taken by Jay. You can expect it to be a great one”
For several years, I pounded the publication market, it paid off as I have publications in the following magazines, paper and ezine:
Prom Dress Magazine
Playboy Cyber Club
To date, I’m proud to say that I’m the most nationally published glamour photographer in the state of Colorado. I’ve taken several years off from shooting publication stuff, but as of 2010, I’m going back hard.
Another great feeling is the fact that my work is apprecieated outside of the state. I’ve been in touch with some of todays master photographers and they all know me and my work. While I would NEVER classify myself as a master of anything other than trouble, I’m proud to say several guys who I’ve admired over the years, know me by name.
I teach photography workshops as well as one on ones. I can and often do, travel out of the state to teach workshops. I love what I do and love life!