I was raised in a small town in Northwestern, New Jersey. As a kid, and well into adulthood, I happily wasted too many years of my life riding around on a BMX bike with my friends. I would even, very often, skip school and spend my days riding completely alone. In tenth grade, when I told my high school guidance counselor that I was dropping out, she asked me what my plans were. I told her that I just wanted to ride my bike. She said that was, "pretty stupid." She might not have been entirely wrong but she certainly wasn't entirely right, either.
My parents divorced when I was fourteen and I stopped caring about a lot of stuff. Except for riding bikes. Later that same year, I almost died for the first time. I didn't try to kill myself or anything like that. It was actually a fireworks accident that nearly got me. I had lit a mortar without a fuse and ended up in a helicopter on a fast flight to the hospital. I remember a psychiatrist in the hospital asking me if I had wanted to hurt myself. I lied and told her, no. A year after that, I almost died again when a friend shot me in the face with an arrow in a department store. I came around the corner to find this kid holding a bow and arrow at the other end of the sporting goods aisle. He drew the arrow back and pointed it right at me. We both laughed. I spread my arms out wide and made myself into a target, daring him to shoot me. And he did. He later said he was aiming at the floor and just wanted to fuck with me. His aim was obviously shit. They told me that while the doctors were X-raying my face, that he was puking in a garbage can in the hospital waiting room.
The first time I kissed my wife, we were in high school. I met her in math class just after that kid shot me in the face with the arrow. After meeting her, I began caring about more than just BMX again. She walked up to my desk and asked me about my face and after I told her what had happened, just like my guidance counselor would later tell me, she said that was, "pretty stupid." Ten years after that she married me and sometimes I wonder if she would have ever even spoken to me if it weren't for my bruised and swollen face. If catching an arrow with my face was what it took to meet her, then maybe it wasn't so stupid after all.
My wife and I have two kids. And I love them more than anything. Raising kids is such an amazing thing and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to influence their lives in the ways only a parent can. Sometimes I apologize for bringing them into this world, though. You know, because everything is so fucked these days. I just hope that my kids grow up to be better humans than I am and that they will both have the heads and the hearts to persevere through whatever challenges they may face in their futures.
I first picked up a camera in 2001. I borrowed a friends 35mm film camera and I took it on a trip to England. I underexposed most of my photos and my compositions were shit. But I enjoyed shooting those photos. I returned from that trip, moved to Philadelphia and later that year, I bought my first camera. And I have been shooting ever since. I shoot both film and digital but lately I'm finding digital cameras, and the images they produce, a bit boring. Vintage cameras and the aesthetic of film excite me more than digital. From time to time I take my photography seriously and dream of calling myself a professional photographer. But most of the time I feel like I just really don't care about a label like that and that I would rather just roam around, happily wasting too many of the years I have left, taking pictures and enjoying a simple life.