Thanks for caring enough to come learn a little about my story. It warms my heart to know that you're here. Grab a favorite beverage and let's dive in to the reason that I'm a photographer and I love to take care of my photo family...
The beginning is just that. I was born and raised in the small town of Covington, Virginia and if you've ever passed by, you'll understand that it's a great place to retire but unless your desire is to work at the paper mill, options are few and far between. I graduated high school and joined the U.S. Air Force at eighteen. It was a decision that I would still make to this day. I was afforded the opportunity to do some traveling, meet some amazing men and women that helped me grow and the decision to serve also led me to my wife of 17 years, Oddette.
My first assignment was Rhein Main Air Base, just outside of Frankfurt, Germany. While the base no longer exists today, it was a great place to be located for three years. I fell in love with the locals, the culture and I traveled as much as I could. I met my British born wife while in Germany and while I may have married young at the age of twenty... I also married right. Which to me is far more important than when.
After three wonderful years of beer, bratwurst, Europe and euphoria, my Uncle Sam "voluntold" me to move back to the states to the wonderful state of Delaware. During my three years here, I was deployed like so many others but this is where things change a bit. During my deployment, I suffered an unfortunate fall that has forever shaped the rest of my life.
In 2006, I left the military life with a back injury, no job, no prospects and barely able to walk. I soon found myself in a dark place and dealing with depression. My wife and I moved from Delaware to Northern Virginia because she was working in D.C. at the time. Day in, day out... pain, struggle, depression... emptiness. In March of 2007, my wife buys me an entry level DSLR camera for my birthday. This was a big deal. We didn't have a significant amount of spare funds to go around, even if it was just the two of us at the time.
Growing up in the mountains of Virginia, you can't help but love the mountains, lakes, trees and all the scenery that makes this place beautiful, and I do! I started my photographic journey by photographing what I knew and loved, landscapes. It was a calm and peaceful time for me when I was out. A therapy, my therapy. Once the bug had bit, I dove into learning everything that I could about my camera, lighting, theories, sciences, art --- PHOTOGRAPHY!! It gave me purpose and purpose was the most important thing that I needed.
My wife and I decided to have a family after 8 years together and in 2010, we found ourselves pregnant with our first daughter, Kyra. That's when I had to make the switch from all landscape to capturing this little girl's life in photographs. This was the beginning of where another shift in my life would take place. I once again learned everything that I could find, focused on portraiture, babies, children and photographing people in general. It was exhausting and totally worth it. Just in case you're wondering... I've never stopped learning.
After a few portraits of my daughter, magical things began to happen. I began to do this for others upon request. It was great to know that I was helping someone cherish the same moments in their lives that I was going through in mine with my little one. This was the fuel that fed the passion that has driven me. A few short years later and our family grows with another little girl. Kacey graced our lives in 2014 and I don't think that she's stopped running since.
At the end of 2015, my family and I had the best opportunity to leave Northern Virginia and settle down in a location that is much more ideal for the both Oddette and me. I remember her asking me where I wanted to live and my answer was "somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley". We took plenty of time to look around, choose a place that we loved and a we are now raising our family in Waynesboro, in our forever home. Our slice of the pie. Since moving here, I feel so much more at ease and at home than I ever did up north and I've been establishing my roots both personally and professionally since then.
I love putting smiles on peoples faces from the passion that I've grown with photography. It's my daily drive, my reason. We have to keep in mind how fleeting these moments are and take advantage of each day. It seems like I've blinked and my little girl is now not-so-little. I'm so thankful that there are photographs documenting our journey and that's what I offer to you. A documentation of life. A celebration of life.