my first slr camera was actually a loaner from my sister, a nikon fm-20 with a 50mm lens. i was taking an intro photography class as part of a college requirement in my major. it would be the most profound course i'd ever take.
in 1993, after leaving college, i packed my modest photo kit, 40 or 50 rolls of film, a tent, and most of my worldly possessions into my white toyota corolla, and headed from new york to california. i had no idea what i'd do with the images after i took them - i just knew i wanted to photograph this incredible country and that i had to experience all of it up close and personal. 3 weeks and 6,000 miles later, i arrived in santa cruz to set up shop. over the next 9 months, i got a job doing black and white printing in a local pro photo lab. access to low-cost developing and printing was key for me, as i was flat broke, but determined to refine my skill. on days off, i'd drive up and down the pacific coast or head inland to photograph yosemite.
the economic pressures got to me, however, and i was forced to find more lucrative employment in another field. the passion never waned, however, and years later i found my way back into the field professionally.
my current endeavors include forever moments photography, a portrait and wedding photography studio i founded with my wife, lisa, incorporating the artistic vision i developed shooting landscapes with a new found ability to work and react within the tremendously dynamic pace of the average american wedding day.
in rare moments, i still play keyboards with lifelong friends and musicians.
- jeff zawrotny
jeff and lisa on their first photo safari together