It is a story that starts long ago in my life and an accomplishment that words will fail me to quantify. Since I was in college, I have gazed at Hasselblad cameras with the eyes of a starstruck boy meeting his Hollywood crush. There were so many dimensions to the camera, the company and the history that resonated to what I loved and to which I aspired. I used to go on dates with my girlfriend where we would ride bikes to the camera shop near ASU, just so I could look at the 501CM. I knew that I couldn’t afford it, but that didn’t stop us from talking about how incredible it was, just sitting there on the counter.
As my career progressed, there were many temptations to make the move to medium format. I once flew to Los Angeles just to try out the Hasselblad H2 upstairs at Samy’s Camera on Fairfax. It was the perfect chassis, and such a capable platform, but two things held me back: 1) the LCD and software were a bit rough compared to the 35mm DSLRs at the time and 2) I had just undertaken a big expenditure, for I had just bought a ring for the girl that went to the camera store with me.
Not long after we married, the industry changed and we saw the Nikon D3 introduced, changing the landscape of photography. As time progressed the D3X was released, and we all know the history from there… at least some of it. The day the phone rang and it was Nikon asking me to be an ambassador for their brand was amongst the most surreal days I have had. I was choked up and giddy with excitement about the accomplishment, to this day I still hold it in the highest regard. I love the people that I stood alongside and the family at Nikon (they are incredible). It is for this, and many other reasons that I was devastated and heartbroken the day I submitted my resignation.
Photography to me is not the art of creating a shot, the lighting or the post production. Photography is the people that come together for the purpose of creating art, and those that come together to appreciate it. I have always been shy in person, especially in large groups. This blog and my work have been the way that I talk to you, my friends. I genuinely appreciate the support and time you have given me in reading my pieces, and in exchange I try to be as brutally honest as I can, for you deserve the truth.
The truth is, as I got busier, and productions became larger in their scope, 35mm DSLR files and limitations wouldn’t cut it on set. For this reason, I grabbed a medium format system to shoot campaigns and watched as my Nikon stayed in the gear closet more and more. I actually began losing sleep over this because I didn’t feel right shooting the medium format system, all while promoting a brand that doesn’t have a medium format camera. So in one letter, I gave up the position that had brought me the greatest validity to my career. Sad? I was, but it was the right thing to do.
As time went on, I shot a number of different medium format systems on set. All had their benefits and all had their detractors. While I gravitated towards the Hasselblad H5, there was something still missing from it’s perfection… and then came the H6. I can still remember waking up and seeing I had text messages from a number of people with the link to the press release. On paper, Hasselblad had released what could be the finest camera ever. Not the finest 35mm or medium format, but the finest camera. I made it known that I wanted to get my hands on it, and not long after Hasselblad and I had spoken about a project with it. They expressed interest in getting a prototype in my hands for a jet shoot I was doing and sent out the only H6 body in the states to me to use on my Top Gun photoshoot. While the world saw the video of me upside down with this huge camera that was breaking my body, what they didn’t see was all the time the crew was trying to find me as I walked around the air base and nearby fields testing out the camera. I was in love.
What also started to garner my attention was the change in course that was taking place at Hasselblad, led by the CEO at the time, Perry Oosting. In a way, the humility and passion that existed within the company’s culture mirrored my own approach towards photography. Hasselblad wanted to make the greatest cameras possible for photographers, and not boast about it. I was smitten, and made the commitment. I bought the first H6D-100c in the US.
Time passed, and I shot with the 100c every chance I got, I had fallen head over heels with what the camera showed me every time I took it out. I was seeing a new level of photography, and new approach to creation, my view that of what photography was had changed, I had changed.
And then the phone rang…
It was Hasselblad offering me the position of Global Ambassador for the brand.
So here I sit, a man that went on dates with a girl to look at a Hasselblad, that passed up buying a Hasselblad to marry her, an ambassador for Hasselblad only months from welcoming a daughter with her. Grateful doesn’t begin to grasp the depths to which I owe the world. It humbles me to the loss of any further words except for…