One of the aspects of being a photographer that has been, frankly, a double-edged sword has been the sheer volume of people that I have encountered and worked with over the years. Just like any other industry, you have amazing people and people who probably shouldn’t be without constant psychological monitoring. I have made some fantastic friends and some very twisted enemies.
Sometimes I want to kick myself for picking up a camera because by doing so I invited insanity into my life, there isn’t any other reason why I would have ever encountered these people — I did this to myself! But then there’s the other edge — some of my favorite people in the world are part of my life because I picked up a camera, I wouldn’t have met them any other way.
One of those people is Anna Swihart, and it only seems fitting that she is my first featured model because she has been with me since the beginning. We actually met indirectly through a very creepy photographer whom I had done some modeling for. Our initial encounter was awesome. Anna was considering shooting for the same photographer and was checking his references and by a stroke of luck happened to contact me (no, that’s not the awesome part). I had to strongly advise against working with this guy but I let her know that I was a new photographer and would love to work with her if she was interested. At the time I was dabbling a bit into underwater photography, and even though she didn’t know how to swim Anna wanted to do some underwater modeling (I’ve actually worked with her in water more than I have with any other model to this day). That seemed absolutely insane to me, but if there’s one thing that I love it’s artistically driven insanity, so we set it up.
I should have known we would be friends for life when she didn’t roll her eyes at me for suggesting that she pose with a bunch of 5-gallon water cooler bottles that I had collected in my apartment (she rocked it, by the way). Nine years later, she’s one of my best friends, our kids also love each other and I simply cannot imagine my life without her.