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I lived a large portion of my life working as a lighting professional; manipulating,
controlling, coercing, and painting with light. It started in high school,
working in the theater and lighting for plays, choir concerts, band concerts,
dance recitals, assemblies, and corporate functions. I did many things backstage,
but lighting was one of the jobs I became good at. I branched out from
there, lighting theatrical performances in Community Theater. A little later,
I started working as an electrician in professional theater and moved up to
master electrician and, eventually, to lighting designer. All of this was while
I was living in Arizona. When I made the move to Los Angeles to work in
movies, I started where I thought I could transition most naturally from stage
to screen: as an electrician. I worked my way up the ladder, making a brief
stop as a best boy, and then as a gaffer and, eventually, I became a cinematographer.
Up until the point where I officially “hung up my meter” in 2005—
although I still continue to shoot on the side—lighting had been a key
component of my life for nearly 20 years. I studied it; I lived it. My life was
creating light, crafting light, and painting with light.
Seeing the Light
I used to drive my wife a little crazy (well, truth be told—a lot crazy) because
I was always thinking about lighting. We would be sitting in a restaurant and
having a conversation and suddenly I would get quiet. After a moment she
would cock her head slightly and glare at me, “You’re looking at the lighting
again, aren’t you?”
And I was.