Roclord Studio is a fine art studio specializing in Unconventional Portrait Photography. Unconventional does not mean that every shot is weird with the subjects’ backs to the camera or hanging upside down off a bridge (hmmm, maybe I should try that). I’m not striving to end up with a traditional formula of two eyes looking right at the camera with combed hair and a smiling face. A smile is just one of dozens of possible expressions. I avoid paying attention to trends. Trendy things go out of style quickly and soon look dated. I want your images to be as fresh in 30 years as they are right now. While a commercial photographer would be hired to realize your vision, an artist would be commissioned to express his vision. My art is conceived to make the observer feel some kind of emotional sensation. I create images I want to see. Hopefully you will want to see them as well. My style is continually evolving.
Getting truly artistic images of people has two completely unrelated dimensions. First I have to design perfect lighting with proper camera exposure. Next, of equal importance, I have to forget all the technical stuff and truly connect with the person I’m photographing. Making my subjects completely comfortable and not self- conscious is vital to capturing real looking images. I often tell people, how you feel is up to you, but how you look is not your problem, it’s mine! Just relax and let yourself feel real feelings.
The studio is located in the Singer Building, situated in the heart of Pasadena’s Historic Playhouse District. Originally home to the Singer Sewing Machine showroom, the building was built in 1926 and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places by the Department of Interior. The room feels more like an artist’s loft than a retail space.
Opening Roclord Studio in 2003 was an artistic dream come true. I put all my energy into creating beautiful, evocative portraits of people of all ages and descriptions from two-week old infants to 95 year old great-grandparents. In the past couple of decades the definition of Family has changed. A substantial portion of my work is with blended families, same-sex couples with and without children, kids from mixed race and heritage. I have a lot of experience working with children with special needs, Down Syndrome, autisim and various physical limitations. I’m also lucky enough to get to work with a lot of animals. I’ve had dozens of dogs as my subjects but other pets as well, including birds and the occasional cat (brave cat owners!) I approach all of my sessions in a similar way, searching for an emotional window that I can peek into. My definition of photogenic has very little to do with being “good looking” per se. It’s more about a person’s willingness to open up to me. Even those few that refuse to open up can provide me the opportunity to explore their guarded qualities (take some teenagers for example).
I grew up in Beverly Hills in the 1960s and 70s. I’m a true native Angeleno and have explored this sprawling city of Los Angeles in great detail. It would be almost impossible for me to get lost in LA and by some I’m know as Direction Man. It’s become almost a joke that total strangers will pick me out of a crowd and ask me for directions. Once I was eating in a restaurant and a guy pulled his car over and ran into the restaurant, came right up to my table and asked me for directions. When one of my sons was five years old we were driving on the freeway. Strapped into his little car seat, he woke suddenly from a nap and asked, “Why are we taking the 5 freeway instead of the 110?” It was a proud moment.
Originally trained as a musician, in my teens I studied orchestration with Dr. Albert Harris and piano with Abby Fraser and Howard Weisel. As a college student I ended up in Boston at the Berklee College of Music. Majoring in Jazz Composition and Piano I received the Mercer Ellington Jazz Masters’ Award for Composition. When I returned to LA I was mentored by the renowned Don Ray who founded the UCLA Film Scoring program in the early 80s. I enjoyed a 25 year career as a musician. Mostly working in the film industry, I’ve contributed to over 200 feature films & trailers and countless TV episodes as a keyboard player, composer, sound designer and/or music copyist including, Titanic, Apollo 13, The Shawshank Redemption, Deep Impact, all the various Star Trek shows and 15 consecutive years on the Academy Awards, working primarily out of the music department at Paramount Pictures. I transcribed much of the music of Barry Manilow re-orchestrating it for a smaller ensemble for two world tours. In one week’s Billboard Magazine Top Kid Video chart I had composed the music for 4 of the Top 10 listings. One of my more memorable assignments was for the trailer to the movie, TAP. Several sequences of Gregory Hines’s tap-dancing had been edited together from different songs. My job was to not only create the tap sounds but to compose music which ran underneath the tap dancing, making it appear to be one continuous song.