ArtSpan Open Studios 2015 – PR Call for Entry

If you follow your heart and your passion, opportunities will present themselves.

Those are the words I live by; and, they are the title of my Open Studios story.

It’s a tale of love, photography, travel, uniting our world and a one-of-a-kind San Francisco photo lab.

Now, without further adiu…


Doing Acro Yoga with my darling wife, Carrie, on the Bolivian Salt Flats.
Doing Acro Yoga with my darling wife, Carrie, on the Bolivian Salt Flats.

Finding a job you love is a rare and beautiful gift.

So is the opportunity to travel indefinitely.

But, what does one do when those two worlds collide? That’s the situation I faced in early 2012.


Kolner Dom - Cologne Cathedral - at sunset with a blimpFor two years, I had been blissfully working at Dickerman Prints: a fine art photo printing lab in San Francisco.

My days were happily filled with helping amazing local artists create the best prints possible and managing the lab’s marketing activities.

Along the way, my own photographic passion grew and evolved: thanks to the support and tutelage of everyone at the lab.

Everything was perfect; except for one thing…

My wife, Carrie, had gone to India to study yoga.

After her course ended, she planned to travel for a few months.

Travel with my love; or, work at the place I love

Saying goodbye to Dickerman Prints was one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

However, I had to say yes to booking a one-way ticket, joining Carrie in India and exploring our world together.

I never imagined the job would be waiting for me when I returned.



The Adventure of a Lifetime

“A few months of travel” quickly became 2.5 years; as we backpacked across continents, made a home in Thailand and transformed our dreams into reality.

For me, the dream was to create photographic art, document everyday life abroad and share the journey on my Web site.

Professionally, my photographic work appeared around the world in exhibitions, publications, airports, trade shows, malls and in my own National Geographic TV show.

What inspired me most was seeing photography’s ability to unite our global community, break apart stereotypes and fuel our wanderlust.

One way I demonstrated this was through the Symmetry Project.


The Scissor Lady got a big kick out of Say Cheese

What is the Symmetry Project?

The Symmetry Project is a series of collages that explore a universal truth: all people have the same core needs and responsibilities.

To illustrate this, each piece features photos of the same thing – taken around the world – and arranged to look like the universal need they represent.

Together, they strive to show that we are all the same: no matter where we live.

Conceived and printed at Dickerman Prints before I left San Francisco, each large-format photographic C-print is mounted on Dibond and covered in a polycarbonate laminate.


Taksi – an exploration of our universal need to get from here to there – 30×49″ C-print


Say Cheese – an exploration of our universal need for non-verbal communication – 30×30″ C-print


25 Cents. Local Calls – an exploration of our universal need to keep in touch – 30×30″ C-print
Placemat – an exploration of our universal need to eat – 30×42″ C-print

Portable Symmetry

While they look amazing on a wall, these pieces are not very portable. That’s why I printed small versions to bring along on my travels and share with the locals I met.

As you can imagine, seeing this cross-cultural art led to many fascinating conversations, beautiful smiles and new friendships.

It also bridged a few cultural divides and reinforced our understanding that all people are one.


Franco - a line cook in Chile -  loved looking at all the different kitchens in Placemat.
Franco – a line cook in Chile – loved looking at all the different kitchens in Placemat.


Koko and Myo even posed with a piece of my Symmetry Project.
Koko and Myo – Burmese Tricycle drivers – hoped that their taxi would make it into a future piece of the Symmetry Project.


Or fascinated South Korean locals asking me what I've taped to a phone booth.
Simply taping 25 Cents. Local Calls to a phone booth in South Korea sparked curiosity and conversation.


And in Olympos, this ice cream vendor's smile melted my heart every time I walked by.
Huiseyin Tekin – a Turkish ice cream vendor – melted my heart with his smile every time we talked.

Call it Fate; if you like

Shortly after returning home in late 2014, I received a phone call from Seth Dickerman.

It seemed that my successor had just embarked on a photographic journey across America – creating a vacancy at the lab.

Before that call ended, I had happily accepted the job I never wanted to leave.


Open Studios 2015

You have to love the cyclical nature of life.

Five years ago, Dickerman Prints fostered my passion for photography; while inspiring me to turn that hobby into a profession.

Now, I’m honored to showcase the Symmetry Project on those same walls during SF Open Studios.

Alongside the collages, you will find intimate portraits of the kind locals who interacted with the Project during my travels.

Finally, I will premier a brand new large-format collage; featuring photographs taken during my most recent adventure.


Hope to see you there!

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