Mom blessed me with her sense of humor. Dad taught me how to use a saw. Trouble was sure to follow.
At nine, I taught myself how to use a camera (a Vanguard 120) and it was a done deal. I was armed and creative.
Once I discovered the possibilities of film, I began carrying a sketchbook and scratching out every odd thought that came to me. I look back and am surprised at how many of those ideas formed the foundation of future projects.
Although I earned my BFA at Georgetown in 1982, my career began humbly with basic work and tabletop set-ups. After ten years of learning the ropes, I began moving from simple photography to what I like to think of as “creating moments.” I was finally doing what I was made to do. I remember someone defining my style as “Norman Rockwell meets Tim Burton on steroids.” Yep, that pretty well nails it.
However you want to describe what I do, it seems to be working. Arrasmith & Associates usually makes the short list whenever someone needs a humorous, colorful, off-the-wall concept or stylized set – and wants to have fun doing it.
I came into the photography business in 1982 as a humble bookkeeper. I expected a normal, mild-mannered career. Then I met Tony.
We worked on a few projects together and realized our strengths really complemented each other. I was sane and orderly. He wasn’t. He did, however, have a lot of talent, and his style appealed to me. In 1987, we opened Arrasmith & Associates (guess which one I am.)
I’ve since earned the nickname Queen of Everything, because in addition to bookkeeping, I’m expected to arrange (or just do) casting, propping, food styling, production coordination, lunch menus and solutions to those eleventh-hour emergencies. Need a dancing squirrel with the name “Roger” shaved into its fur? Consider it done.
Years of doing the “impossible” have helped me build a network of vendors, craftsmen and little miracle workers. Those years have also taught me how to anticipate needs, so shoot-day surprises are rare. Tony and I agreed at the beginning that we wanted our clients to always come away happy, confidant and a little amazed.
I can actually say I love my job. And, for anyone who cares, I love gardening, too.