RM Drake

Photographer Male Peachtree City, Georgia, US
Mayhem # 9698

About Me

I started life as a small child. No... wait... I don’t need to go back that far. Let’s start over.

My photographic experience goes back several decades. I started taking pictures in high school and was the photo editor of my high school yearbook. I attended college in Orlando, Florida, where I worked on the yearbook and newspaper staff as a photojournalist. I was also a stringer for the Orlando Sentinal-Star during that time, photographing “breaking news” events.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in 1975, I started my professional photography career by working full-time in the Orlando branch of a portrait studio chain. I joined PPA (Professional Photographers of America) and FPP (Florida Professional Photographers), and exhibited in several of their annual competitions in the late 70s.

The bulk of my studio work back then was high school senior portraits. I also did some 20–25 weddings a year and a few commercial assignments thrown in from time to time. Ask anyone who shoots high school seniors for a living and s/he’ll tell you that photographing 40 to 50 people per day, five or six days a week, does not exactly get the creative juices flowing. Fortunately, one of the “perks” of the job was unrestricted use of the studio and equipment on Sundays. The in-house lab would process and print whatever personal work I did, with the stipulation that they could hang any staff photographer’s work as samples in their various locations throughout Florida.

After working several years as a studio photographer, I decided that doing “assembly line” senior portraits and weddings was neither personally fulfilling nor making me rich. So I left the studio and went elsewhere to seek my fame and fortune. Over the years I’ve taught photography at a community college in Florida and worked for a magazine publisher in California. I’ve shot on location in Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, the Bahamas, Canada, Belize, and all over the U.S. My work has been published in numerous books and magazines over the last three decades. I dropped my membership in PPA and FPP, since both organizations are for studio photographers, but I remain a proud member of ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers).

Now, in the early 21st century, I find myself with a Master’s degree, in demand as a public speaker, and retired from the photography profession. I “hung up my camera” several years ago, but in 2004 I read a book by Iris Krasnow, Surrendering to Self. She explains that most people fall into a rut of doing what they need to do for living day-to day and never take time to do what they really want to do. She makes the case for [re]discovering what gives you pleasure, then making a conscious effort to spend some time pursuing that. I decided that the happiest times in my life were not shooting photos on deadline for some demanding client, but rather those occasional Sunday afternoons in the 70s, creating my own “personal masterpieces” in the studio, displaying the resulting prints in competition, and sometimes taking home a ribbon.

So I recently switched from medium-format film to 35mm digital and began the pursuit of my own happiness. My photography is no longer driven by a laundry list of standard shots that customers will buy, because I’m no longer “in the photography business.” I don’t do studio sittings. I don’t do weddings. I don’t do children. I still occasionally do some work for hire — mostly swimwear/glamour/lingerie for calendars and fashion for clothing catalogs — but I’m very selective in choosing clients and projects. Most of my photo shoots these days are purely for my own creative satisfaction (that’s what “being retired” is all about!) I also want to do my part to further the profession by teaching and sharing my experience with aspiring photographers. In everything I do, I blend old fashioned great photography with new technological advances. Above all, I want to have fun. And I want all the other people involved in my projects—models, makeup artists, assistants—to have fun also. Life’s too short not to dance!

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P.S. Friend (n.) A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts. -- Am. Heritage Dict.
I am getting "friend" requests from people I don't know. If you want be my "friend," invite me out for beer and pizza. Or at least let's schedule a shoot together. Once we get to "know" each other and are "acquaintances" or "colleagues" for a while, we may get to the point where we "like and trust" each other enough to become "friends." If I don't know you, I will decline your "friend" request.

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