Steve Kaufman
Owner, Lead Photographer

One simple question:

What inspired you to become a photographer?

While I was growing up, my grandfather and I had a wonderful relationship and he was a tremendous influence on my life. My grandfather was a World War II pilot and flew P-40's, P-51's, and B-17's. While in the Army Air Corps, he became a reconnaissance photographer. His love for photography was evident throughout his entire life.

Early on, he and my grandmother introduced me to many different art forms. I remember visiting them in San Diego every summer and each time I would come to visit, we would go to musicals, plays, art fairs and I would work in his wood shop.

My grandparents have always nurtured my creative side. I've always loved figuring things out, and finding cool ways to create things. When my grandfather passed in 2005, I started combing through all of the photographs that my family had. I realized that while he was in many of the photographs, he spent the majority of his time behind the lens. As I began to hand out the photos he had taken throughout his life to my family members, I could see their faces light up as they each thought back to the moment when the photo was taken. The emotions that had long since passed were suddenly so real again.

I think it was at that moment that I realized the true power of photography. I studied photography in college, and I loved it for the art form, but I never really thought of it as something I wanted to do as a career. Actually, truth be known, I thought I would work in video production over photography. Video was a lot easier from my experience.

Since 2005, I've lost some people who were very close to me, and the only memories I have left of them are the moments in time that have been preserved through photography. I think that's what made me want to be a photographer. I think it's an honor capture people's memories in a way that helps them to remember not only how something looked, but what they felt at that exact moment. Photography is like my time machine. I can go back whenever I like and remember the smallest details. I can remember the smell of fresh cut wood in my grandfather's wood shop. I can remember holding his hand when we would travel somewhere and noticing that they felt rough from all of the experiences he had in life. I can remember celebrating his 60th wedding anniversary with my grandmother and how I felt when he gave me his iconic smile for a split second…. just long enough for me to snap my favorite photo of him.

Photography is a way for us to live forever, and that's why I do what I do. I'm invited in on someone's most important day of their life and entrusted with capturing the moments that matter… those fleeting in-between moments that happen and disappear in an instant. It's such a great feeling every time I look down at my camera and realize that I caught something special.

There's no greater thrill for me.

I had a professor in college tell me that, "it's only work if you'd rather be someplace else" and when I shoot photography, it's not work. It's a passion.

 
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