A Passion for Photography!

John Brady has truly spent his life in photography.  His grandfather, father and a couple of uncles were avid and accomplished photographers.

He received his first camera, a twin lens reflex, as a Christmas gift at age 10.  By age 13, he was shooting test film for Kodak where his father, was Chief of Quality Control at the Hollywood lab.  At the time it wasn’t that taking of the film that bothered him; it was that after Kodak had finished with the film, his father would critique the quality of his images not just for composition and exposure, but also the interest of image.  Little did he know that those early lessons would remain with him the rest of his life.

While in college several of his friends were avid and accomplished photographers often working as freelance and part-time photographers.  For the first time, John actually saw that there may be an alternate career path for him. 

John was drafted into the Army and continued to advance his photographic skills and expertise using the camera to record his activities and the base hobby shops to develop and print his images.  John had started his military career as a Combat Engineer, but in Officer Candidate School was offered an opportunity to become a Counterintelligence Officer.  This career path offered him additional opportunities to use his photographic skills.  He also developed a photographic training program to provide the other office personnel the basic skills they would need to take photographs that may be required as part of their job.  It was during this time, that he built his first home darkroom.

Upon release from the Army, he returned to school at California State University – Long Beach to pursue a degree as an Industrial Art Educator.  After hearing stories form classmates who were doing their student teaching, he changed majors to Administration of Justice.  Because of his previous college, most of his basic requirements were completed; John used photography classes to make up the units need to be a full time student. 

While in college, John worked as a freelance photographer and photographed weddings Navy Exchange at Long Beach Naval Base.  During his summers, he taught at a US Army School to train reserve intelligence personnel.  One of the classes he taught was an Introduction to Photography Class.

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice, but he wasn’t happy job opportunity at the time in that field.  At the encouragement of family and friends, he opened his first studio doing general photography with an emphasis on portraits and weddings.  He partnered with other photographers to complete large commercial projects.  The studio had a small darkroom for doing black and white processing and printing.  He also had a large darkroom at home in which large prints could be produced.  He began to develop the skills and equipment to color development and processing.

John also decided to increase his technical photographic skills by pursing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photo/Business under California State University – Long Beach’s Special Majors Program.  There were several directed studies classes that had a life long impact on John’s view of photography.  The most important of these was The Photograph as Art, taught by Bob Routh, which broadened his view of a photograph as something beyond a product, but as an object of art.

John was active in various professional photographic organizations including Professional Photographers of America, Professional Photographers of California, Professional Photographers West (the Los Angeles Chapter of Professional Photographers of California) and Professional Photographers of Orange County.  During this time, he attended every convention, workshop and meeting where he could learn more about photography.  He was also friends with many people who became leaders in photography, learning form each of them.

After several years of operating a studio full time, John returned to government service as a Security Specialist, but remained active photography working part-time in studio or operating a home studio.

Maybe his most productive time in photography was while working for the government in Washington DC.  He had a home studio with a large camera room, darkroom capable of doing both color and black and white photography.  John was doing 35 weddings a year and 100 portrait sittings a year. 

He was also an active lecturer and instructor for the various camera clubs in the area.  While some of the camera clubs in the Washington DC area were the traditional Photographic Society of America clubs, with an emphasis on landscape and tabletop photography.  There were many clubs of younger people who were interested in becoming working photographers if even on a part-time basis and who wanted to learn the skills needed to do portraits and weddings.

John was also an active in various photographic competitions.  He won over 100 ribbons and awards for his images.  He had images accepted for display at the National Gallery of Art and added a professional category to the Price William County Fair.  He was often asked to judge photographic competitions.  When judging John was always willing to offer a critique image so that the maker could improve his photographic skills.

John left the government to return to photography full time.  He purchased a high volume studio specialized in school, event, and prom photography and youth sports photography.  He also continued to do portraits and weddings.  He added a full color lab to the existing black and white darkroom to the studio to better serve his customers.  John also taught photography and business part-time at Otero Junior College.

For personal reason, John returned to California.  He initially was doing contract wedding for other studios, but in time began doing real estate photography.  In the last several years he has become one of the leading photographers for the real estate industry in Southern California.  John does extensive post-production work with Photoshop and other software packages to ensure that each image is good as it can be.  He also does graphic arts work for both realtors and other clients.

While John first use of digital photography goes back more than 10 years when he got his first scanner and copy of Photoshop.  At that time digital imaging was used primarily to enhance and retouch an image that had been taken on film, printed and then scanned into the computer.  John did not adapt digital photography until he was convinced that it was capable of providing images as good as film images. 

At this time, John has a number of high-resolution digital cameras and works primarily with digital images.  When a larger image is needed, he has a film camera including 35 mm, medium format, and 4x5.  He also has the ability to high-resolution scans of flat art and film in various formats.

John has used his background and interest in art to manipulate photographs both in the computer and on paper with pencil and brush to create unique images.  He teaches Photoshop and other graphic packages as a volunteer for SeniorNet to make computers available to seniors. 

John’s philosophy has always been to provide the best image that he is able to provide at a reasonable and fair price.


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