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Photography was never a lifelong dream of mine or anything like that. When I was little I wanted to be a rock-n-roll astronaut stuntman who wrote spy novels and amazing cookbooks, and who of course dabbled in archaeology and the paranormal. I still want to be that, actually.  


I also knew early that I wanted to go places. Maybe it was National Geographic or James Bond or 1001 Nights. I don’t know, but exploring the world had to happen. As far as the photography goes, I didn’t get into it until I was 16 and started messing around with an Olympus OM-1. 

This was my first proper camera.

I moved to California at this same age and started attending college at night while still in high school during the day. I took some photo courses, mainly just to have access to the darkroom. For a while I spent whole days in there making magic and missing out on all that famous California sunshine. I volunteered weekly at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego and took shots for the school newspaper,  The Telescope.

I headed back to Philly around five years later and found a job as the photographer for a dinner cruise ship on the Delaware River, with duties somewhat similar to those of Ted McGinley’s character “Ace” Covington from The Love Boat, although I swear I wasn’t that lame. My official title was “Funtographer” if you can believe that. I have trouble believing it myself. Anyway I saved up for a trip to Thailand, and this trip changed everything.

Since then, if one adds it all up, I have spent about eleven full years out and about exploring and photographing Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Antarctica. Over this time I have had an assortment of odd jobs: apple-picker, janitor, welder, cook, courier, 

hotel review writer, mover, stagehand, meatpacker, desk clerk, movie extra, picture framer, guinea pig, blogger, and performer in a few bands and music projects. Currently I earn my dough with my photography, regularly exhibiting at art fairs around the US.

I continue to travel and recent adventures include walking thousands of miles through France, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland, and an odd trip involving Scotland, Greece, Tunisia, Serbia, Moldova and a few other places. The treks in Europe will be the subjects of my first photography books, which are an ongoing project.

Oh, and photography is not the reason I hit the road. I go out of curiosity, because I have itched to do it since I was little, and because I love the newness of every day away. The photos are like a side effect of the drug that travel can be, and I'd say the basic recurring theme of my photography is a simple one: the extraordinary nature of ordinary life.   

Initially all of my images were taken with Kodak or Fuji slide films, but in 2013 I gave digital a whirl, so now both film and digital are used. I also mount, mat, and frame everything myself. 

At the very least I hope my pictures show how interesting life is, and if this keeps working out, maybe I can give that whole rock-n-roll spy astronaut stuntman chef deal a go. Maybe.

-gene 2024

Syria, 1999

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