People Who Have Touched My Life

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John Yates, 1978

John Yates (or JY as some students affectionately referred to him) was the head of the photography department at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

 

He believed in my ability and encouraged me to excel, giving me special assignments such as joining him in shooting a cutting edge technique of brain surgery at UC Medical Center. 

I learned all aspects of photography from JY: studio, natural light, portraiture, darkroom, large format, dye transfer, and how to work to a deadline. John Yates changed my life. 

Doña Maxsima, Sucré, Bolivia, 1980

During a trip to Bolivia with friends who collected Bolivian textiles, we met Maxsima. For this portrait she wet and braided her hair and twinkled at me outside her home.

This photo was featured in "Darkroom Discoveries" in the December 1981 issue of Darkroom Photography Magazine.

Maxsima.jpg
John Lee Hooker.jpg

John Lee Hooker, 1983

I love to dance! After wildly dancing at one of blues legend John Lee Hooker's gigs in San Francisco, he invited me to his 65th birthday party.

I was so excited to get there, I got a speeding ticket on the way. At the party I asked if I could shoot some portraits and he obliged.

He gave me a nickname, Boogie Child, a takeoff on his first big hit from 1948, "Boogie Chillen". I smile every time I think of John Lee.