I have always been curious about peoples lives and the experiences that shape their world. When I was seven years old I asked my grandmother for a tape recorder, but I got a camera instead. I asked her "why a camera"? She replied, "you can record with a camera too son." By the time I was thirteen years old I had built a darkroom in my bedroom. My mother did not appreciate the smell but my passion for photography continued to grow. I received the first recognition of my work when I was in high school. My art teacher submitted my work into the James VanDerZee Black Heritage award, and I won first place and honorable mention. Not only was this my first payday as an artist, but it was also my first introduction to the artist James VanDerzee. He would remain a strong inlfluence in my aestheitc vision and identity as an artist.