Of course there's a story...
What's the big deal you might ask? With no background or training in the arts, "artist" was not a word I would have used to describe myself. Don't artists become engaged in art in school? learn how to draw/paint/act/dance at an early age? major in the arts? and go on to pursue their passion for their art most of their lives? Well...I've done none of that. When I mentioned my epiphany to an old friend he laughed and said, "what do you mean? you've always been an artist". Okay...so how come nobody bothered to tell me?
At age 52, I took up photography. I've always taken photos, mostly of the family but, never with the intent of creating art. At 59, I wrote and performed my first play. With no prior experience or training in theater I got up on stage (several stages) by myself, alone for 90 minutes in front of hundreds of people. That's probably the craziest thing I've ever done!
Looking back, what set things in motion was an identity crisis, my mid-life crisis, that came to a head on my 50th birthday (I'm 62 now). In a nutshell it went down like this ... I've always had a nagging (okay, maybe obsessive) desire to be "good" at something, really good. Upping the ante even more, I wanted to feel passionate about that something too. Most of my adult life I didn't think I had anything close it. It caused me a lot of grief to say the least.
On the cusp of turning 50, I had a nightmarish realization: more time had passed behind me than I had left ahead. Those things I dreamed of doing, hopes I had for myself, if I hadn't done them by 50, they weren't going to happen. Crazy thinking, I know, but I'm a pessimist at heart, you know, "the glass is half-empty" kind of person...that's how we think.
It took me a couple of years to pull myself out of that funk. Fortunately, instead of doing something totally crazy like buying a sports car or having an affair, I did something else, I picked up a camera. Photography IS that something I'm good at, I'm passionate about too, and it was a life changing discovery. Photography IS my means of self-expression.
The great Ansel Adams once said, "there are two people in every photograph: the photographer and the viewer." There is no doubt, I am in every photo I take.
Clearly life was NOT over at 50... it seems it was only getting started. Being an artist in the broadest sense of the word is who I am. I must "create". I can NEVER STOP.
Did I just say that? ...that hardly sounds like me!
What kind of photographer are you?
"What kind of photographer are you?"... I always have a hard time answering that question in just a few words. Lots of things interest me.
I love urban landscapes and street photography.
Trees are a favorite subject.
I enjoy still-life.
But mainly I get a thrill photographing my immediate surroundings wherever I am. I like to challenge myself: "what can I see tonight on my walk around the block?" I once had a exhibit where all the photos were taken on my drive to and from work. I took the photograph below on my way home for lunch one day. I saw the scene, pulled over, jumped out of the car, snapped the photo, got back in the car and went home.
I love event photography.
I like the challenge of telling the story of the event. The people in the photo below are at a wedding party, looking at photos I took of the wedding.
Did I mention theater?
I regularly work for several opera and theater companies documenting productions. The payoff for me is the joy of capturing the instant before a performer steps on stage.
House and building interiors fascinate me too.
I told you, I'm hard to pigeonhole.
My work has appeared in corporate publications, magazines, album/CD and book covers, museum exhibits, and private and corporate art collections.
Playwright - Performer
In February of 2012 (age 58) I started The David Serko Project. David Serko is my brother and died from the complications of AIDS in 1992 at the height of the AIDS epidemic in this country.
Photo: Nancy Borowick
The Project evolved into a solo-performance play that I wrote and perform called My Brother Kissed Mark Zuckerberg that debuted in 2014.
Never taken a drama class. Nothing. I was never interested much at all in theater. But like photography, I just did it and found my way...with a little help from my directors. To my surprise, when writing the script for My Brother Kissed, I discovered a connection between my photography and the story I tell in the play...sorry you are going to have to see it to find out!
Rather than go into a lot of detail here see the The David Serko Project website for details on where that is headed.
The Day Job
My background and graduate training is in the social sciences and counseling. I worked as a family therapist for a number of years, eventually deciding in 1982 that it was more important to take family leave to care for our first child Lorean. I never went back. I became a stay-at-home dad, caring for our three children into the late 1990s. Talk about a challenging job...never regretted that decision for an instant!
I reentered the workforce in the field of Information Technology with a small school district in 1997, and have been working there ever since. Like most other things I've done over the years, I am completely self-taught. I catch myself on many occasions wishing that I was younger, smarter, and knew what I was doing!