The name's Harris. Harris from Paris. I've been photographing, writing, and telling stories since I can remember.
And traveling too. Lived and worked all over the world. Fluent in French and speak Japanese. Internationally syndicated. Specialized in lifestyle photo/text feature stories and later work and travel alone documentaries.
Now based in South Carolina, USA and still going strong. New projects include a series of traveling exclusive photo exhibits, like Backstage Paris Cabarets and the last photo session of Janis Joplin, teaching online courses and offline workshops, becoming a keynote speaker, distributing my latest invention, the SeeScreen, and creating an offbeat political commentary service and syndication.
To learn ensconce myself in history books, documentaries, and lectures. To get aggravated follow the daily news. To be amazed visit my herb garden. And for nutrition do my own cooking.
College was required where I grew up and I learned things I might never have been exposed to. Like everything that happened on campus in the 1960s.
While at Rochester Institute of Technology, the School of the Museum of Fine arts, and Tufts University, I even learned stuff in the classroom and lecture halls.
That included things like the photography zone system, studied the work of photography ikons like artist Edward Weston, and photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.
I studied color theory, graphic design, Shakespeare, Albert Camus, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, and competitive squash. I also learned I was a pathetic writer.
Fortunately, I could wow my instructors by including great photos with terrible text which none of the top students could do. I think there's an ancient saying that goes "A picture is worth a passing grade."
And I took advantage of the available one-on-one remedial writing tutoring. Between the two, I was able to graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I was off to see the world.
For the next 20 years, I traveled and worked in around 50 countries while based in Sweden, Japan, and France. I learned to speak Japanese and became fluent in French.
And along the way got more training from editors at the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press. I sold 500+ photo and text travel and lifestyle feature stories to all kinds of magazines and newspapers.
Fast forward a few years, I returned to the US, relocated to Los Angeles and jumped into the glamorous world of Hollywood. I interviewed celebrities like Tom Hanks, Hillary Swank, or Jodie Foster.
Soon I had my doubts if this was what I wanted to do next. In Paris, I worked at fabulous restaurants and the fashion shows in Paris, Milan, and London. I did stories on Michelin rated chefs and truly glamorous supermodels and fashion designers.
Now I worked in a high-rise office building surrounded by gossip journalists and public relations staff standing right behind me ready to pounce if I asked any wise guy questions which I'm prone to do.
And then there was video. It was edging out photography. I cold-called a local CBS news desk and inquired about an entry-level job. "Better than that," a staffer says, "Take the annual Broadcast Bootcamp Course." So off I went to Norman, Oklahoma.
The intensive course was originally set up during World War II to train all the pilots needed to fly B52 missions. After the war, the program turned to peacetime training for television station staff. When I got there, everyone had far more experience than me.
They couldn't have had less because I had none. We got training from seasons pros in story planning and writing, camera, lighting, and sound work, editing. The course was fantastic. I was voted second least likely to succeed. To be fair, when I arrived and had never heard of an XLR jack or a jump cut.
One beautiful Saturday afternoon, the last thing I wanted to do was be indoors editing a fluff piece on a Hollywood celeb. I head over to the nearby UCLA bookfair. Way off in a corner of the exhibit, I come across the foreign author section and see kind of an exotic looking guy, his feet resting up on the promotion desk, his expression of utter boredom. Clearly he's an action kind of guy and he's hustling his action book on his adventures in the Middle East.
I make some kind of smart ass comment and he replies the same way. Two travel journalists meet. "You got a car," he asks. "Get me out of here." We spend the afternoon drinking beer at Venice Beach. He's a former journalist now working for a TV production house in Dubai. He invites me to visit. Says there's a lot of TV work. Make my day.
In no time, I'm on a flight to Dubai. And within 24 hours I have my first video documentary gig. To my very pleasant surprise, I remembered everything I learned in Broadcast Bootcamp just a few months before. I shot a documentary on the mobile phone in Japan. I shot it without a crew.
Back in Dubai, they were awed I could just go and return in two weeks with everything done. Of course, they didn't know that I had lived there and already had contacts who put it all together. I stayed in Dubai for six months. Also worked in Cairo. Now I'm back and settled in York County, South Carolina combining all the past skills into producing content and promotion for small businesses, sole proprietors, entrepreneurs, and individuals.