Who is this Bob Guy and why does he only eat photography?
I've Always been a little different and now I like it that way. So I immerse myself in my creative side as much as life allows.
Growing up in Astoria, Queens, New York City, in the late 40s and early 50s, I had to cope with the "Blackboard Jungle" era, the street gangs and all kinds scary crap. But, mostly, I was able to find other odd ones out and have a pretty good time. My friends, Kenny, Joey, Donny and Pierre and I had some good times pitching pennies, playing cards and hanging out. Then, at about 9 years old, my dad gave me a camera and we setup the enlarger in the bathroom and a passion was born in me. I'd take pictures as much as I could afford (not nearly as much as I wanted to) and wandered the streets seeing things that no one else could see in the ordinary stuff you encounter walking around. I didn't really have the slightest idea that I was meditating with a camera (Miksang Photography). Decades later, I recovered many of those negatives which you can now view (after a great deal of restoration) in the "What I did as a Kid" section of this site.
Then I went on to High School, where I became the photographer and photo editor of the Newtown Observer, the schools monthly newspaper. This seriously amped up my photography activity and gave me more refuge from the not always too pleasant world around me. Then came college and my music days and a first wife, a very beautiful woman of color who got me to move to California and helped me to become a professional musician.
So degree programs in music and philosophy didn't exactly set me up in the job market and protests were going and we were marching and eventually "tuning in, turning on and (definitely) dropping out". So after a stint as mailman, I ended up a musician which went really, really well for about 5 years. See My page on that here .
Then a son and then, more or less, a real job, a divorce and later a new and long lasting relationship. So in 1972, I started working in the building trades. In 1974, I got a general contractor's license and worked with 4 partners as "Space, Design... And Construction". Not knowing squat and being a natural boot-strapper, well... that ended us up not so prepared for the recession of '80. Went to work for the grown ups which was a good fit for me and learned more in less time by working with the pros. All that while restarting my passion for photography, Backpacking and getting into nature as much as possible rekindled the childhood Miksang, meditation with a camera. With my building and learning about design and architecture in the 70's, I started to enter into a love of architectural photography with the photo journalism and nature photography I was already into, this seemed a natural progression.
Then, it hit me, in the mid '80s, Why should I do anything else. Eat, sleep and drink in the art and move in a world of my own making. So I quit my day job and gave up part-time assignment photography and shows for full time. I joined ASMP (The American Society of Media Photographers) and started Swanson Images. And to this day, when I'm behind the camera, in front of the computer (my modern day photo lab) or even making this web site, I'm that kid in the streets of NYC making art and feeling good for doing so. So Maybe this is really therapy for me for coping with the crazy world of human civilization, or maybe this is where and who I'm supposed to be.
Thanks for paying attention.