Where are you currently employed?
Warner Bros. Photo Lab
I’m working on stills from movies in production from Warner Bros. and other studios, as well as from special shoots of actors.
Describe Your Job.
I retouch images used to promote Warner Bros. movies and other studios’ films too. I do beauty retouching, compositing, image enhancement, color correcting and restoration…anything to make the image as beautiful and usable as possible.
How did you first become interested in this line of work?
I studied photography in college and did a lot of darkroom manipulation. My photography professor suggested I take a workshop for this new program from Adobe called Photoshop. That was back in 1992! I loved it!
Who gave you your first break?
Right after college, I became an assistant photographer for a large commercial studio in Kansas City. My boss, Don Wolf, saw that I had taken the Photoshop workshop and he wanted an in-house retoucher. So he set me up with my own office, retouching station and business cards. Then he sent me out on sales calls with a portfolio he helped me create. I had to figure it out as I went along since I had very little experience. Clients I met were excited that we offered this service, and I quickly took on many projects — mainly composites and fixing up product shots. It was exciting and terrifying!
What was your first union job?
I started with Warner Bros. Photo Lab…and I'm still here 15 years later!
Which of your credits or projects have made you the most proud and why?
Working on the images from all the Harry Potter movies from the start to finish was exciting. It was really fun to watch the kids grow up and change!
What was your biggest challenge in your job (or on a particular project) and how did you overcome/solve it?
There are challenges all the time. I get requests to combine images that seem impossible to combine. Then I just keep plugging away at it and changing a million things to get it just right There's a lot of personal satisfaction that comes with finally getting an image to look just the way the client requested. Also, it's wonderful having Willy Arzu as my retouching partner. We help each other with difficult projects and are able to combine our skills to make anything possible.
What was the most fun you’ve had at work?
The camaraderie and teamwork we have now at the WB Photo Lab makes the workdays fun. I really enjoy coming to work and making some magic happen with the images.
Jobwise, what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
I would love to still be here at the Photo Lab. My work never gets boring.
What are your outside activities, hobbies, passions?
I stay super-busy outside of work playing violin in two bands and tending to my vegetable and flower garden.
Favorite movie(s)? Why?
Cabaret and My Fair Lady. I love the songs, the costumes and the stories!
Favorite TV program(s)? Why?
I think my favorite TV show right now is The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. I love the humor, the characters and the look of the 1950s black-and-white TV program; classic and classy. Plus what a sweet love story between George and Gracie, on screen and off. I also like the complete opposite: South Park, Family Guy and The Simpsons.
Do you have an industry mentor?
When I came to Los Angeles, my boss at a digital imaging company called BowHaus, Joe Berndt, was immensely helpful in polishing up my skills and getting me established here as a retoucher. I've always been impressed with the way he and his business partner, Charles James, have run the company and their attention to their clients. I'm very grateful for the wealth of knowledge I gained working there.
What advice would you offer to someone interested in pursuing your line of work?
I would suggest getting to know some photographers to understand what they are looking for and what kind of turnaround times they expect. Essentially, you are part of their team. You help to finish up the images they had in mind and get them out to whoever needs them. A solid portfolio of images you have worked on is a must.
Was there ever a circumstance when you had to rely on the Guild for help or assistance?
No, but it's nice to have the peace of mind knowing that we have the Editors Guild behind us.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellow Guild members, some words of encouragement?
We are quite privileged in these economic times to be a part of a strong union.
- Compiled by Edward Landler
Editor’s Note: To recommend a member (including yourself) to be featured on the home page of the Editors Guild website, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.