About the Book

As I traveled around the world as a photographer, it quickly became apparent that stories like, “I was stuck on an overnight train, sleep deprived en-route Warsaw Poland as the border guards were demanding my travel documents at 4am in a language I didn’t understand…” or, “I found myself celebrating the Fourth of July with the Mexican Ambassador being serenaded by Ben Vereen…” or, “The President looked right at me as he was walking down Pennsylvania Avenue…” all seemed surreal to friends, family, and even colleagues. They seemed, in fact, made up, or impossible. Fortunately, my reason for being there was to document these circumstances–with a camera–seemingly from the edge of reality, hence the title.

Very early in my career, I began writing dispatches and sending them off to family, usually by email, well before the age of the commonly known Internet as it is today. It saved me time, as I didn’t have to recount the stories repeatedly and miss leaving something out. Over time, my life got a bit crowded, and I lost the time needed to do them as I previously had.

However, as most photographers will tell you, their photographs are not just images to them, but an instant reminder of what was seen through the viewfinder, as well as the environment outside of the frame, from weather to assignment challenges, to the shot that got away. This too, is the same for me. I also remember lighting setups, and even for film assignments, I can remember f-stops and shutter speeds, and usually focal lengths too. It’s a form of instant recollection that I am putting down on paper here not just to weave a tale from assignments past, but to bring these stories back to life, and share with you, dear reader, what went into the assignment. The challenges overcome, the missed shots, the lighting setups, and even, in some instances, the full take so you can see how a moment in time gets captured and selected.

Previously, I wrote the book Best Business Practices for Photographers, and you’ll find some of that information here in this book too, but if you’re looking for a business guide that would be the book to buy. If, however, you want to read about actual assignments, and how they were achieved–from photographing presidents to Eastern Europe, to the biggest names in Rock and Roll and Hollywood–often making something out of nothing–then this is the book for you.

In over 20 years spent as a photographer, I have had the good fortune of traveling the world on someone else’s dime to make great images. Here are the stories behind some of them.