In a nutshell, this is me. It was a miracle that I stayed in school, much less finished school. My male role models were, for the most part, school drop-outs, alcoholics, or ruffians. The only art
I was exposed to was body art—tattoos on human canvasses. I write about my life story and life philosophy in my book, I Always Wanted To Be Somebody (But, I Settled For Much More: Me).
I went from being captured by adversity to capturing beauty through my photo art.
I realized I liked art when only in the second grade. But it wasn’t until I enrolled in college that I gained the artistic know-how that was to become the foundation for my photography twenty years later. It was at Texas Tech University that I discovered the likes of Cezanne, Renoir, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Degas, Miró, Dalí, and other master artists. It was during those metamorphic years
that I learned about color, design, balance, composition, and other factors that separate art from painting.
I will never forget an art assignment where we were told explicitly, “Your design must be contained within your frame.” Well, being the free, radical and independent thinker that I am, I broke the rules—my project extended outside my “frame.” Lucky for me, my instructor knew what it meant to be creative, and that sometimes artists have to break the rules. I got an ‘A.’
It wasn’t until twenty years after my art days in college that I was exposed to and bought my first 35mm SLR. I didn’t even know what an SLR (single-lens reflex) camera was! Besides learning about f/stops, shutter speeds and exposure, I found that everything else about good photography
I had already learned years ago as an art student.
I joined the Fort Worth, Texas camera club. It did not take me long to begin getting blue and red ribbons on my judged art. A year later, I was already selling my art as postcards. Less than three after joining the camera club, I won the much-coveted “Best of Best” award for ‘B’ (beginners) slides at the Dallas/Fort Worth annual competition. I haven’t turned back since. Photo art has
been, still is, and always will be, my life passion. A close cousin to this is my writing.
Today, I spend a lot of my time shooting in and around Colorado, including hiking mountains over 14,000’ to form my images. I teach photo art classes, make camera club presentations, and anything else that has to do with creating art.
No le quítes años a la vida; dale vida a los años. (Don’t take years from life; give life to the years)
Some other achievements:
- Has published approximately 50 postcards in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Wyoming and Colorado.
- Teaches three continuing education photography classes at Front Range Community College in Westminster (See summer 2009 schedule at www.frontrange.edu ).
- Art was featured as a double-spread in the Telluride, Colorado Visitors Guide.
- Art appears in a recent 2008 Colorado calendar; and another one will appear on a 2010 Colorado Calendar.
- Photography roots: Member of Fort Worth, Texas Camera Club---l985-l988
- 1 ½ yrs. after joining the FW Camera Club, Eli already had postcards of his images published in the Dallas/Fort Worth market.
- Has taught several photo classes, and has been a judge for several Texas and Colorado camera clubs.
- Is the author of a self-help/motivation book: ”I Always Wanted To Be Somebody (But, I Settled For Much More: Me)”
- Taught photography courses at FUN-ED, a continuing education firm in north Dallas, for 9 years. His class was selected among the Top 13 most popular classes in 2001 (out of 900 classes).
- Offers private 1-on-1 photography lessons, with hands-on practice and critique.
- Photography skills, knowledge and passion have had a broad appeal:
o Business & public promotions
o Promotional flyers for consultants
o Travel Guides
o Chamber of Commerce publications
o Office & home décor
o Retail store front advertising
- Is currently working on his second book, Arkansas: Do You See What I See?