Geo was born the year Sputnik launched and started taking pictures when he was 12. With earnings from his newspaper routes for The Globe & Mail in the mornings and The Toronto Star after school he bought a Polaroid at Honest Ed’s Warehouse. Geo’s family was living at Rochdale College in Toronto in 1968-9. In the lobby gallery he was offered a photography exhibition that brought him a lot of attention and confidence.
At age 14 attending high school in Ottawa, Geo built a darkroom and developed his own film and print enlargements. He started selling action pictures to school football and basketball players to offset the expenses. During his high school’s 50th anniversary he earned financial support for an “Alternative” Yearbook which taught him about business, commercial photography and the printing industry. On graduation he headed off to university with a thriving silk screen tee shirt business, a photographer’s portfolio of printed projects and a good idea how to make a buck with a camera.
Between classes at York University, Geo shot Annual Reports for Eldorado Mines (now Cameco Ltd) and Goodyear Canada. Geo graduated with a BFA-Honours Film Production and worked on a number of commercial film projects including the John Candy cult classic “Clown Murders” and a Bollywood production, “Door Desh” (Distant Land) where he worked as first camara assistant to India’s foremost cinematographer K K Mahajan.
Opportunities led Geo back to photography. Client AV House offered use of their studio across the street from Toronto’s famous Flat Iron building, also known as the Gooderham Building. A few years later a second studio was acquired in a sky lit loft above a metal foundry in the Junction District. A diverse client list led Geo through notable ad campaigns, business publications and extravagant AV shows. Geo enjoyed tremendous creative freedom and a variety of assignments including two book projects: “Share The Flame: The Official Retrospective of the Olympic Torch Relay for 1988 Calgary Olympics” and “Canada: This is my home”-Commemorating Expo86.
Location experiences involved working a mile underground in Uranium mines, sweating in the jungle near Manaus at the headwaters of the Amazon River, flying in almost every small aircraft available (doors off of course), piloting a Sikorsky 55 for almost an hour when the pilot thought it would be amusing, photographing the DC-3 cockpit as while landing from over the pilot’s shoulder, conducting an air to air coordination between the camera Cessna 155 and Goodyear Blimp “Enterprise”. Stage passes for bands including Eurythmics and U2′s first concert in Canada at the Maple Leaf Ballroom. Sting and Springsteen for Amnesty International. A more notable experience while shooting on location for Formula One race events; a tire flew over his head missing him by only few yards!
In studio Geo earned an early reputation for in camera Special Effects (SFX) and large set work. He outgrew the loft studio and bought and renovated a 7200 sq ft shoe factory and converted into an Art Deco shooting gallery. The north-east cylclorama was 30′ x 40′ and 12′ high. On the west side of the studio was SkyWall a 40′ wide 12′ tall custom painted sky background. (Production shots gallery is coming soon!)
Cars were shot there, as well as music videos including the Barenaked Ladies “Enid“. During this period Geo used an Apple Macintosh and Hypercard (the software that inspired the World Wide Web we know today) to manage the busy studio schedule and accounts. Geo was becoming more and more interested with the emerging landscape of digital information. He opened a Compuserveaccount and joined the First Class Community. Soon after he started programming multimedia in VideoWorks (later to become Director), HyperCard, SuperCard and FutureSplash Animator. Geo began accepting HTML assignments as soon as the Mosaic graphical WWW browser appeared. An early project: the relaunch of BBN Planet which was bought by AT&T to their launch their Internet services (now Verizon.) shortly after the project was completed.
As Geo became more digital, he downsized to a small studio in a rural school house on the Bruce Trail in the Caledon Hills. During this period he explored continued shooting product catalogs and location assignments, creating multimedia and exploring Internet opportunities between gardening, renovating and taking hikes along the wilderness trail just out side his back door. Heavily influenced by Rick Smolan’s work, “Alice to Ocean“, Geo programmed, produced and contributed to a number of interesting CD-ROM projects under various business names: Geo Dot, FreeWill Interactive, Radiant New Media and finally HooPmedia. Increasingly he was evolving his photography background to a holistic and versatile visual communications sensibility which included print, film/video, multimedia, Internet and live event projects. Geo was approached by one of his long time photography clients; Egan Visual to bring their extensive print catalog up to date and initiate the company’s web sites. Commencing with the TeamBoard interactive touchscreen division and later the more traditional furniture company–Egan. That contract evolved into the position of Creative Director – Marketing Technology that Geo held for 16 years. In 2011 the founder, Jim Egan passed away and Geo left the firm the following summer to pursue new directions.
Geo’s still directing, programming and shooting great images in the evolution of his interests and projects.