When did you first become interested in photography?
I became interested in photography when I starting working at Gamma/Liaison as gofer/filer/researcher back in summer of 1979. I was 18.
How did you get the job at Gamma/Liaison? How long were you there and what did you do next?
Michel Bernard the owner of Liaison Agency used to pull in his Peugeot every morning by a cigarette stand/candy store I use to work at to buy his Gitanes cigarettes. We started chit/chatting in French every time his stopped by. I got to know that he has a photo agency and that he is rep for Gamma in the US. He spent time explaining to me what a photo agency does. He asked about what I was doing and what I wanted to do. At the time I just immigrated from Lebanon 6 month before and had no freaking idea what I wanted to do. The short of it, the store owner moved me around from one store to the other and I stopped seeing Michel. Before leaving that store, I did tell him that I will be moving around and that if he ever needed someone with great work ethics to please find me. He sure did few month later, his secretary Sheila called one of the paces I was working at and said “God I finally found you,” Michel had me looking for you for quite sometime, when can you come and meet with him? I was stunned. I met with him soon after that call and he offered to start working there…
I stayed there for almost 7 years and then moved to Picture Group up in Providence, RI.
Thats a pretty incredible story. Did you have any inclinations to work in photography before talking to Michel Bernard? What led you to start your own agency, Redux?
No, I had no inclinations at all to work in the Photography business before meeting Michel.
I had sold my previous agency Saba Press Photos to Corbis back in 2000 and after working there for 19 months I felt that wasn’t for me. I took sometime off and waited until my non compete is over. I tried to figure out what else I could do during that time that has nothing to do with the photo business. I failed, I couldn’t figure what else I can do. I couldn’t let go of my love for this business, so I started Redux on June 2003.
Did you know which photographers you wanted to bring on board as soon as you started Redux?
I honestly did not. I was just starting fresh.
What advice would you give to photographers looking to get the attention of an agent?
I would tell photographers, show work you really feel passionate about, work that is very creative that will grab somebody attention instantly. Get discovered and published by the magazines most photographers dream off working with, that will grab most agent attention. Work on personal projects that are funny, serious, even silly but interesting enough to command an audience for them. Bring in a style that is your own and that is ahead of what any one else is doing.
If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back ten years I would have pushed myself hard to be a better Surfer!