I graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with a diploma in motion picture and television production. Much to my dismay, Stephen Spielberg already had some pretty competent film people and so he really wasn’t that desperate to find any raw talent that was just graduating. Would have been nice if someone had given me a “heads up” on that one!
So instead, I got a job as the staff photographer for Mount Royal College. This was cool. I got to do a lot of neat stuff and I learned a lot, but it just seemed so dry and boring. I wanted action! Excitement! Adventure!
So, after a few life-changing events, I found myself working as a photojournalist in a little village (at that time) of Grande Prairie. I mean, it wasn’t all that bad. Most of it was pretty boring stuff, like covering the local curling team or reporting on how many cows came home that night. But there were also some bright spots. I met the Queen of England and Prince Phillip. Had a few lunches with some well known celebrities and movie stars. Almost got killed covering a huge downtown fire. Met some really strange mountain men who hadn’t been in civilization for over a decade. Lots of strange things, actually. But at the end of the day, it was Grande Prairie, and so after a couple of years, cabin fever set in and I just had to get out of there.
I returned to Calgary and landed a job with Partec Lavalin as the manager of their Graphics Department. This was a pretty cushy job and I was ready to settle in for the long haul and work towards getting a nice fat pension, when the energy crisis hit. For those of you who remember the financial devastation Alberta went through when the government brought in the National Energy Policy, you will understand how things were back then. Massive layoffs, people having nervous breakdowns, companies going belly-up… well, just general mayhem everywhere. So when that job evaporated, I landed several other jobs (see the short and sweet version) but because of the economy, job security was a very tenuous thing.
So when I was hired as the Prepress Manager for Colour Four, I just assumed that it would also be short term and so I decided to set up a sideline company (you guessed it, Digital Design) as a kind of “golden parachute” in case that company folded as well. This was in 1990 and by that time the economy was recovering and it wound up being a long term position. I was enjoying the tax breaks I was getting with my home business and it seemed like a good way to write off all the software, computers and other toys I was buying. But I knew that I had to show some income in order to justify these write-offs and so I took on a few clients. To my surprise, Digital Design took off and soon I was getting a ton of clients. In fact, things were picking up so well that it soon became a conflict of interest with my day job. I had to make a choice, leave Colour Four and do Digital Design full time, or close Digital Design and stick with Colour Four. I decide to bail and I have never looked back.
Digital Design grew and it was around 2001 that I met and fell in love with my beautiful wife, Oleanna. Oleanna is a young, uber-georgeous Ukrainian glamour model and when I met her, I immediately missed my days as a photographer. Building web sites, advertising and marketing is a good occupation, but it was not something that Oleanna understood and I wanted to get her involved with my business. So I decided to launch a second venture, Editions by Frederick, a glamour photography studio that is far removed from my corporate clients. Oleanna took to it like a fish to water and, after taking several courses in hairstyling and make-up artistry, she soon was an invaluable asset in helping our photography clients before, during and after the shoot. Her skills as a businesswoman grew and it was not long before she was the prime operator of the business.
So now she assists me with both businesses and frequently accompanies me on commercial photo shoots as well. Having a photo studio also turned out to be an asset for Digital Design as we now have the facilities for doing corporate photography as well as the computer graphics.
It’s a strange mixture, doing both corporate work and glamour photography, but like I said, I guess I’m a little bit different.