Born in Phoenix, AZ "The Valley of the Sun". Growing up in the suburban desert, the parking spaces of super malls and convenient stores out-numbered the indigenous cacti which led to a skateboard being my favorite prosthetic companion.
If my memory serves me correctly, it was my third grade teacher who first introduced me to a camera. He happened to be in charge of the school newspaper and thought it would be a good idea for there to be an 8 year old photographer. I remember thinking that this device was the greatest thing in the world. Being able to take this camera out into the playground and take pictures of my friends tormenting ants, pummeling each other with a sinister red ball, and partaking in the usual activities only added to my enthusiasm. I would hand the camera back to the teacher, he would process the film, and the pictures would show up in the special section of the newspaper.
My interest in photography really peaked again in high school and it became an outlet that worked well with my lifestyle. There was nothing more important to me than my friends and family, and to be able to capture their images in such a medium really excited and inspired me. It didn't hurt that my oldest brother, Tod Swank, was a staff photographer for one of the best skateboarding magazines, Transworld. That opened my eyes to the idea of getting paid to do what you love. What more could you want? Skate and get paid for it?? Well, I never actually got paid for it but had a hell of time anyways. Following high school I got my first big break as a photo-slave at a commercial photography studio in Phoenix. Thus began my formal/professional training.
There I was, a 17-year-old skate-punk working with these 30-40 year old guys who had more experience than I dared admit to as I stood there straight out of high school thinking I knew my proverbial worldly shit. I learned so much from those guys, not only about photography, but about life as well. I was able to travel the country and see things I never even dreamed of seeing outside of a magazine or an image on television.
After about 3 years of this, I decided to enter the organized school scene, that being the wondrous commodity depot of the State University. This too was a great learning experience, only in an extremely academic, boring, and non-experiential way. I lasted about 3 years and decided all the knowledge I would ever need I could find for free within the expanses of a public library. At this point I knew a change of environment was a must, and the road was calling. I packed up my ride and moved out to Los Angeles. This is where all of my thoughts and ideas began to come to fruition. I worked as an assistant for a couple of years to a handful of top photographers, which rounded out my knowledge of the business and pushed me to move ahead in the quest to further my career as a photographer.
Now, in the 14th year of being on my own as a photographer, I’ve photographed some of the most famous and infamous people in the world including Ron Jeremy, Lindsay Lohan, Pauly Shore, Pauly D etc… Others included are Stephen Spielberg, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie for publications such as Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, ESPN Mag and many others..