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Meet David Anderson
“Well I was born in a small town” — so starts out the song made famous by John Mellancamp. So was I – born and raised in Buckhannon, West Virginia, a quaint little college town right at the foothills of the Appalachians, and about an hour south of Morgantown (Home of the Mountaineers. I’m still a WVU fan … it was required!) Buckhannon’s picturesque Main Street has a beautiful court house that was built in 1899 after an earlier court house suffered several fires, and damage during the Civil War. Lots of shops and cafes also line the street. The town was even named as one of the best small towns in America a few years back.
My love for photography is a pretty traditional story. My first interest developed (pun intended) as a sophomore in high school when I was asked to be the assistant photographer for the
yearbook and school newspaper. With 1200 students in just three grades, we had lots of sports, clubs, and activities, so the yearbook was a pretty big deal. The following year I became the chief photographer and co-editor, and in my senior year I was named Editor as well.
Building My Career.
My professional career began with a stint as a school photographer for a division of what was the world’s largest photography company at the time. Yes, I made the cheesy pictures for the school packages – I also photographed all the sports and activities, and made senior portraits, too. The job offered some good experience and was fun, but with lots of travel and cheap motels, and daily setup and tear down of mini-studios, most people can only do that for so long. After a couple of years I returned to my hometown and opened my own little studio, and continued to work for the school picture company occasionally on a contract basis when they needed me.
After a few years of owning a studio and eventually a photo lab, I had lots of clients but knew nothing about business, and basically wound up broke. I didn’t waste any time when I was offered a job with a photography company in Washington, DC, right on Pennsylvania Avenue, and just down the street from the Capitol. It was primarily a custom photo lab, but did some in-house photography as well. It was owned by the former head of Time-Life’s DC photo lab, so many of our clients were well-known photojournalists and major news organizations such as Newsweek and Black Star. We also did work for many government agencies including the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, and even organizations like National Geographic. Often some of the agencies or other clients would ask for photographer recommendations, and my name quickly became the primary referral. I was hired for corporate and non-profit events, weddings, and more. After about four years I built up enough business to leave and work as a full-time freelancer. I also took lots of business and marketing classes. Business grew, and when my wife and I had our first baby, I decided it was time to get the business out of the house. I loved the beautiful sailing town of Annapolis, so that’s where I moved the studio and have been here ever since!
It’s difficult to place my photography style into just one category because I like to experiment and try lots of different methods and looks. But, if I had to, I’d have to say that my overall style is “timeless” because most of my work will be as relevant in 20 years as it is today. I don’t want my work to totally reflect just a current fad that we may or may not like a few years down the road. It’s hard to beat a good classic photograph … if it’s done well. I also love black and white, but it’s not the best choice for every subject.
Professional Affiliations and Awards
- PPA Certified Professional Photographer (CPP). Fewer than 3% of all professional photographers in the world have achieved CPP status.
- Holds the prestigious Photographic Craftsman degree.
- 34 (and counting) National PPA Merits.
- One of the very top photographers on Angie’s List for the entire Baltimore-Washington region.
- Has provided photography for literally hundreds of books, magazines, celebrities, organizations, and politicians.
- Founder and President of the Professional Photographers of Greater Annapolis.
- Has served on the Boards of state and regional photographer’s organizations.
- Maintains Continuing Professional Education.
- Graduate: Triangle Institute of Professional Photography (Pittsburgh, PA).
- Graduate: Mid-America Institute of Professional Photography (Cedar Falls, IA).
- Adjunct faculty member of Howard Community College.
- Graduate: University of Maryland Institute for Governmental Services (Academy Fellow).
- Graduate: Prince George’s County Municipal Citizen’s Police Academy.
- Served as a City Council Chairman and Mayor Pro Tem for Maryland’s 16th largest city
- Member: Prince George’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
- Operation Smile Studio (Celebration of Smiles Top 20 studio 2013 and 2014)
- President, Holmehurst West Civic Association. Has headed up numerous other community and civic organizations.
- Certifications from the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, the American Red Cross, and other agencies.
- FCC licensed amateur radio operator (KB3JRQ).