I moved out to LA in 1991 to attend an MFA program at CalArts and to make a long story short, I never went. Instead, I worked for Michael Ruppert(behind camera) and his associate Richard Daily(next to camera) in a very busy commercial still life studio. We worked insane hours, early mornings to very late nights often working on multiple jobs for Lexus, Ikea, Energizer, etc.
I often stop a shoot to demonstrate proper C Stand use or to explain lighting, one of my long time assistants, Kristi Workman, often rolls her eyes when I do this. It is Michael who gave me my crash course in all things commercial photography. Sure, sometimes I was only painting a backdrop or driving a truck or building Ikea furniture or loading 8x10 film or polishing stainless steel all around the studio, but it was invaluable.
I worked with Ruppert's Studio less than a year and I fled to New York to pursue my career... too much driving in LA for me, but it is the experience I gained with and from the crew there that allowed me to walk into amazing studios here in NYC... Richard Pierce, Craig Cutler, Carlton Davis & Gentl + Hyers, etc.
It is at Michael's studio that I met Fred Blake who now runs FotoCare's rental department here in NYC. I also met many of the people who are still my very good friends.
A short but intense part of my life that I haven't thought about in a while, I am glad to know they are all doing well. LA is good for some things...
Above is the truck I drove many times out to Burbank from Culver City, hauling Ikea furniture for shooting. Below are polaroids from from a couple shoots, that's my arm standing in for the Hand Model in the Lexus.
The building Michael had built for him in LA (culver city).