My professional life would never have been the same if my mother, an internationally exhibited painter and sculptor, hadn’t warned me “Never become an artist!”
But for as long as I can remember I was going to art shows and documenting passages of my life with cameras.I had a natural affinity to viewing the world through a lens and the camera increased my level of comfort while interacting with it. In my senior year at college I photographed the Vassar yearbook. Unexpected headlines in the NY Times, People Magazine and Esquire, highlighted the uniqueness of the yearbook. Each publication, even a Tonight Show monologue declared my profession by adding “photographer” as a prefix to my name. The notoriety helped me land a job as a photo assistant to celebrity fashion and beauty photographer Francesco Scavullo. While Scavullo shot covers for Cosmopolitan and fashion stories for Vogue, I countered by shooting portraits of survivalist cats adopted by shops and businesses. These photos became the basis for the Harper and Row book “Working Cats”. A sequel “Fat Cats” followed and I finished the trilogy with a parody of yearbooks entitled “Cat High: The Yearbook.” My desire to tell stories was the impetus to attend film school at Columbia where I received an MFA in Screenwriting and Directing. My thesis film under advisor Martin Scorsese, “Not Just Any Flower,” won numerous awards and was an audience favorite at the Sundance Film Festival. I grew deeper roots in NYC and returned to photography with a mission to be a photojournalist who divined the pulse of New York through photography. In 1989 I founded Gruber Photographers, a NYC wedding photography business, predicated on event photojournalism. I applied the narrative film technique of shooting scenes with a master shot, medium shot, and close-up and expanded the boundaries of the production by using a second photographer, photo assistant, ballroom lighting, multiple cameras, prime lenses, high speed film and shooting previously unheard of numbers of rolls of film. The result? Wedding albums that had drama and a busy assignment calendar. To expand the roster I trained my assistants to emulate my technique and event coverage. Twenty plus years later assistants long since grew into featured photographers: Jeremy, Zev and Maike, who are the heart and soul of Gruber Photographers. Our shared edict is treat clients with humor, sensitivity and cinema verite awareness. Together as a team we have gained the reputation of photographers who execute most high pressure, large-scale assignments for clients who expect the most from hiring the best.