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Carter Dow
   I discovered photography later in life than most.  It wasn't until after college that I even owned a camera, and the first serious camera that I had was a 4x5 view camera.  I was strongly influenced by Ansel Adams and the Group f/64, and I became fascinated by the process of shooting large format black and white images.  And my fascination, particularly with Adams, was his complete understanding and control over the entire process of creating an image.  It wasn't that he was able to take a beautiful photo of a beautiful subject, but that he was able to create a beautiful photo of even a mundane subject.  It was about being able to visualize the finished image, and then having the ability to create it.
   But this was all just an occasional hobby at the time.  Fast forward a few years and I was having a conversation with a good friend about making a career change, and he mentioned that advertising photography had always sounded like a fun business.  Creative, glamorous, exotic, travel, fame, and it didn't seem like it would be that difficult to do.  That was enough to plant the seed, and I have never looked back.
   I opened my first studio in Sacramento a couple of years later, without any training or experience, but a strong desire to make it work.  In the early 80's Sacramento was a relatively small market, but a great place to get started.  I spent 2 years there, developing the business, building up a portfolio and making a lot of mistakes.  It all went well,  but I knew that San Francisco was where I needed to be and finally made that move, with no regrets since.  The Bay Area has been a wonderful place to work, and live.  I have been fortunate enough to have great clients and great friends, all of which make this business fun.
Nikki Pratchios 
     I have been taking photos since before my teens. I still love to shoot film and only use digital for certain situations. Through photography, I seek to discover the essence of my subjects and then translate what I see and feel into the images. Photography for me is not only a profession but a necessary way of observing and processing life.

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