Inside this issue
Roger Fishman is a world-renowned photographer and filmmaker. Once a business man, working in the marketing industry for Fortune 500 companies and eventually starting his own successful company, he now explores the most remote parts of the world and captures photographs by helicopter, plane, boat, and dog sled
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Roger’s emails end with, “The risk in life is not taking one.” I wonder how many of us would, after a challenging start, secure career success and financial stability and then turn everything on its head to pursue a passion? Some of you may have done this; others may dream of it. Roger Fishman has embraced what he calls his ‘Life 180’ and seems to be doing quite well at it. I get the impression that he probably doesn’t do anything by halves. He’s clearly a motivated and high achieving individual whose life lessons have both prepared him well and generated considerable empathy for others. Beginning with a passion for wildlife, if not penguin poo, he now concentrates on aerial photography and videography, which highlights the effects of climate change on polar landscapes. We’ve all seen stunning aerials of Iceland, but it was Roger’s abstractions of water and ice in Greenland that first caught my eye and offered an introduction to his adventures and his passion for the planet.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what that led you to do? How much do you feel that your early experiences have shaped your approach to life and who you are now?
I grew up in a small town of 15,000 people in Orange, Connecticut, with my parents and two older sisters.
It was a charming tree-lined town where the main street was named Orange Center Road, which was a two-lane road with no traffic lights when I was very young, and only over time got its first stoplight at an intersection where my mom and I got hit by another car…and this was way before anybody wore seatbelts.
When I was growing up, there were lots of farms where one could get fresh vegetables and corn, as well as fresh milk from all the local cows.
Orange also had an annual fireman’s carnival with rides, games, grilled burgers and hot dogs, all of which took place on the town green.
And amongst all this beauty, history and charm (I mean, I did “win" the sesquicentennial contest for the person in the town with the most freckles), there were my parents, each with their own history and challenges. Which led to their unhappy marriage and ultimately led to a necessary and painful divorce.
There were many good times but also challenging times, as we encountered some extreme financial difficulty. After my parent's divorce, my mother had to buy groceries and pay bills while getting paid $2/hour and working 6 days a week as a dental hygienist. In fact, I was given food stamps in elementary school and refused to use them because I was embarrassed, as it would mean that other kids could see how financially poor we were.
However, many positive things happened from this experience that were amazing and impactful for my life. One is that the principal of the school (which was named after her) created a kind and dignified solution to my situation. She took notice of what was going on and had me come to the nurse’s office each day and get a quarter that I could use for lunch. She taught me the importance of kindness, dignity, and putting yourself in someone else’s position/shoes. Her name was Mary L. Tracy.