Ask Charlie about his earliest memory of doing photography and he will tell you that it was at the age of 7. He remembers taking a picture of a butterfly with a Kodak Brownie Starlight camera and being very frustrated that the picture came out blurry.
Now some 44 years later he knows very well why it was not sharp and has long since learned how to do macro (close up) and most other types of photography.
While he has taken a few photography courses, a couple while in high school and a number while attending 2 years at Unity College, he claims the majority of his ability has come through trial and error. He says that error is the key word. Because he has burned up thousands of rolls of film over the years he says he has gained the lions share of knowledge from the mistakes he has made. For the most part, he considers himself self taught.
Born in West Palm Beach, Florida he is the 2nd oldest of 6 children and has 5 sisters. In addition to Florida, he has lived in Illinois and on Long Island in New York. He has been a Maine resident since he moved here to attend college in 1976 and says from the time he arrived, he was planted here.
Charlie has a diverse background with many careers under his belt. He says that while he has always had a passion for photography and has freelanced since he was in his teens, all the other jobs that side tracked him have all been beneficial in preparing for owning and operating his own business. A few of his former occupations are mechanic, parts manager, numerous sales positions, apartment owner and landlord, realtor and law enforcement officer both in Bar Harbor and in Winslow.
Charlie had lived on Great Pond in Belgrade for 16 years from 1988 to 2004 and then moved his family and business to Vassalboro. As of this writing has a 25 year old daughter, a 19 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. His wife Debby is a medical technologist and chemistry supervisor. She has been at the VA Togus for over 22 years.
In addition to his passion for photography, he claims to have always loved aviation and has combined the two in conducting his aerial photography services. He started flying lessons while attending college and now has well over 1,600 hours logged, mostly in his two 1939 Piper Cubs. During the last 24 years he has experienced three engine failures while flying and has walked away from them all. For the first one he says he was over dense woods and there was no where else to go. He grins and says the ride was pretty smooth until he sheared a wing off in the top of a pine tree some 4 stories up. The other two times he was in the position to be able to land the aircraft without any damage.
When he is not doing his photography business he claims a diverse list of hobbies and interests. He says his priorities are his family and is also active in the Church and has served as a camp counselor at the Young Adventurers camp at Mechuwana located in Winthrop. Charlie conspicuously wears a beautiful gold cross that he says was given him by a close personal friend, Father Daniel Bitsko from Church of the Resurrection, a Byzantine Catholic Church located in Smithtown, New York.
For other pursuits he has a number of trophies from martial arts tournaments and says that he also has well over 50 more from firearms competitions he has engaged in. His most recent passion for shooting competitions is Cowboy Action shooting and he took 1st Place in his class in the 2000 Maine State Championship. His alias for the competitions is 'Toronado'.
He says it is no coincidence that his Maine license plate is 'ZORRO' which is currently featured on a red Corvette convertible. For those of you who do not know the translation for Zorro, it is the Spanish word for Fox.
Chuck also collects cameras with well over 450 in his collection including one of the type he was using at age 7. He loves nature and is also an avid fisherman and hunter. He says that he had (another) life altering experience in 2000 when a very large black bear he was hunting started stalking him and the hunter became the hunted. While he claims it was the most terrifying experience of his life, he is glad it happened and says he has achieved new personal growth from the experience. At last check, both hunter and bear were alive and well. At some point in the future, he does plan to have a bear skin rug hanging in his home...
His advice to his children and to all when it comes to choosing a career; 'do what you love doing and get paid for it'. He also suggests that we learn from other people's mistakes because no one will ever live long enough to make them all them self.
His advice to aspiring photographers, learn as much as you can, shoot as many pictures as you possibly can and get your work critiqued from people in the know. He suggests that while you should accept the compliments, listen closest to the criticisms and suggestions, for that is where the most is to be learned...