by Cassie Hepler
Every event you go to in the city, there is a mysterious man in black snapping photos of guests like the Philly paparazzi. Explore Philly wanted to learn more about the man behind the lens with a little one-on-one Q&A session. Read on to learn who he is, how he got so fabulous and how to make sure you end up in Philly Mag.
Congratulations on your photography exhibit, Chat Snaps, at the Comcast Shops! It was a pleasure to look at your photography.
Q: Which one is your favorite and why?
A: My favorite photo is the one of the skateboarder at Love Park. I took it when Love Park was still free to skate without interference from the police. Plus it was a serendipitous shot, I was just on my way to work in the morning and shot it with my pocket camera in 2000.
Q: How did you get into photography?
A: I always like capturing memories to share in the future and started carrying a pocket camera on me from when I was 10. I’ve never taken any courses though.
Q: I read you are a paralegal by day and paparazzi by night, is this true? And if so, how in the world do you find the energy to do so?
A: From 2005 – 2010 I was a paralegal by day and a paparazzi by night. I left my job at the end of 2010 and became a full time paparazzi. So that must have been an old site, as I have updated them.
Q: Who was your favorite celebrity to shoot and why?
A: My favorite is Angelina Jolie, she’s very modest, serious and knows we have a job to do. If we’re respectful, she’ll help us out to get the photos we need.
Q: You recently were able to make your relationship official? If so, congrats! Give us a glimpse of your home life (your hubby, any pets? A typical night at home includes?)
A: Thanks. Mike and I have been together for 20 years, we met at a Drexel college graduation party. These days I’m rarely home at night, we love our Saturday and Sunday’s when we get to spend most of our days together.
Q: How did your well-known blog www.phillychitchat.com happen?
A: I noticed that the papers weren’t covering charity events like they used to, now they are again, but in 2007 they weren’t. I think that because I wasn’t just an “event photographer” it blew up fairly quick. Not only did I cover events, but celebrities, quirky things like when I went to a Clay Aiken concert at the Mann Music Center, and noticed all the fans that had adorned their cars with his face on their hoods, or had special license plates. Philebrity picked up that story and gave me my first big break about a month after I started my blog. I’m a boots to the ground kinda blogger. I notice things in the City that anyone else might notice, but then I find out why it changed, or was bought or why it’s about to be developed.
Q: What can people expect to see from you in the future? Any exciting plans or business partners?
A: I’m about to embark on an over the air celebrity/around town radio segment. Then at any given moment you can hear what’s happening in Philly from me either in Philly.com, PhillyMag, Fox 29 or social media.
A: No, no one has ever acted as my representation, but everyone has been kind to me along the way to today.
Q: What’s the key to getting your photo taken and into Philly Mag (one of your frequent publications)?
A: Be stylish, have a story, be charitable or be a hot mess.
Q: You are also on Fox News a lot, how did that happen and when can people catch you on TV?
A: I would see Jen Frederick at a lot of events, we would chat about the scoop in the room, she wanted me on TV, but at that time I was still working full time. Later when I left my job, I told her I had more free time and could do the show. That was 3.5 years ago.
Q: Any plans for world domination? If so, we wish you all the luck in the world!
A: No I’m sticking with Philly. Thanks, I’m so grateful that people are still interested in what I think is relevant.