Mr. Gross began to pursue his free-lance career in
making sure he took certain shots," Ms. Rule said. "He
has an intuitive sense about where to be and what to earnest after receiving a photography degree from Chica-
go's Columbia College in 1982. His early jobs were pri-
The couple also appreciated the opportunity to meet marily low-paying corporate public relations assignments
— he shot events like ribbon-cutting and ground-break-
Mr. Gross before the wedding day.
Mr. Gross said establishing a rapport with the bride ing ceremonies.
The Work barely sustained him. A diet of Tang and
and groom is crucial, "so that on the big day, I'm not a
potatoes had to suffice for a few months until he estab-
stranger to them and they're not to me."
Mr. Gross often attends the rehearsal dinner or lished himself.
"I can now cook mashed potatoes a thousand different
arranges private consultations with the couple. It's all in
an effort to establish a mutual comfort level with his ways," he joked.
Today, Mr. Gross' corporate work is much more lu-
clients and to ensure that everyone enjoys the wedding
crative. His client list includes American Home Prod-
day — including the photographer.
"If I'm not having a good time at an event, the pho- ucts, Andersen Consulting and AT&T.
He recently completed an assignment for Smithson-
tographs are going to reflect it," Mr. Gross said.
Mr. Gross' other photographic passion
is to take pictures of what he calls the "ves-
tiges of war" — military parades, memor-
ial celebrations, marches and
demonstrations. These shots attempt to
express his pacifism and convey his view
of war as "wasteful and ugly."
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Mr.
Gross has few fond memories of his five
years as a military aircraft mechanic. He
entered the service in 1973 following his
graduation from Oak Park High School.
Mr. Gross said military life instilled a
sense of discipline he never had, but the
experience also made him realize that he
wasn't cut out for the workaday world.
"My time is the most valuable thing I
have, so I need to control it," he said. "The
military controls you. I don't want anybody
to have that power over me again. It was
when I was in the military that I learned
I had work for myself."
ian magazine. The publication hired Mr. Gross to pho-
tograph the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's principal
trumpeter for an October article.
Mr. Gross says referrals and exhibitions generate new
business leads — both commercial and weddings. In No-
vember, he will add Ann Arbor to a growing list of cities
nationwide that have hosted exhibitions of his work. The
DelRio restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor will display
a collection of his wedding shots during a one-month ex-
Mr. Gross actively promotes his work to representa-
tives of corporations, design firms and advertising agen-
cies. A photographic agency markets his portfolio and he
occasionally sends targeted direct mailings to generate
The result has been a steady flow of business
that has satisfied his need for personal interac-
tion in his work.
"If I could shoot portraits of people for the rest
of my life, I would be happy," Mr. Gross said.
"Some photographers like to stay in a studio and
shoot cans of beans. I enjoy interacting with peo-
ple and I'd like to think that has a positive im-
pact on my work." 111
Examples of Steven Gross'