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After graduating from Philadelphia's Charles Morris Price School of Advertising & Journalism, ad design classes at Philadelphia Museum College of Art, three years in the Army (including 18 months in Eritrea doing the African version of "Good Morning Vietnam" from a 7,628-foot mountain top), then back to Philly as Account Executive-TV producer-Copywriter-Art Director at Ball Associates Advertising Agency, followed by Publicity Director and voiceover announcer at WIP Radio, I entered Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1968.

Because veteran's education benefits were good for only two and a half years at that time, I completed the four-year BFA in two years and nine months.                                            

While at Art Center, I worked for film director-cinematographer Haskell Wexler and photographers Cal Bernstein and Roger Marshutz. During my final semester, I opened and managed the West Coast office of the commercial division of The Associated Press, which I continued to run for three more years.

Right after graduation, I worked for designers Charles and Ray Eames while sharing a studio with Jim Britt, MoTown's premier L.A. photographer.

In 1973 I substituted for a photography teacher on sabbatical from East L.A. College. Like most of life, one thing led to another and soon I was also teaching at Cal State University, Mt. San Antonio College, L.A. City College (LACC) and UCLA. Meanwhile, my client list had expanded and I opened a studio in Huntington Beach specializing in advertising and illustrative (editorial) photography.

In my spare time, I entered the PhD program at The Annenberg School for Communications at USC, obtained a teaching credential at UCLA, and became a Professor of Media Arts & Photography.

Eventually, doing photography swapped places with full-time teaching at LACC.

In 2001 I retired to a quiet little cabin in the majestic northern California redwoods.  A year later, I was off to the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire and a rustic post-and-beam house surrounded by forest, and bordered by hundreds of acres of wildlife refuge.

Now I'm re-experiencing the joy of photography, free from publication deadlines and academia.

Please click or tap any image to enlarge it.

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Massawa Road, Eritrea, a day after right-side driving driving switched to the left. 1964. Photo by Sandee Schuster.

(Photo by Sandee Schuster)

My "Beetle" at a switchback 21 kilometers down the road between Asmara at 7,630 feet, and the Red Sea port of Massawa.


This was two days after Ethiopia switched from left-side to right-side traffic. Not being sure if everyone got the message, many drivers drove right down the middle, which made navigating extreme switchbacks like this even more "interesting" than usual.

Asmara, Eritrea wedding, 1964.

Preparations for a wedding reception in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea.


Canvas was suspended between two houses. The ground was covered with soft, aromatic palm branches. The air was thick with the delicious aroma of fiery hot zigni stew, bubbling in huge kettles.

The heady fragrance of locally harvested frankincense mixed with deep rich aromas wafting from the barrels that were filled with fermented home-brews called suwa (SOO-wa, beer made from local grains and hops) and mes (MESS, wine made from fermented honey and spices).

More than five decades have passed, and I still smile when thinking of Asmara's aromas.

How to make zigni or doro wat.

How to make injera.

How to eat Eritrean/Ethiopian food.

Eritrean music and celebration.

More Eritrean music and dance.

Ken Schuster at the KANU Radio (AFRTS) microphone in 1965. Kagnew Station, Asmara, Eritrea.

1965, and long before the movie with Robin Williams, this was "Good Morning Ethiopia," at KANU Radio & TV, part of the US Armed Forces Radio & Television Service (AFRTS). That's me at the mic.

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