Bio

After graduating from Philadelphia's Charles Morris Price School of Advertising & Journalism, a few 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 for a year as Account Executive-TV producer-Copywriter-Art Director at Ball Associates Advertising Agency, followed by two years at WIP Radio as Publicity Director and voiceover announcer, I entered Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles in 1968.

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

 

While in school, I assisted 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 Wide World Photos, the commercial division of The Associated Press, which I continued to run for three more years.

Right after graduation, I worked with 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 (ELAC). Like everything in life, one thing led to another and in addition to ELAC I was teaching at Cal State University, Mt. San Antonio College and L.A. City College (LACC). Meanwhile, my client list had expanded and I opened a solo studio specializing in advertising and illustrative (editorial) photography.

At night and weekends, I did graduate studies at The Annenberg School for Communications at USC, obtained a teaching credential at UCLA, and became a Professor of Media Arts & Photography.

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

I retired in 2001 and spent a year in a spectacular old-growth redwood grove near Eureka, California. Then I was off to New Hampshire and a radically different but wonderful life in a rustic post-and-beam house surrounded by forest and hundreds of acres of wildlife refuge.

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

Please click or tap an image to enlarge it.

Massawa Road, Eritrea, day after driving side switched from left side to right. 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.

Waiting for the bride and groom. Asmara Eritrea weddding reception. Photograph by Ken Schuster.

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

 

Canvas is suspended between two houses. The ground is 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 in the center that were filled with fermented home-brews called suwa (beer made from local grains and hops) and mes (wine made from fermented honey and spices).

More than five decades have passed, and I can still smell Asmara, and smile.

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Ken Schuster at the KANU Radio (AFRTS) microphone in 1965. Kagnew Station, Asmara, Eritrea (province of Ethiopia at that time).

1965. 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.

All images on this site are © Copyright Ken Schuster 2019. All rights reserved.

 

Images are available as museum grade prints for private collection and can be licensed for publication and commercial use. Please contact Ken Schuster or purchase online at The Sandbox Gallery.