In my six years as a professional photographer, I spent the last four documenting the life and political career of Terminator-turned-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Which is really the perfect job, given my own radical career change.
In my previous life, what we’ll call Pete Grigsby, B.C. (Before Cameras),I traveled the world as a river guide, experiencing the people and places that have helped shape the person I am today. I wore shorts, flip-flops and a baseball hat. A total nomad and happy bohemian.
Then I picked up a camera, and everything just clicked.
From there I went to the Brooks Institute of Photography, then spent the next couple years traveling the world, seeing it all from a brand new perspective. I documented the Cofan Nation tribe deep in the jungles of Ecuador. Endured 15-foot swells on a crab boat for weeks to document the physically-demanding lifestyle of Dungeness crab fishermen. I photographed an orphanage in Mexico, the homeless in Los Angeles, dairy farmers in Northern California and immigrants in Southern California.
Never in a million years would I have imagined myself wearing a suit to work or flying around on a private jet with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Living and working in this inner circle was as foreign to me as being 200 miles downriver in Ecuador. But my philosophy has always been to go with the flow, and to take challenges as they come. That’s the beauty of being a photographer, I think: you never know where you’ll end up next.