Though born in San Francisco, I was raised in the small independent country of Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea - birthplace of my parents and resting place of my ancestor. It was there I learned to appreciate my rich heritage and develop my understanding of culture. As a youngster growing up in Malta, I studied Art and was influenced by the history of the Islands, the flavor of the Maltese people and by being the youngest living of 24 siblings. Back then; everything I encountered was an exciting visual experience, which has definitely had a bearing on the direction of my life's journey and the way I photograph today.
As a young man, I returned to the United States and attended San Francisco City College where I majored in photography. During this period, I began my study and dissection of photographic works by notable photographer Henri Carrier Bresson. Bresson's work inspired me to strive to isolate what seems common and see it in a different light. After college, in the early eighties, I hit the streets of San Francisco. I enjoyed capturing real life with its everyday hardships and glories. To support my art, I did available light black and white portraiture as well as photographed weddings. However, I soon discovered that being a wedding photographer was not fulfilling and I felt it necessary to change my direction. I decided to walk the path of my Father, Pacifico Calleja - a simple hardworking man, a provider, who had made many sacrifices in his life for love of family. He never thought of himself, only those he loved.
A few years later, I fell in love with my beautiful Genoveva and we married. More than ever before, I felt a need to be that provider, to become more like my Father. I put my camera down ... photography was my passion, but at the time I did not know how to make a living from it. Although I enjoyed editorial and portrait photography, I felt that I would die before my work was appreciated. I decided to seek other employment. I worked long, hard hours, and had many different types of jobs. The new challenges, responsibilities and the people I encountered helped me to grow.
After twelve years had passed and much had changed, I was overcome by the stresses of everyday life, and the Death of my Father. Then two years later, the shock of loosing my 47 year-old brother drove me into a depression. My wife and I had no children to carry on my family name and I felt as if I were nearing the end of my journey. Then my Lovely wife, Genoveva, encouraged me to pick up my camera once more. When I did, I was transformed, able to deal with life's difficulties and frustrations.
Now capturing and recording people is my love. The moments contain feeling and drama; sometimes candid, sometimes posed, full of realism or fantasy based on my mood or an individual's situation. Through my photography I tell stories, create awareness and evoke emotions. My images are my Children; my work is a tribute to my father- the patriarch, provider, hard worker - who taught me to value the richness of life.