David Kappler's Autobiography
I was bitten by the photography bug in 1968 when I was in 9th grade. My print shop teacher was a commercial photographer and was willing to devote extra effort to anyone who showed an interest in photography. I started using a 4x5 speed graphic press camera shooting sports. When I was deemed proficient I graduated to the Yashica D 6x6 roll film camera. We covered all school events for the yearbook, literary magazine and school newspaper and developed and printed our own photographs in the school's state of the art darkroom.
After 9th grade I moved to a different school that didn't have a formal photography program however I maintained my proficiency taking photos of events, friends, scenery and sports through my remaining school years.
1974-1978 was spent in the US Air Force and I took photos of airplanes and events at every opportunity with my newly purchased 35mm camera.
When I separated from the USAF I went immediately to work for the Cherry Hill Police Department first as a dispatcher, then a uniformed patrol officer and in 1992 I was promoted to Detective and assigned to the Crime Scene Unit. This assignment present many opportunities to hone my technical photography skills photographing crime scenes, victims and evidence.
During my off duty hours I kept up with commercial photography part time with reference photography for several famous artists who used my photos to paint their book covers for romance, action, and fantasy novels. I also did aerial photography for large real estate developers and other clients. I had a darkroom in my basement and developed film and prints for my clients. I was an avid SCUBA diver and purchased a Nikonos underwater camera to document my underwater adventures.
Video started right after my oldest son was born, and included many hours of video of a baby being a baby! There was no shortage of still photos of the little guy either. When my younger son came along four years later, he too was the victim of countless hours of video and photographs.
When the younger one was in junior high school he participated in the school plays and that is where my video career really got started. I recorded all of the performances and actually sold a few DVD's. In 2004 I was asked to film a video for the anti-drug campaign for the high school. It was my first narrative film involvement and despite my lack of experience it came out pretty good. I had recently retired from the Police Dept I felt confident enough to "hang out my shingle" as a DP in the Philadelphia independent film community. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to shoot several features and shorts while learning the finer points of my craft. As my film career was starting, my photography business continued. I was doing live performance, publicity and headshot photography for several Philadelphia area theaters as well as still photos on several feature and short movies, in addition to life events and a few weddings now and then.
One of the high points of my career was the chance to do a documentary in Israel in 2012, where we filmed religious, political and community leaders including the President of Israel and the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Territories in the same day. I spent 10 days there doing video and still photos (over 5000 of them!) and I was quite proud of the finished product.
To date I have had involvement in 22 feature films, 27 short films, 6 documentaries and numerous commercials and music videos along with many corporate assignments.
I want to thank everyone who has taken me under their wing, given me chance and congratulated me for a job well done over the years. I wouldn't be where I am without you all!