Very often I am asked why I use Wyden in my photography name when my last name is Kivowitz. In this post I am going to share something very personal.
My biological father, Steven Mark Wyden, passed away from liver disease when I was two years old. I never had a chance to know him. Whenever I am with my family there is always someone who tells me that I remind them of my father. I grew up surrounded by music because that is what I wanted to do with my life. Of course, since high school, things have changed a bit. My father was always into music. In fact, I eventually fell in love with music from Johnny Cash. As it turns out, my father did too. There are so many musical similarities that remind my family of my father.
My first camera was an old Fiji SLR that was once my father’s. He got his photography passion and skills from his father. See the chain going on here? When I decided to change majors and pursue photography in college, my grandfather handed me my father’s Nikon gear. At that point my life had changed. I went from a crummy (but meaningful) Fuji to a solid photographic machine.
My mother remarried and my step-father helped my mother raise my older brother and I, and eventually my younger brother. So this is where the last name Kivowitz came in to the picture.
So my reasoning for using Wyden is very meaningful. I use Wyden because of where my passion of photography came from. I use Wyden to honor my biological father. I use Wyden to remember him and pay tribute to who he was. I use Wyden because I love him and wish I could go out and take pictures with him, and of him.
On March 2, 2009 I wrote about my tattoos. One of which is my biological father’s initials. On October, 23, 2008 I shared a story about how I almost died and how I feel my father was watching over me. On April 20, 2009 I shared a photograph that my older brother found. The photo that you see above.
I know there are so many other photographers in the world that use a “pen name”. One I know of is Thomas Hawk. In an interview from Scott Baradell on Blackstar.com, Thomas Hawk talks about why he uses a “pen name”. Read the full interview at Blackstar.com.
Scott: Why the pseudonym? Can you discuss your decision to go with a pen name in the context of the emphasis on transparency in the Web 2.0 world?
Tom: I use a pseudonym because I have a day job in the investment business (in a non technology related field). Because the investment industry is highly regulated and because if I used my real name I would have to have my boss review everything that I write, I have chosen to blog under a pseudonym. Many people know my real name and it’s something that I openly share with friends. I state that I’m blogging under a pseudonym publicly on my blog and it is the only pseudonym I use. I don’t particularly hide my identity (anyone can do a “who is” search) and if I were ever to leave the investment business I would be more open about my identity. I feel that I’m pretty transparent about my situation and have found most people accepting of that. My salary at Zooomr is $0 as we try and build it out so I still need to pay the bills somehow.
Are you using a “pen name”? Please share your story by commenting below. If you want, write it on your blog and share a link to your site.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,