I recently brought a photograph that I took of an elephant in Kenya to Troy Hamilton, the digital services manager at Samy’s Camera in Santa Barbara for the past seven years. I wanted to enlarge it and put it in my office, so Troy hopped on his computer and started working on the image while intently asking me questions about the shot.
Unbeknownst to me, he was collaborating with me as a photographer, trying to enhance my work and bring out what was best in the image, the way an editor works on someone’s raw material. As I quickly learned, Troy is very focused (pun intended) on his job, and the final product of my picture is extraordinary, now proudly hanging on the wall behind my desk.
Samy’s Camera just moved from Chapala Street to a more foot-trafficked location on the 500 block of State Street, and it remains a haven to all photographers—even accidental ones like me.
Troy took time away from his cameras and computers to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My friends all say that I have an uncanny ability to always bring “the good vibe.” Even in situations that might be tense or otherwise uncomfortable, I’ll always find the light and make sure people see it. Some how I know pretty much every line to every movie and am always quoting them. “Life’s a garden, dig it!”
What is your current state of mind?
Entrepreneurial. I’m always thinking of how to create something bigger, better, faster, and stronger. I have a startup I do in my time outside Samy’s. It’s a golf brand called Part Time Golf Co. If you’re looking for one word? Stoked.
What do you like most about your job?
Every day is different. I see some great images in both photography and art and get to work directly with their creator. I always get to make their work look the very best it can. I get to play with the newest technology used in the imaging world from computers to scanners and printers. My new digital copy room with its tethered Hasselblad H5D camera is pretty cool for shooting original artwork. Oh, and I get to wear a tie!
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
The life I’m living. It’s not perfect but it works for me and I appreciate every second of it. It’s been a wild ride so far and only getting better!
What is your greatest fear?
Not knowing how it all ends. I’m not scared of dying so to speak but not knowing how the whole big picture that I was a small part in ends. Total bummer.
Who do you most admire?
Really anyone that has mastered what they do. I’m good at everything but mastered nothing. I admire people that just have that ability to master their talent. Dave Grohl and Jeremy McGrath are a couple that are just so fun to watch.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Hummus. I eat the shit out of that stuff!
What is the quality you most like in people?
The glass-is-half-full type. I like people who are excited about things and that can see the best in everything. If you have a good heart, mind, and soul, I’ll definitely sit down for a beer with you! I can’t hang with people that are pessimistic.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Negativity — “ain’t no one got time for that.” Haha! YouTube rules. Seriously, if you lie, cheat, or steal you’re out, period. No do-overs in that regard.
What do you most value in friends?
I’ve always been the type of person that will help a friend out with whatever. I’m pretty good at most things and can usually find a solution. I like to know a friend will be there when I need help no matter how big or small. A friend with a boat is awesome too. Thanks to Jeff O. for some of the greatest adventures of my life aboard the good ship Diamante. What a blast!
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Big Gulps, huh? Cool. Wulp, catch ya later.”
Which talent would you most like to have?
I want to play guitar like Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters, ride a motocross bike like Bubba Stewart, and carve a street bike around a Laguna Seca like Valentino Rossi. I think the hat trick of those brings me back to the question before about perfect happiness.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d want to be left handed. For some reason I think I’d be better at everything if I were. Oh, I’d want that killer tan that everyone looks at and is like, “Damn, that’s a great tan!”
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I met John Schneider a.k.a. Bo Duke and somehow worked the deal to get the keys to his General Lee for the weekend. It was the original and #1 car from the entire Dukes of Hazard show — pretty much the car I grew up loving and I got to drive it for the weekend. Yes, I did do a burnout on State Street and, yes, it did have the horn along with 650HP. It was pretty awesome having Bo Duke throw you the keys to the General and say, “She’s stupid fast!”
I’ve also have the honor of meeting Bill Murray and have him choose to wear hats from my start-up brand, Part Time Golf Company, during the Pebble Beach PGA event and other celebrity pro-ams. It’s pretty cool to turn on the TV and see one of your idols wearing a hat you made.
But most of all, I’m proud that I’ve proven to my parents that they did a good job raising their son. My parents are the greatest thing to me.
Where would you most like to live?
I’ve lived in two of them. Boulder, Colorado (where I’m from) and here. The third is Jensen Beach, Florida, where my brother lives — fishing the Keys! A house in each place would do right fine.
What is your most treasured possession?
My healthy body.
What makes you laugh the most?
Pretty much everything makes me laugh. I’ve always been one that doesn’t really take to much seriously. Vince Vaughn’s humor is the best, he’s hilarious!
What is your motto?
Its a combination of two: The Blue Sky Rule, which basically means don’t do anything that can take the blue sky away from over your head (i.e. don’t get killed or thrown in jail). The other is: “Don’t make anybody else’s life more difficult.” It’s already tough enough.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Probably Alexander Hamilton. He got my name on money.
On what occasion do you lie?
That’s a ridiculous question. Next.