Christopher O’Hara has been an active musician for nearly 20 years and has been involved with photography since he was 14 years old.
Years before Chris picked up his first guitar he was already developing and printing black and white photos out of his parents home. “When I was 13 years old my dad built a darkroom, which he rarely used. I decided to teach myself how to mix chemicals and print black and white film. I fell in love with the darkroom and have vivid memories of working long hours in the darkroom getting an image just right. I was the only kid in high school who smelled like stop bath and fixer.”
After high school Chris moved to Santa Barbara where he immersed himself in the local jazz scene and become actively involved with the music department at SBCC. Chris also continued his photography training at the college. Three years later, Chris decided to move to Boston where he could attend the Berklee College of Music and take photography classes at the School of Museum of Fine Arts.
In 1997, Chris earned his bachelors degree in Music Production/Engineering and soon after found himself in Miami where he began playing 6 nights a week for Carnival Cruise Lines. In 2000, Chris moved backed to the bay area where he currently resides. Since moving back to the Bay Area, Chris has been involved with many projects/bands, interned at Music Annex and Plant Studios, and has performed in a variety theater productions including: Jesus Christ Super Star, Hair, Cabaret, Crazy For You, Kiss Me Kate, All Shook Up, Little Shop of Horrors, Full Monty, and Hairspray.
Chris continues to expand his music knowledge and has spent time studying with many Bay Area virtuosos such as Randy Vincent, Rick Vandivier and George Marsh. Chris dedicates much of his time to practicing, writing, transcribing, recording, and teaching what he has learned. ”I think a good teacher needs to possess not only a great love for the content, but also a love for the process of helping others engage that material. Music is difficult, but I’ve developed, through years of teaching, an agile approach that targets each student’s personal learning style.”
Chris’ skills and knowledge are not limited to music and photography. In 2009 Chris earned an M.B.A. (cum laude) from San Jose State University with a focus on financial analysis, new venture marketing, economics, and e-commerce.
Photography influences: Richard Avedon, James Nachtwey, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and too many more to mention. Chris Orwig has been a huge influence on me both as a photoshop/lightroom editor and educator. His instructional videos on Lynda.com are the best around! Mark Wallace and Rick Sammon are great teachers/photographers and offer tons of information on the web.
Musical influences: John Scofield, Pat Metheny Bill Frisell, Mike Stern, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Parker, Wayne Shorter, James Brown, Eddie Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, ACDC, Nick Drake, Radiohead, Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford, David GIlmour, Grant Green, Wayne Krantz, Tower of Power, Meters, Chick Corea, Maceo Parker, and Bill Evans.