Personal History: My Story
Here's some fascinating personal information, much of it copied from my now-inactive Match.com profile.
HOBBYIST TO PROFESSIONAL
I enjoyed fancy cameras–really fancy cameras. I eventually discovered that I could save money if I claimed my expensive camera equipment by itemizing my taxes.
With that main goal in mind, I became a professional portrait photographer. Soon thereafter I began seeking work as a wedding photographer. And after that, here you are–reading this expanded bio and thinking about ice cream.
FARMER TO TECHNOCRAT
My first real-world employment began as a farm hand in Louisiana. In my later teenage years and through college, I held a wide range of jobs including Dominos® phone operator, hotel front desk clerk, rent-to-own repossession expert, busboy, lifeguard, pizza maker, grocery store produce clerk, grant writer, and Subway® sandwich artist.
I've also been a technical writer, community college instructor, and I invented the world's first web-based grade book for K12 school districts.
During the dot com boom, I co-founded Golfballs.com. For that reason, I believe in mulligans and support graphene improvements in golf ball construction. In other words, I'm a terrible golfer.
Today, in addition to my work at Rob Greer Photography, I'm also the Founder of Good Gallery. We provide better websites for photographers.
As a Marine Corps veteran, I still enjoy making fun of people in the Navy. My ribbons and medals include the Combat Action Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon (1 star), Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
Also, the Southwest Asia Service Medal (3 stars), Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Saudi Arabia's Liberation of Kuwait Medal, and the Kuwait Liberation of Kuwait Medal.
Given this experience, you can rest easy knowing that I can operate effectively in any high-stress environment–including those that might occur when I'm photographing your project or event.
I began my college education at Louisiana Tech University. I later earned a master's degree in English from Northwestern State University. I began Ph.D. work at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette but didn't complete those studies.
But don't let my academic background worry you; I'll never correct your grammar. Unless you hire me to correct your grammar.
Drawing students from a parish covering 665 square miles, my graduating class included fewer than 125 students. One of those students is now Dry Prong's mayor–impressive proof that I know powerful people.
Random Fun Facts
- The first time I sang karaoke, Lisa Loeb stood next to me beating a Donald Trump piñata. Our song was Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.
- The hardest thing I’ve ever done is pull two trapped, unconscious men from a burning SUV on a deserted toll road in the middle of the night.
- I was featured on the pilot episode of Save Our Shelter, a CW reality TV series that features animal shelter renovations. I adopted my dog Newt during the taping. You can watch the the episode on Netflix!
- My most dramatic near-death experience was when I drove my Camaro Z-28 under a semi-trailer one dark and stormy night. #duck
- I spent my teenage years as a farm laborer harvesting potatoes, corn, tomatoes, butterbeans, mustard greens, and hay—for $20 a day.
- My sister Suzie Greer Baker is a well-known professional oil painter who teaches workshops and receives tons of awards from her industry.
- My fine art photography resulted in a TODAY show interview and my SEO experience landed me a USA Today interview.
1969 - Born as Blaine Lawrence Campbell to my birth mother, Isabelle Campbell in Ontario, Canada.
1970 - Adopted by American parents Carol and Robert Greer. My adoptive father was a Marine stationed at the United States embassy in Ottawa. They changed my name to Robert Greer. My family called me Robbie. I shortened my name to Rob because one syllable is easier to say than two.
1971 - My parents adopted my sister Suzie, also a Canadian. Her birth name was Erica Lynn Greatrix. According to baby-book records, this was also the year I learned how to use the potty.
1972 - My father, a Gunnery Sergeant, was transferred to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in Southern California. My family lived in a modest home in Oceanside.
1973 - My father retired from the Marine Corps and we moved to Pineville, Louisiana, a small rural town. My father chose this location because it was near his childhood home of Deville, a census-designated place that today has fewer than 1,000 residents.
1974 - I began my education at J.I. Barron Elementary School. On my first day of kindergarten, during lunch, I offered Todd Everett my chocolate milk in exchange for his friendship. He refused my tasty chocolate milk–and my friendship.
1975 - I kissed a girl for the first time in the back corner of the school playground. Stacey Jowers ran away–crying. I still feel bad about it.
1976 - Second grade was when I was first identified as a problem student. I blame my teacher, Mrs. Franklin. I talked too much. My verbal diarrhea was a recurring issue throughout elementary school.
1977 - My parents divorced. I was disappointed that our Disneyland summer vacation was canceled.
1978 - The coolest kids in school owned computerized, handheld Mattel Classic Football games. I wanted to be popular too. So I saved every penny and bought a handheld Mattel Soccer game. But nobody wanted to play Mattel Soccer. I remained unpopular.
1979 - Mrs. Dunbar was a mean teacher. This was my least happy year in elementary school. She suggested that I be tested as a slow learner. It turns out that I was just bored in class. Another recurring theme.
1980 - I was suspended from school for singing incorrect lyrics out loud to Queen's Another One Bites the Dust. I misunderstood the stanza, "Out of the doorway the bullets rip" to be "Out of the doorway fucking shit." Oopsie.
1981 - My mother remarried. She bought a home in Grant Parish near the rural community of Prospect. I attended Dry Prong Junior High School where I earned the nickname Cricket for eating one on a $20 dare.
1982 - Started work as a farm hand at Rance Robertson Produce. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) approved agricultural work for minors so I was only 12 years old when I began harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, corn, and hay–for $20 a day.
1983 - Played on the Grant High School Freshman Football Team. Go Cougars. My game-day participation typically involved bench warming.
1984 - The school librarian introduced me to Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. My college master's degree thesis was titled, From Africa to Mars: The Moral and Social Commentaries of Edgar Rice Burroughs. All theses require long and pretentious titles.
1985 - I bought my first vehicle, a rusty 1969 Ford pickup truck. The truck didn't run. Lewis Griffith and I bought junkyard parts and spent the summer putting the engine back together. When we finally got the engine started, it almost instantly threw a rod, ruining it forever. Sadly, I sold my first vehicle to a junkyard never having driven it.
1986 - Joined the High School Drama Club's production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. I was cast in the role of Malvolio–a sad man of high self-regard and remarkable ambition. The irony isn't lost on me.
1987 - Graduated high school and left for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) in San Diego, California. Graduated MCRD and transferred to Camp Pendleton for Infantry School with specializations in Dragon anti-tank missile systems and demolitions.
1988 - Returned to semi-civilian life as a Marine Corps reservist where I continued my service one weekend a month and for two weeks each summer. Admitted to Louisiana Tech University where I majored in English, minored in History, and joined Sigma Pi Fraternity, Delta Lambda Chapter.
1989 - Our Sigma Pi chapter bore striking similarities to National Lampoon's Animal House. Perhaps it's not surprising that our charter was revoked. I then transferred to Northwestern State University, joining my best friend Marc Poniatowski. He had cool friends who threw great parties.
1990 - My Marine Corps TOW Missile Platoon was the among the first reservist units activated as part of Desert Shield. I withdrew from college, flew to Camp Pendleton, embarked on an LCAC, and boarded the naval ship U.S.S. Anchorage (LSD-36). Thus began my journey to the Persian Gulf.
1991 - We hit the beach and I served in a ground combat role during Operation Desert Storm. Upon returning home, I was released from active duty and returned to college at Northwestern State University–now convinced that a full-time, active-duty Marine wasn't going to be a good long-term career choice.
1992 - My mediocre college GPA allowed me to graduate from Northwestern State University. I was then surprisingly accepted into the master's degree program at Northwestern State University. I wanted to be a college professor.
1993 - When I wasn't in class, I worked as the Front Desk Night Clerk at the Best Western Hotel in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Strange, interesting, and dangerous things happen in the middle of the night at hotels located near major interstates. I also taught myself LPC programming while playing Kobra MUD.
1994 - I graduated with my master's degree in English from Northwestern State University. Then I moved to Lafayette, Louisiana where I taught English and Computers at Remington College. Back then, people still had to be taught about computers.
1995 - Leaving Remington College, I worked at USI Microage selling computers and training office workers on Microsoft applications like Windows, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access. I also built small business websites most evenings. I was soon tapped as Co-founder of Golfballs.com.
1996 - I co-founded Einstein Digital Media, a website design company. My partners agreed on the name Einstein because we could leverage the idea that Einstein was super smart. So smart.
1997 - Sold Einstein Digital Media to ICON, staying on to manage the website creation division. Just a few months later, ICON rolled up into a publicly traded professional services company known as Brightstar. I then served as the national Managing Director of Ecommerce.
1998 - Through my role at Brightstar, I helped build websites for companies like Walmart, Dillards, Conoco, Schlumberger, and NASA. I also pitched Hallmark & Sears but we weren't selected for those accounts.
1999 - I stopped speaking to my father. I've not spoken to him again.
2000 - Although I prepared for the Y2K millennium bug, I was relieved that computers didn't stop working. However, I did get stuck with a bunch of leftover disaster supplies. MREs for life.
2001 - I moved to Pasadena, California having accepted a new job where I served in a Senior Product Manager role for SchoolSense. It was there that I developed the world's first web-based grade book for K12 school districts. In my spare time, also played Burt Dinwitty in a Hollywood production of Dark of the Moon.
2002 - Although my passing and setting skills were lousy, I played two-man beach volleyball 4 days a week. I endured terrible traffic driving to and from the west side to play all day on weekends and every Tuesday and Thursday night. I once even played in a competitive round-robin tournament where I placed 1st–but that was in the lowest bracket.
2003 - I became the online manager for Clive Cussler's National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA). Clive once called me the real Hiram Yeager of NUMA which were super cool words to hear. I held that role until 2018 when I finally passed the torch. Also, the Canadian government put me in touch with my birth mother.
2004 - I started my path as a professional photographer under the brand Rob Greer Photography. I also photographed my first wedding that year.
2005 - Hurricane Katrina destroyed my vacation property in Gulfport, Mississippi–leveling it to the foundation. It was never rebuilt. The people of New Orleans fared far worse.
2006 - I met author George R. R. Martin, at San Diego Comic-Con where he signed one of my book–an edited anthology. I had known then what I know now, he would have been signing a copy of A Game of Thrones, now worth upwards of $1500.
2007 - After attending an all-day wedding photography class taught by Jerry Ghionis. My photography would never be the same. I point to this one day of education as the turning point in my career.
2008 - I moved into a 4000 square foot live-work photography studio near downtown Los Angeles in the former Southern California Edison Electric Power Station #3 (built in 1903). It was noisy and had no climate control, but it was arguably one of the coolest photographer studios LA has ever seen.
2009 - My Los Angeles Brewery Artist Complex studio was discovered by Hollywood location scouts and was sometimes rented for filming. It was once featured as a murder scene location in a CSI Miami episode. I witnessed David Caruso take his sunglasses off.
2010 - I purchased my current home, a 1920s craftsman bungalow. It's located near the historic Bungalow Heaven district in Pasadena. If you visit my front yard and comment on my succulents, you might walk away with free clippings.
2011 - Combining everything I know about websites and photography, I founded Good Gallery, a SaaS company that provides better websites for photographers.
2012 - Nothing very important happened this year.
2013 - This was the first year I taught search engine optimization at a national photographer conference. And the rest is history.
2014 - Sean Hayes asked me to photograph his wedding. Best-known for his role on Will & Grace, Sean married Scott Icenogle in an intimate backyard ceremony. Sean searched for "quirky los angeles photographer" and found me on Google. This was my first celebrity wedding.
2015 - I adopted my best friend Newt from a Burbank animal rescue. I love her more than anything in the world. Also that year, the Supreme Court voted to allow same-sex marriage nationwide. As a vocal, long-time proponent of marriage equality, this was amazing news.
2016 - My favorite Los Angeles bookstore closed. Mystery & Imagination will be missed forever.
2017 - When I was photographing Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston stopped in and asked me to help him run lines. Not really. But I did take several solid portraits of Vince Gilligan
2018 - The highlight of this year was being asked to photograph Bob West, the voice of a loveable purple dinosaur named Barney. ♪ ♫ ♪ I love you, you love me, we're a happy family. ♪ ♫ ♪
2019 - I spent many hours creating this impossibly long milestone content. If you read this list start to finish, you now know more about me than anyone else. Unless someone else also read this milestone list.