A brief biography of renowned Adirondack photographer John Gates

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John Gates - Adirondack Photographer

John Gates was born in Johnstown NY, in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, in 1954. As a boy John loved the outdoors, fishing, swimming, and excursions into the wilderness. He also enjoyed working with electronics and anything technical, including computers and photography. Not surprisingly, John was the school newspaper photographer in high school.

Mr. Gates graduated from Fulton Montgomery Community College in 1976, with an Associate Degree in Engineering Science. He was also certified as an Engineering Technician by The National Society of Professional Engineers. His family owned and operated a glove manufacturing company in Johnstown, converting deer hides into fine deerskin gloves. John joined the family glove business and took a keen interest in accounting and computer programming.

John Gates, Adirondack Photographer
Over 25 years, John worked primarily as a software developer for his family business, and occasionally under contract for other companies. He developed all manner of accounting, inventory control, and distribution systems. He will tell you there was a time when he could draw an accurate UPC code with pen and paper! In the 1990's, John was heavily involved with developing Internet based applications, which rekindled his interest in graphics, and ultimately in photography.

John sold his interest in the family business in 2004, started working as an independent software developer, and launched a sole proprietorship - "The Adirondack Print Shop". In his words, "I became obsessed with photography, reading every book and magazine I could get my hands on!" His interests and background naturally led him to the Adirondacks and he easily grasped the potential of digital photography.

Over the next few years, John's outdoor photography business grew, and he focused more on that and less on software development. "Adirondack Prints" was incorporated in 2006, and has been a full time endeavor ever since. John says, "I am truly happy in every aspect of my work. I can be an independent businessman, a photographer, and a printmaker. I am equally rewarded by each of these activities."

There can be no doubt that John is both a technician and a businessman. He says he doesn't think of himself as an artist, but still considers it a great compliment when told that he is. In his words, "For me, photography is primarily a technical pursuit. I measure my success by my customers' reactions to my work. There is no greater reward than a customer hanging one of my prints in their home."

Having sold over 15,000 original photographic prints, it appears that by any measure, John Gates has achieved a level of success as both a photographer and an artist.