This is Through Three Lenses.

Photo ©. Joerg Metzner,

What is Through Three Lenses?

Through Three Lenses (TTL) is here to help you (and me) get better at doing the creative things you love doing, and to provide a place for community through mutually supportive conversations.

TTL is my way of gathering together some of what I’ve learned as I’ve made my way through many decades of living an integrated creative life, and of helping others find their way, too.

Here you can learn about building and playing cigar-box guitars, about using those guitars to get grounded in the basics of songwriting. Occasionally we’ll talk about the joys and challenges of operating a high-end photo studio, and about photographing dogs, cats and the people they live with.

As I have logged thousands of hours photographing people and their pets, you’re likely to encounter some nice photos of dogs and cats along the way as well.

Who am I?

A writer/photographer/singer/songwriter/musician/animal lover/woodworker/thinker living in the midwest. I am:

  • the owner of Sutton Studios Inc., a genre-creating photo studio specializing in the artful celebration through photos of the deep and meaningful relationships people have with their pets;

  • the author/photographer of Cigar Box Guitars and Obsessed with Cigar Box Guitars- 2nd edition, both through Fox Chapel Publishing;

  • a singer and novice songwriter with an album in release (From Gold to Brown to Blue) and another (These Strings I Know) currently in production;

  • a life-long lover of singing and vocal harmony, which I learned while holding my half of a Lutheran hymnal at my dad’s elbow.

I’ve also contributed to Suleika Jaouad’s The Isolation Journals, and I perform annually in a much vaunted Purim parody band called The Alte Rockers.

In short, I’ve been busy. We have a lot to talk about.

I live in beautiful Evanston, Illinois with my flashy tuxedo cat Leah, and my “apartner”, girlfriend/life-partner Mary Beth.

All Through Three Lenses posts have been editorially enhanced and no-holds-barred proofed by the talented and eagle-eyed Mary Beth Schaye. If you spot a typo or, say, a a tick-mark standing in for an apostrophe, that means I got hasty and skipped the final proofing step.

How do you get Through Three Lenses?

Through Three Lenses is a weekly series of newsletters you'll receive in your email inbox (or which you can read on the web (at or in the Substack app. Newsletters/posts will sometimes be enhanced by photos, audio explorations, podcasts, interviews, instructive videos, and lively chat happenings.

Why Subscribe?

I’m a professional communicator, and I’ll be sharing expertise I’ve gathered over thirty years:

  • Operating a successfully specialized photography service and business

  • Building, playing and writing books about cigar box guitars, including Cigar Box Guitars, the premier how-to book on the subject of this exciting sub-genre of DIY music

  • Writing and recording original songs, a process that can be super-charged using the humble, three-string cigar box guitar (the one you built yourself…)

  • Dogs. Stories.

Subscribers get everything, soup-to-nuts.

Join us by subscribing! One simple click gets you newsletters covering all three topics. All of my online content is included with your subscription. I won’t be locking anything up behind a paywall just yet. Eventually, I think there will be additional benefits for paid subscribers, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Paid subscriptions are, of course, welcome–we love your support–and your paid subscription will go a long way to insuring that Through Three Lenses continues to thrive.

Once you’ve subscribed, please let me know what you’d like to see/hear/talk more about. I’d love to hear from you.

Subscribe to Through Three Lenses

Exploring integrated creative living through cigar-box guitars, songwriting and photography. There may also be conversations about dogs.


Writer, photographer, singer/songwriter, author and builder of cigar box guitars. Join me–we have a lot to talk about.