My name is Jeff Lichtman. I came up with the name Swazoo Koolak years ago when I needed some test data for some software I was writing. I decided I liked the name and adopted it as a pseudonym.
I have a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. I have worked for several software companies, including Relational Technology, Inc. (later known as Ingres Corporation), Sybase, Cloudscape and Informix. I have specialized in the language processing end of relational database management systems.
I live in El Cerrito, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. I do most of my photography locally, although I also shot a lot of pictures in New Orleans when I went there for the Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2012. My artistic goal is to highlight things that are unexpectedly beautiful or interesting. I go for composition as much as I do subject matter—that is, I am inclined to photograph something that has interesting shapes, colors and textures regardless of what it is. My ideal subject is something that people wouldn't normally notice, but is aesthetically pleasing when looked at the right way.
I have been interested in photography for a long time, but it was only and the end of 2011 that I decided to get really serious about it. I was driven to this when I tried to find a wall calendar I liked for 2012. Like many people, I buy a calendar every year, not just to keep track of the date but also to have some nice artwork on my wall. I had trouble finding anything I liked for 2012. Most of the photographic calendars I saw were competently produced, but didn't appeal to my taste. Many of them were dull: page after page of cliched, nearly identical images. I decided I could do better myself.
You can also find some of my work at CafePress in the form of calendars and shirts.