A Harrison, New York native, Robert Harmon studied film at Boston University before leaving to begin his career as a photographer's assistant in Chicago. After several years of experience, Harmon packed up and left for Los Angeles, where he found employment as a still photographer on several low budget feature films.
The work didn't pay well, so he had to supplement his income with a second job working as an industrial and advertising photographer.
This led to camera work on commercials and feature films.
After writing, producing and directing a short film entitled China Lake, Harmon not only found the experience enlightening, but his work was noticed by two producers who hired him to direct the critically acclaimed feature The Hitcher (1986).
Harmon went on to bigger budget films with top ranked actors.
Harmon then decided to take on the small screen and directed a couple of episodes of Homicide: Life on the Streets. He decided to stick with TV for a time, helming a couple of telefilms and the series Level 9.