Last week I was asked to give a lecture to a Business of Photography class at SCAD. The professor, Forest McMullin, and I have gotten to know each other through the gallery and our mutual friendship with Ryan. When he asked if I would come in, he explained that they have guest speakers each week to discuss a different aspect of the photography business. Since I am a portrait photographer and gallerist, he thought I could speak to both of those professions.
The class is two and a half hours long. Forest told me not to worry, I wouldn’t have to talk the whole time. I told Forest not to worry, talk I can do. Two and a half hours? Talking about myself? Brace yourself people, I could go on all day long. A captive audience of impressionable youth. . . was it my birthday?
The experience did not disappoint. Well, it didn’t disappoint me, anyway. It was really interesting for me to explain my story from start to present. I did not go to school for this, had no gallery experience, and had precious little industry knowledge. But I am in it, full on, and I love it.
I did caution the students to perhaps not use my haphazard approach as a model for themselves. Whenever I get an idea to try something completely new, untested and a little insane, 95% of the feedback I get sounds a little something like, “You’re going to do WHAT?!?!?”. The other 5% (I prefer to think of these people as “the smart ones”) say, “How do you think of this shit? You’re going to kill it.”
Those 5% know some important things about me: I love a challenge (I devour it, I learn it, I l.o.v.e. it); I’m tenacious and a little bit scrappy, so I won’t let myself fail; and I’m more than a little bit crazy. It’s not always a pretty combination (just ask Ryan about the days when I get one of my Big Ideas), but it works for me. And it was exciting to talk about. It’s not often I get a chance to step back look at the journey.
Forest said he thought it went well, that the students appreciated my straight-forward demeanor. He also assured me they were not offended by my rabid use of the f-bomb. (Sorry, Nanny – my grandmother and loyal blog reader)