“The simple truth is, not all of us become the men we once hoped we might be…” Capt. Jack Aubrey
I am not a huge Russell Crow fan, but I have to be honest he plays in movies that I enjoy. This quote has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly because I have not become the man that I once hoped that I would be. When I was younger I thought that I would be successful, intelligent, and eager for life. Yet here I am at 26 in a dead end staff job, as smart as a box of rocks, and finding it hard to find reasons to make myself get out of bed in the morning.
When I first decided that I wanted to get out of the military, I knew what I didn’t want, a desk job where I did the same thing every day with sporadic hours, a set salary, and a working environment that was toxic. I knew what I wanted to be…
I doubt that Joe McNally remember the first time I met him. It was in Singapore at a one day conference with Louis Pang. After the day was over and I had asked Drew about his recommendations for a Sashimi place, I gave Joe my copy of The Moment it Clicks, and he flipped to the page where he usually signs them and there was a huge hand written quote in it.
I heard him mutter, “What the hell?” and look up to give me a look as if something was growing out of my forehead.
I laughed it off, and responded that it was something that I did with all books that I read; I just mark the hell out of them with notes, quotes, and thoughts.
He did sign my book, but that was the end of the conversation. As the running joke with my wife went for the rest of the time I played groupie for his Asia tour, …
I have been writing a lot of letters to Joe McNally as of late. He told me to keep in touch so that is what I have been doing. I know he is busy and he hasn’t written me back, now worries I am still going to write to him. Eventually with enough luck, he’ll write me one day without the words “stop send me emails.”
But for now I am sharing modified versions of the letters that I sent him. Here is the latest:
The Picture that Started it all…..
We all have one, that picture that made us know that we wanted to be photographers. The one that caused us to want to cross over to the dark side of exposure, aperture, and an uncertain future.
The other day while I was looking through my older pictures that I still have I found that one picture.
Known only to my wife and I, I proposed to my wife in Dublin just six or seven months after I met her (that is before I went to Iraq for those keeping tally.)
I never told anyone where or when I actually proposed to her, mostly to protect myself from my parents who had just dealt with me and my calling of a previous wedding just a year prior. I did it with a plastic ring while we sat on couch in her flat after we had had dinner. I couldn’t afford a real ring at the time, and as I recall she had to help me pay for my flight to Dublin.
I wanted it to be simple (with my previous fiancé I proposed to her in CBGB’s after an acoustic rendition of her favorite song by her favorite indie band, it took a long time to plan to coordinate, but even with all the flashiness, love, and the just plain ba…
Last week when my Nana passed my dad told me that Nana always believed that when a loved one passed they would leave behind pennies for their left loved ones to find. I was skeptical when Dad told me that his brother, sisters, and he himself had found one. I mean how hard is it really to find a penny in America; people just throw them on the ground. I’m in Korea, no one here uses pennies, it is like being deployed. In fact our PX uses the rounding system so they don’t have to use pennies because it is impractical.
To my surprise I found one in my apartment the other day when I went home from the field to grab some clean shirts and socks. I found it in the middle of the floor near my door. It hadn’t been there when I had entered my apartment, but when I went to leave there it was. I was du…
The following is a blog entry by Joe McNally (this is my other favorite one). I have re-read this countless times….. its always worth reading again. I didn’t actually read this until long after it was published. I read Joe’s blog in Iraq, but this one was published around the time I came back and I just didn’t read his blog for a while. I am jsut glad I foudn this entry.
The link to Joe’s blog and this entry in particualr are at the bottom of this note.
Letter to a Young Photographer
Lectured last week at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. In the photojournalism department, the students all had that traditional mix of energy, enthusiasm, angst, and doubt so typical of that time in your life when you have just picked up a camera and are looking…
The follwing is one of my two favorite blog entries by Joe McNally, my photography hero……
The link is on the bottom, but his blog is a wealth of information and encouragement. I have posted the link before on my Facebook, but it is such a good post it needs to be posted again and again.
The Best Assignments are Free
They are gifts we give ourselves…..
You already know the ones…the ones that really terrify you. The ones you think you can’t handle. The ones you think are way, way, beyond your capabilities. Gateway assignments. The ones you need to take. They come in on the phone (rarely) or in the email of your imagination as loud as the “TERRAIN! TERRAIN! TERRAIN!” warning in the cockpit. You must respond. You must engage.
Increasingly, these are the ones you give yourself.