May 29, 2020
Looking back on our past experiences can be so important. This week I had a chance to reconnect, during a Zoom reunion with co-workers from my first real job after college, in New York City.
The Early Signs of My Future Professional Photography Career
Zoom – love it or hate it, it’s what we do now, in this time of Coronavirus. I love it. I had an amazing catch-up visit with lots of great people I haven’t seen or talked to in 30 years. Our “host”, our friend Richard, suggested we each share our “30 years in 5 minutes.” And we all did, telling each other tidbits of our lives since our years together, and reminiscing about fun times or just crazy strange times. It was great! We chatted for 2 hours.
And looking back got me reflecting, afterward, on those years for me, and how they shaped me. Before the chat, I would have told you that, although I made some lasting, great friendships, I didn’t feel very influenced by the job, because I was so young and had an entry-level role. But now, I think I was influenced more deeply than I’d thought, in terms of my eventual career.
Even though I was a newbie, and barely a grown-up then, I was in a super-dynamic, talented art department at Town & Country Magazine. I was in the midst of an enormously creative group of artists, led by a wonderful, free-spirited art director. And there I saw the most beautiful photography I had ever seen.
Legendary photographers came into the office all the time, to review their work with the art department in the days before desktop computers and electronic ways to send work back and forth – artists such as the larger-than-life photographer Slim Aarons, who took dazzling photos of people in glamorous places like the Amalfi Coast, Monaco and Palm Springs, and Arnold Newman, considered my many to be the father of Environmental Portraiture, and has exhibited in major museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, an the Tate and National Portrait gallery in London.
Listen to your passions
These amazing photographers, among the best in the world, were influencing me! I saw their work, and my mind was blown. I saw an art form with possibilities I’d never realized before. But later, I tucked this away, as life moved forward and got busy. It took me a while to find my way back to the artistic career I was meant for. But I did. And I see now, with the wisdom that comes from growing and experiencing life, that those early experiences WERE reaching me, impacting me. Now I just wish I’d realized this and acted sooner on the connection I felt with art. But it’s okay. What matters is that I did finally hear that voice inside me.
How about your experiences?
So, what about YOUR story? What things did you love early on, which maybe got a little lost along the way? Or you didn’t recognize were so meaningful, at that time. Looking back, if you think about your travels through life so far, what details stand out? Where were the sparks?
Maybe you’ve been on the path of exactly what you loved and knew was right for you, and your story continues to unfold in a direction that makes you totally happy! If so, that is great news! Carry on. But, if not, maybe try reflecting, even writing down, the nooks and crannies of your life, and see what reveals itself. It could be life-changing.
Before I sign off, I need to share an amazing resource with you. Have your heard of Dr. Brene Brown? She is an amazing writer, speaker, professor, researcher, mom who has so much to teach us about being vulnerable, courageous, and authentic. As you think about your own story, I highly recommend checking out Brene’s books, maybe starting with The Gifts of Imperfection, her TED talk, her podcast, Unlocking Us, or her Netflix show. She has so many spot-on insights. And she’s so funny! She’ll for sure enrich your journey. Find her here.