It seems the blog has taken a little bit of a vacation. This wasn't planned but I was away some and involved in a few different projects that kept me from writing. After this one that is an announcement I will be back with real content soon.
I have been asked by the New England School of Photography (NESOP) in Boston to be its keynote speaker at this year's graduation ceremonies in mid June. I am honored and humbled to be asked. Needless to say I have accepted the invitation.
Now comes the hard part. What do I tell a group of graduating students at the school? I've always listened to graduation speeches with a good deal of skepticism, for how could someone stand up there and be actually helpful to young people going off into the world to make their careers?
But before I delve into that I have to tell you what I love about doing this. I love that this is the same school I started out as a teacher in 1975, two years after getting out of graduate school. Of course, this was not only another century but the photography that we taught with 4 x 5 view cameras working in black and white in darkrooms bears little resemblance to the photography of today. Video wasn't even in the discipline's crosshairs then. Now, for a pro, the two go hand in hand. NESOP was a place that launched not only its graduates' careers but young faculty too: Henry Horenstein, Jane Tuckerman, Joe DeMaio, Tom Petit, Jon Barkan, Jim Stone, and Barry Kipperman come to mind to name just a few.
What will I say? I will reflect on my own career to analogize about the beginning of theirs. I will share my thoughts about failures that turned into wins, risks taken that succeeded, rejection and how to cope with the fact that all successful people receive far more "no's" than "yes's", that teaching within the discipline of photography that I loved with all my heart never truly felt like work, that being an invested and active photographic artist throughout my career informed my teaching and that my students helped me stay young, tolerant and invested in my art. Stuff like that.
Put yourself there. What would you say to a bunch of students about to graduate? It feels like a really good exercise to put yourself through, even if you aren't someplace's keynote speaker.
I am looking forward to it but I promise there will be sleepless nights thinking it through and deciding what to say.