This project probably isn’t what you’re expecting to see on my Behance site. There will be very few photos here.
I work for Adobe. Just putting that out there, right now. I have been working as a Solutions Consultant for the Education Sales team for over 5 years and I love what I do. And I do love the tools that Adobe makes. They have enriched my life and put food on the table for decades.
Before joining Adobe, I was a college professor for 21 years, teaching in journalism, and advertising and new media.
But I have been a photographer far longer. The summer before college, when I held my first 35mm SLR, I knew. When I got my first roll of film back from the lab, I felt at my core there was something magical going on. I couldn’t quite pin it down, but I knew this relationship I had with the camera my father had given me as a graduation gift would always be part of me. It was then that I first realized what a camera could do for my vision, for the way I saw things and shared them.
I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. In fact, my interest in writing is what led to my passion for photography.
Ripples in a pond…
34 years later, I haven’t been proven wrong. My love affair with the camera has not diminished; it’s deepened.
By comparison, Behance is fairly new to me. I was (and still am) a huge Flickr fan. I have THOUSANDS of images on Flickr. And, frankly, I will admit that I originally signed up with Behance because it was a new Adobe acquisition, and I was in part, being a good employee. I needed to know about Behance because I would be expected to talk about it.
But being a good corporate citizen soon became less important. Some new magic began casting its spell. Exploring Behance opened my eyes to the worlds of other creatives – and not just photographers: painters, designers, sculptors, illustrators and animators, artists of all kinds. Prior to joining Behance, I had a pretty monocular view of creativity. I focused on what other photographers were doing. But now, I see how every type of creative can have an impact on my vision. On how I approach a subject, frame it, crop it and massage those pixels into my final vision. Quite simply, it’s inspiring to see the incredibly vast range of talent out there.
Another element of this magic was the wonderful sense of community. Unlike Flickr, where feedback can be quite sparse and often limited to a “fave”, I began receiving comments on my work in addition to appreciations. It is very easy to “fave” or appreciate another’s work, be it on Flickr, or DeviantArt or here on Behance. But when someone is moved to take a few minutes and write about why they liked your work, well, that adds a whole new dimension and sense of community.
Is it an ego boost? Hell yes. But it’s more than that. It’s knowing that your work impacted someone else. That knowledge reaches far deeper and lasts longer and – in my case – further encourages me to create more.
Behance, and the community of creative people that make this social platform so vibrant and enriching, are catalysts for me. Sure, I’ve never needed a reason to go out and make pictures. But I find myself wanting to do this even more now. I get “photographer’s itch” far more quickly. I start to feel lazy if a week goes by and I haven’t created some new work.
That is, in part, why I am writing this short essay right now; I haven’t made many photos recently (this week) and I got “itchy”.
The sharing of work with another photographer has also helped to spawn this writing. And it’s yet another spell woven by this Behance magic. Not only am I seeing the work of many others, and being inspired by it, I’m helping to inspire others. That’s a pretty cool feeling.
And on top of that, I’m exchanging work with others. This community is so much about mutual respect and sharing that I’m sometimes simply stunned by it. Case in point: back in December of 2014, one photographer, Bettina Güber (https://www.behance.net/bg242), commented that she’d love to hang some of my work from VEGAS on her wall. I replied back that I’d be flattered, and asked her to select her favorites and I’d email them to her. We were both pretty excited about this!
And just a few weeks ago, Bettina posted a new series that I absolutely loved which contrasted modern technology with the older, often archaic “technology” of the past. The photos were beautifully done and struck a chord in me. So much of what I do at Adobe (and when I was teaching) revolves around technology and its importance in our world, and often its importance in the success of students. And to see these images contrasting “bleeding-edge tech of olde” with our current range of devices was quite an eye-opener. At one point, every piece of old technology in those photos was new – state of the art for its time.
And it got me to thinking:
1) Wow, things have changed, but more importantly,
2) What new, upcoming perhaps yet unknown technology would eclipse what we think of as current, and when?
Well, I complimented Bettina and said how I’d love to use some of these images in my presentations to schools and she not only offered to share the current work with me, but to create entirely new images, based on my feedback! How awesome is that?
And today, I received those images in my inbox. I can’t wait to put them to use!
So thank you, Behance, for enabling a community that has in many ways energized my own creativity. Primarily though, thank you to all the artists and creatives who have inspired me to create more often, think differently and see the world through a myriad of new lenses.