Why listen to me?

I write a lot of blog entries, teach a lot of classes and give many presentations. Those are NOT why you should listen to me when I write something or say something. You should listen to me because you think I know what I am talking about. The question is how do you know that and by extension, why listen to me?

This blog owes its existence to a great blog entry by Michael Reichmann titled simply Credentials. His point is that he is credible (when writing about photography) because he has many accomplishments that make up his long career in photography.

So, why listen to me (or maybe better yet, what are my credentials?) Using Michael Reichmann’s excellent post as a starting point:

— I started making my living as a professional photographer some 35 years ago.

— I had my work in my first gallery exhibition in 1983, with dozens of exhibitions since.

— Over those, my work has appeared in hundreds of magazines (as assignment work and as stock photographs) as well as in hundreds of books.

— My work is in private collections and public museums on three continents.

— I have taught photography at the college level on and off for the past twenty years, including stints at Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University and the University of the Arts, among others.

— I regularly teach photography workshops and seminars around the world, including at the International Center for Photography, Santa Fe Photo Workshops, Singapore Center for Film and Photography, Maine Media Workshops and the Pathshala school of photography, among others.

— I have been an invited speaker at numerous industry conferences in North, Central and South America, as well as in Asia.

— I have authored dozens of articles on photography for publications and blog sites (beyond The Wells Point.)

— I was a contributing writer at Photo Techniques Magazine (until they recently closed.)

— I have worked on assignment for some of the most well established magazines in the world including Fortune, Life, National Geographic, Newsweek, New York Times SUnday MAgazine, Time Magazine, and U.S. News & World Report, among others.

— My photographs have been exhibited at University of Notre Dame, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Berkeley, Harvard University and the International Center of Photography among others.

— I have received grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation (twice,) the Alicia Patterson Foundation, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, New Jersey Arts Council, the MacArthur Foundation’s program of Research and Writing on International Peace and Cooperation, and the Pennsylvania Arts Council, among others.

— I was featured in Photo District News magazine as one of the “”Best Workshop Instructors.”

These highlights are not bragging. They are examples of what is known as third party validation. Complete strangers in the publication, exhibition, workshop and grant funding worlds have decided that I know what I am doing. Because so many of them have “validated” me and my work is why I hope you will listen to me, take a workshop with me or read a blog entry I wrote.

This is also my way of saying thank you for working with me to those people who have worked with me in the past. Riffing on what they say in the air travel business, I know you have a choice of providers for photography information/advice and workshops so I am very pleased that you trust me with your time, money and attention.

The last question might be which topics are the ones where you should NOT listen to me, believe me, etc.? Since I do no fashion photography, food photography or controlled lighting studio work, those are topics I will likely steer clear of. If I am pontificating on those topics, make sure to have a bit of cynicism at the ready.

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