It was mid-October 1989 and I was wrestling with a decision to withdraw from a photojournalism workshop in which I'd invested roughly a thousand dollars, but for which I was wildly under-prepared and decidedly under-qualified.
I’d driven 17 hours from Boston to Albany, KY to learn what photojournalism was all about, only to find out the workshop I'd enrolled in was for photographers who already knew what photojournalism was all about.
At the end of the first day, feeling completely overwhelmed, I spent 3-4 hours deliberating whether to stay or leave. There were many reasons supporting a decision to leave, but only these two things supporting a decision to stay: I really wanted to learn about photojournalism, and I really didn’t want to get back in my car and drive those 17 hours back to Boston (at least not yet).
Around 3am, I rationalized my decision to stay with this one thought, “I’ll never see these people again so what’s the worst that can happen? I’ll learn some things that’ll help me take great pictures of my friends and family.”
As it turned out, that week changed the course of my life.
And, ironically, of all the things I've photographed since that workshop, the photographs I've made of my family are, indeed, the ones I covet most of all.
This past week, I added to that collection when my son Ryan moved-in to his college dorm at the University of Colorado in Boulder. They are simple storytelling images, but they’re good pictures, and they move forward the most meaningful story in my life. I hope you enjoy them.
Not all my rationalizations have worked out this well (in fact, some have been downright disastrous!), but I can say without hesitation this particular rationalization has a hallowed place in my Rationalization Hall of Fame!