A year after I interviewed writers for my March 2010 Open Heart Insert Foot series, I began a similar project with photographers. The 2011 series had the “inspiring” (and misleading) title, March Portfolio and Social Media Project. While the interviews began in March 2011, they continued into mid-May 2011. By new technology standards, I marched slowly. Photographers had already moved away from print portfolios to online photo galleries. Flash was becoming outdated. SEO mattered. A lot. Everything was moving so fast. Facebook, Google, mobile, Twitter … well, maybe not Twitter (this was way back in March 2011). Oh, and the worst joke for photographers? We had to blog! That’s right. We were expected to write. A LOT!
Despite the crazy pace, I met some of the coolest people in the photography business. For this post, I am highlighting Denise Gamboa, the Director of Marketing at SmugMug, and Kathryn MacDonald the former Marketing & Development Manager at Livebooks.com. I am also including photos from my September 2011 visit to the SmugMug headquarters when I interviewed Denise Gamboa and Markham Bennett for a magazine article. Markham was the Vice President of Business Development before moving to the start-up Fundly.com. Perhaps because I enjoyed Markham and Denise, I may have tried more than necessary to be objective and omitted some important details. I forgot to be grateful.
Within a few minutes of my visit, I knew I liked Markham and Denise. I liked them individually and as a team. (In case anyone is curious, they are married to other people.) I trusted them immediately, or at least quickly. I want to share the photos so others can see how comfortable they are working together. I found this with the whole staff. (In case anyone is curious, I do not really use SmugMug, but I understand why someone would.)
The name SmugMug often makes people smile. I smile when I review these photos. I also smile when I remember that Markham and Denise were willing to help those of us in education. They were prepared and knowledgeable. Markham and Denise also knew the history of the photographer to the back left. SmugMug knows when to be serious.
Denise‘s photography and blog seem different than the smiling person I met at the office. I am “not a word person,” so I might not explain this well. Her imagery and writing are nostalgic, almost romantic. When she writes about London, I start to feel that London is a long lost love. I almost start to weep. I miss London so much… and here is the kicker. I have never been to London. I still miss it. Go to her post from two years ago with the door and moped. Denise’s writing and photography scream, “Live while you can!”
Kathryn MacDonald and I attended the same university. (She danced at UCSB; I have dancer’s block as well as writer’s block.) When she left Livebooks. com, she began her own consulting business. She finds answers to the questions many photographers continue asking two years later. Do you want to know what Kathryn thought in 2011? Go see her responses. While many photographers were editing their about page, Kathryn worked for a company whose tagline is “websites designed to shape how the world sees you.”
Another thought: there are many decent people in the photography business. Andy Patrick, Livebooks President and CEO, is one of the good guys. Livebooks is no longer my favorite company, but I find the service useful. I also enjoy their blog Resolve. This week, Resolve published an article, “How to write a proposal.” The writing never stops.