No Greater Reward
Originally uploaded by Lorenzo! (lorenzodom)
For anyone who works earnestly at what he or she aspires to be, accomplish, or become, there is no greater feeling than to be told that you are an inspiration to someone else who is likewise aspiring.
Hence, I am sharing a letter that I received yesterday, that immediately endowed me with the greatest sense of glee and appreciation.
Subject: A-Level Photography Class!
Hello again Lorenzo!
I'm a teacher at St Boniface's Catholic College in Plymouth (UK), and I thought I'd let you know that a few of my students have chosen you as their inspiration! Each student has to choose three artists that inspire them- which span from Muybridge and Hockney to David La Chappelle and your good self!
You've got quite a fan club in my class- the students (and I) think your work is awesome!
We received our copies of 25 Lessons today and began reading it as a class- it is truly amazing- well done!
I will be sure to send you copies of their sketchbook pages, which feature you!
Thanks for being so inspirational!
Head of Photography
Needless to say, I am honored and humbled and flattered. There is no greater reward than to inspire others to pursue the passions in which you likewise believe in and incessantly apply yourself to.
Moreover, as I relayed to a few of my dearest friends yesterday, it is overwhelmingly gratifying to be considered an “artist” by anyone, especially by those who are preparing to drive what the future of photography brings. Because albeit I have worked incessantly at my craft for many years now, writing since I was 15 (25 years ago) and throwing myself into street photography three years ago, it is difficult to feel that I am what I aspire to be, when society only deems you so when you are “professionally” compensated for your work.
Nonetheless, I have long been compelled to apply myself (see What Art Means to Me). And recently, I have come to accept myself as an artist, regardless of the measures that others may tend to impose, because I realized that with the recent HP honors and the publication of two books, 25 Lessons and Be Yourself) I am actually fulfilling my greatest childhood dream—to be an artist.
Thus, hence and therefore, Mr. Scott’s letter comes as a godsend, a confirmation, and graceful rite of passage for me into a stage of my life that I have long yearned to achieve, much as good Catholics strive to fulfill the Seven Sacraments of their faith.
And thus, I profusely thank Paul and his disciples.
In return, I would like to mention that under the auspices of Paul Scott, St Boniface’s College offers a rather impressive array of Photography & Film-Making courses to its students. Some of these include:
— Pinhole Photography
— Fashion Photography
— Mission: Photography
— Photography 101
— Portrait Photography
— Stop Motion Animation
Impressively, this curriculum began all but one year ago and the students participate during their free time. According to the history posted on their website, “The A-Level photography course was started in February 2007 when two students asked Mr. Scott to run the course. The course began as a trial with both parties getting used to the course as the months went on. After a successful series of coursework and examination for both candidates, word spread and sign-up for 2007/08 stands at 68 students.”
I myself attended a parochial high school (Bellarmine College Preparatory, 1981-1985) and often beam with great pride when I speak of those formative years. In particular, I look back fondly upon my four years at this all-boys prep because it allowed me to focus on academics, as well as the understanding and development of my true character, without having to endure the pressures and follies that others must stumble through at public co-ed institutions.
Although we were not offered any photography, or even art courses that I recall, I took a course on in literature there that changed my life. As I wrote in my book 25 Lessons: The Art of Living:
“… if it hadn’t been for my high school years and my sophomore literature class in particular, I wouldn’t have read James Joyce’s Ulysses, and I may not have been inspired to be a writer. Because even though I did not understand a lot of the arcane references at first, the intricacy of his words set me on fire—ablaze with a grandly romantic and inextinguishable love for words.”
That said, I now realize how important our influences can be during our formative years, which makes the letter I received yesterday all the more sweeter. And so once again, I must relay that I am honored and likewise inspired to continue applying myself, if only to continue inspiring others to do the same.
Please check out this group’s work and help the students by offering advice and critiques of their work: