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ASMP Business Curiosity Origin Story Richard Kelly Experience

Always be Reinventing

Plotting my career in the early ’80s, I never imagined my photography career today. Photography industry insider Stephen Mayes describes my current lifestyle as having a “portfolio career,” one that includes multiple income streams from various services over a range of industry sectors. What my mother calls having “a lot of irons in different fires.” Although not what I envisioned, my portfolio career is right for me.

My single most valuable character trait is my curiosity; it has fueled all aspects of my creative life and continues to lead me to new opportunities for creative expression and commercial exploitation.

Just the other day, a longtime client and friend from my New York City days introduced me as one of the most interesting people she knows. She mentioned that I was someone who is always reinventing his work and life.

I learned in that conversation that all my work has a common core, which is storytelling. In essence, I like to learn, I want to experience things, and then I share my enthusiasm. My activities vary from day to day. I read, I write; I make pictures, I do interviews, I capture video, I splice images together, I teach a class, I consult with a client, maybe moderate a panel discussion, watch a classic film with my teenage daughter, I push a few buttons, just another day in my life.

A few years ago, I learned I needed to rethink my business. This process included a fair amount of self-evaluation. Reworking my brand – the promise to my clients. To some degree, I need to rephrase how I described myself to others—ultimately changing the perception of what I am selling. A colleague last evening over dinner said you are no longer a “photographer,” sure you take photographs. Still, you bring more to the marketing and board room – you build a vision and a strategy a visual experience for organizations. 

I continue to fuel my insatiable curiosity. I learn something new every day. I have tons of new experiences and stories to share. Best of all I get to illustrate them all with pictures – some moving and some still. I live in a state of ‘always be reinventing.’

Updated and adapted from The ASMP Strictly Business Blog , June 25, 2015