(I’m going to go ahead and apologize up front… There aren’t many, well, any, images in this post to help break up the text [I know, I should’ve had my camera with me the whole time!], but I’ve done my best to break the text up into smaller chunks to make it easier to get through. Hope it’s worth the read!)
How did I get to where I am today?
That’s a question that I get asked somewhat often when people meet me, so I figured I would share it here. That way, if we do meet some day, you’ll already know and we can talk about something besides me :)
I was born at a young age in the hills of East Tennessee…
Actually, let’s fast forward to the part where I pick up a camera, cool? Thought so.
The photo bug really bit me around my second year of college. I was a Digital Media Studies major at Union University and was required to take Photo 1. I really enjoyed the class (and the professor), so I decided to take another photo class the next semester. Then another after that. And another after that. Then one more after that. By the time senior year arrived, I was shooting for the campus newspaper and covering events for the university. Then second semester, I got an internship at the Jackson Sun newspaper.
The end of the semester came and I participated in the graduation ceremony, but didn’t actually get a diploma because I still had to take a summer class. So, during the summer I continued working at the newspaper, at the university, and serving at The Old Country Store, all while taking a class and trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life after I was officially finished with school.
My search for a job had only turned up one possibility, as a shipping box logo designer (or something) for a local tool company. That fell through, so I went to my photo professor Jim’s office to talk with him about it (he usually has good advice, or at least an encouraging word). I walked up to his open door, and he looked up from his computer screen. “Brad Moore! Just the person I wanted to see! How would you like to work for Joe McNally?”
“Uh, yeah…! But how’s that going to happen?”
“Well, it just so happens that his current assistant is moving on to another job, so he’s looking for a new assistant. I just got off the phone with Bob Carey and he called to ask me what you were doing once you finished up with school.”
See, Bob and Jim have been good friends for years. Bob teaches photography at Gardner Webb University, and one of his former students, Scott Holstein, was Joe’s assistant at the time. Earlier in the summer, I had worked with Bob at a conference in Nashville and gotten to know him fairly well. When he got the call that a spot with Joe was opening up, he thought of me (and enough of me to feel comfortable recommending me).
After a few phone calls, an application and portfolio, and some more phone calls, I was invited up for a weekend to meet Joe and his crew. Did that, we all got along and liked each other, and I went back home. Got a call a few days later and was offered the job. Packed up my stuff a couple weeks later and made the drive to Connecticut.
While working with Joe, he took me to a DLWS workshop in Vermont where I met Moose and Sharon Peterson, Laurie Excell, Vincent Versace, the guys from Wacom, Justin Stailey (of “Justin Clamp” fame) from Bogen (now with Leica), and… Scott Kelby.
I kept bumping into Scott during my time with Joe, at DLWS, Photoshop World, and when we would work on the Kelby Training classes. We got to know each other well enough, and then the timing was right for me to make the move down here to start working with him.
See, my thought process is something like this… To make it in the photo industry these days, you have to be skilled in three main areas: 1) Behind the Camera, 2) Behind the Computer, and 3) In Business.
Working with Joe, I was able to learn the behind the camera part, as well as a good chunk of business (thanks Lynn! :) ) But Joe will be the first to tell you, he ain’t no Photoshop wiz. I was able to learn from the best for the camera portion, so why not see if I could learn from the best for the post-processing portion? And, hey, he’s not too bad on the business side of things either! ;)
Luckily, Scott was actually looking for a photo assistant around the time I was wrapping up with Joe, so it was a pretty easy transition.
As they say, the rest is history!
So, what’s next for me? I can’t say that I really know. I mean, there’s no way I would’ve guessed I would go work with Joe straight out of college, so who’s to say where I’ll go from here until I get there? Right now I’m enjoying working with Scott and everyone here at Kelby Media Group. Ultimately, I think I’d like to be an entertainment photographer, shooting commercial and editorial portraits in addition to the concert stuff I’ve been doing lately. But that’s quite a ladder to climb, and I’m still in training for now.
In closing, I’d like to again thank Jim Veneman, Bob Carey, Joe McNally, Scott Kelby, Moose Peterson, and all the others who have been such a huge influence in my life and career. I wouldn’t be right here if it weren’t for every one of you!
[Now, as your reward for actually making it all the way through this pictureless post, I present to you a music video for a song that has been stuck in my head since Sunday night. I photographed Rachel Goodrich in concert, and this song is catchy as all get out!]