Chances are you haven’t heard of Rick Smolan, but you’ve probably seen his work in the bookstores or on your coffee tables. Rick is the creator of the popular Day in the Life photography series, America 24/7, From Alice To Ocean, and 24 Hours in Cyberspace. I’ve been a big fan of his work, and it was great to meet him in person. He’s good friends with Doug Menuez, who created one of my favorite books, Defying Gravity (or Defying Graviity for those in the know); after the meeting, he called up Doug, who just recently donated his photographic collection from the 80’s and 90’s to Stanford, and let me speak to him. Now, I know just how he was able to get such great access to the Newton group in the early days (it’s all about connections).
He spoke to the Fellowship on Thursday about the value of documenting your work. The end of the year is upon us and many of the Fellows don’t have too much in the way of photographic documentation. Since 1998, I’ve developed a strong desire to photograph pretty much anything that happens in my life. I’ve since managed to generate over 60,000 images (there’s only 1.5 years left to annotate!). During the Fellowship this year, I’ve covered as many events as possible, from fun trips like our offsite to Monterey to the various seminars held each week at Stanford. While I didn’t travel to faraway places like Kenya or India (as have Brij, Rajendra, Raphael, and others), I did encourage them to take photographs during their trip so we could all relive the trip through their eyes. As we prepare to leave Stanford next month, I’m hoping that we’ll continue to stay in touch via email, photographs, and (in the future) video.