My youngest brother, Daniel came to visit my family Sunday night for dinner. He brought along some photographs he took since beginning photography studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. The pictures he showed us were quite good and, in fact, he received honors in all of his classes. This winter, after being recruited by several prestigious art schools (the Art Institute of Chicago being one of them), Daniel has elected to remain where he is for the next two years. In June, he will be traveling with one of his professors to India to take more pictures and learn more things. He also has been commissioned by the city of Los Angeles to make a photographic study of the LA River. Not bad for a freshman.
Daniel is 34 years old.
A little over a year ago he walked away from a six-figure job in marketing at a booming shop in China. He was very good at it. As a matter of fact, he played a significant role in getting the well-received motion picture starring Bruce Willis, Looper, produced and marketed. Freeze-frame the credits and you’ll see his name. Before that he brought NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant to China for lavish promotional spectacles. During the Beijing Olympics he chaperoned swimming phenom, Michael Phelps from gymnasiums to the Great Wall. I wrote about it here: http:// http://godsofadvertising.wordpress.com/2009/01/13/little-brother-in-big-china-daniel-postaer-makes-marketing-magic-in-the-far-east/
Why did he leave such an exciting, well-paying job to go back to school –let alone to study a field said to be dying by Instagram?
Because he could. And because he wanted to. Apparently, the highflying marketing gig was wearing him out. At least on some level, we can all relate to that. But the real draw was a chance to do something that makes him happy and feel fulfilled. To make photographs. How might we relate to that?
My other brother, Jeremy studied painting in college and graduate school. He was exceptional. He had a gift. And while he toyed with making a career of it he opted to follow his big brother into the field of advertising. And that was that. The paintbrushes were stowed for life, literally and figuratively. I’m not sure if he regrets it. Lord knows, he’s had a prolific, even notorious career. But still…
Daniel laughs at himself for being a grown man among kids. He jokes that he can’t hang with the crew on Friday nights. But his smile is a mile wide. The man is happy. He works his ass off, like he always has, but instead of hitting the phones and making meetings he’s up with the sun taking photographs. Developing them. Entering them into shows. Then making better ones. Learning.
I’m not dissing advertising. Hell no. I’ve enjoyed (almost) every minute of my time in Adland. Yes, I’ve written novels and screenplays but my first love has always been what I’m doing right now. Yet, I wonder if given other circumstances I would have the courage to leave. Considering my bills and a young family, I doubt it.
Unencumbered by such concerns, Daniel is doing as he pleases. It sounds like a cliché but he’s following a dream. Where it takes him who knows. But isn’t that the beauty of it? I’m betting most nights he thanks God and his family for the support and courage to do what he’s doing –and not doing. He’d better. It’s a blessing few of us will ever know.
San Francisco is a lot of wonderful things…unless you’re a car. I parked in the one lone spot by my apartment waaaay up on Telegraph Hill. What a “get!” My lucky day. Or so I thought. I left it overnight and woke up to a newly planted sign that said it was illegal to park there. And it was gone. Towed by the SFP.
Fitting result, actually. I’ve already hit the side of a bus, grazed 100 curbs and scraped my undercarriage on the bottom of hills that made my heart lurch into my throat.
So, if you’re coming to the City by the Bay, take a cab. Walk. Figure out the flat routes for your bike (there’s an app for that by the way.) But give your car a reprieve. Find a garage and leave it there. Lesson learned.
Like the weather… What a fool I was to bring my shorts. Rookie move Steffan. SF is just too fickle to be caught with your knees exposed.
San Francisco is that funky girl who looks beautiful as hell one day and a miserable wretch the next. She’s curvy, hilly and intoxicating and definitely capable of stealing your heart. But her sunny disposition goes clammy in an instant. She’ll make you shiver. Today was sunny and warm. Tomorrow who knows?
San Francisco. It’ll take more than goose bumps and a banged up car to break my awe of you. You’re a diva but I’m game.