I was just starting my photography career, around 2007, and the infamous photographer Steve McCurry (“Afgan Girl”) had been invited to share his work and was speaking at the Art Center Waco to a room of 200+. Steve was a hero of mine and I was super excited to travel up from Austin to hear him sharing his story.
He had the podium and held us captive with this stories of adventure and bestowed on us the lessons that he had learned from his lifelong experience and knowledge of working as a photographer. After his one hour presentation, he opened the floor for questioning. I passed on all but the last request. Nervous as I was, I finally mustered the gumption and stood up to ask the ‘last question’. I asked Steve if he could give some practical advise to someone just starting out on how to navigate the landscape of the industry. He had multiple suggestions, but what stood out was when he said ‘what is really important is to get your portfolio in front of influential people so that they are made aware of the work you are doing.’ Noted. I expressed my gratitude, sat down for a few seconds, reached into my laptop bag under my chair and pulled out my portfolio. I stood up unannounced and said ‘Excuse me Mr. McCurry, but I have my portfolio right here if you’d like to have a look it.” It got a huge laugh, McCurry even chuckled. I walked up and gave it to Steve as he was signing books at the end of the talk. I’m not sure what he ended up doing with it if anything but he gave me his presence and a few words of encouragement which was the spark that I need to start my own journey.
Today, the Art Center Waco has just completed a new multi million dollar art center and invited me to be one of the first exhibitions! I began working down in Oaxaca in 2018 and ultimately produced and curated multi media cultural experience, one of photography, dance, music, folk art, mescal and a Taste of Oaxaca. Oaxacan Gold premiered at the new Art Center Waco in May of 2022. To premiere my sophomore large multi media project at the Art Center Waco is a real honor and Steve McCurry is a part of that story.