Hypocrisy: A Love Song

I realize, before we can get into a world of insightful blog posts and self-deprecating humor, you should probably know a little bit more about me. “But that’s what the About page is for!” you protest. “Nah, man. You gotta get the full story.” I say ignoring the loud groans. We’ll tell this story like a Tarantino film: five parts, starts in the middle, and ends in a bloodbath. I hope you brought your adult diaper.

“I’m probably not going to get into photography.”

I stood in the store looking at two cameras of two different calibers with a choice to make. Spend the extra money for the more professional camera body that would give me more headroom to grow or go with the base model and save the money. I was very much enjoying my design courses in college and only had to take a basic photography course to graduate. I decided to take this photography course early, and that made it imperative to acquire a digital SLR-type camera. “How interested in photography will I get?” I wondered. I didn’t wonder very long, because I grabbed the base model, paid the slack-jawed cashier who seemed to be very interested in the girl restocking the discount DVD rack, and went home to take pictures of bowls of cereal or whatever I was into back then. When the class started a few weeks later, I realized Graphic Design and I weren’t in an exclusive relationship anymore. Photography was a sultry mistress with an easy-to-approach demeanor and a wicked learning curve for those who followed her back to her lair. I ended up with a minor in photography (who has time for a second internship?), a crashed hard drive full of my most precious photos, and a job working in a camera shop. Two of those actually. Which brings us to…

“I could do that.”

My second retail job selling cameras was a tough one, not because I wasn’t good at my job, but because the people I worked with weren’t photographers, and the pros weren’t coming in frequently enough to have the conversations I wanted to have. After giving free advice to every wedding photographer hopeful, I decided it was time to shift my career path. I was working as a freelance graphic designer in Seattle and adding photography to my repertoire made more sense than avoiding alligators at the petting zoo. I got myself some camera equipment I always wanted, quit my job, and started shooting.

“What is graphic design?”

I only changed my major once in college and it was the first week of classes. I sat down with my advisor, and he asked me what I wanted to do when I graduated. Like an idiot I said, “I want to make Dorito wrappers.” My advisor’s brow furrowed, but he took it all in stride. He asked me why I was a digital media art major if I wanted to do graphic design. “What is graphic design?” I asked. This time my advisor looked at me like I had asked, “what is the alphabet?” or “what are pants?” After a pause that was just a bit too long to be reassuring, he began explaining what must have seemed like detailed instructions on why brushing your teeth is good for you. I immediately switched majors and never looked back. The world of the invisible opened up to me. Fonts I never paid heed to were a constant thought, kerning was more irritating than people talking in a movie theater (just kidding, that is the worst), corporate color swatches were insights into marketing strategies. Before long, I had facial hair and a passionate dislike for Comic Sans. Without a preconceived notion of what good design should be, I was a blank slate for some of the best design professors to work into a reasonably competent designer. What I lacked in previous exposure, I made up for with enthusiasm and naive overexertion. No shortcuts, no cheats, no filters, no skimping, no phoning it in, and no second best; everything I did was handmade the long way to make everything exactly how I wanted it. By my senior year, I was teaching a class and helping other students improve themselves. And the advisor? He became my favorite professor, and I named my dog after him.

“I’ll get a job at an ad agency!”

Upon graduation with my degree (Bachelors of Science in Graphic and Web Design with minors in Photography and Illustration), I decided to move to Seattle with some friends to find work with an ad agency. However, the ad agency work never started. I found instead, that people came directly to me for help with their projects. I watched my friends who had graduated ahead of me and saw the ones who had gone on to work for themselves were still doing the work they loved and were producing amazing projects. I realized I wanted that life more than I wanted to work on at a design firm or ad agency. I revisited the profile site I made in college, Will Do X, an idea born from wanting to work in a variety of mediums and a necessity as most of the other good willdo URLs were taken. I ultimately left Seattle, and returned to my hometown in Iowa, where I work today. I really do love what I do, and the path that led me here has been both challenging and richly rewarding.

“No one is going to read this blog.”

Well, you just did, and I guess I proofread it so that’s two. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have enough regular readers to just be a professional blogger. How embarrassing is it to say you are a blogger at reunions? Maybe I will be so busy with my work I won’t have time to blog at all. Maybe I will die in a fight with samurai robots (only after killing their leader in a fantastic slow-motion sword fight on top of a mountain in the rain) so I don’t produce any work or a blog. In the end, I’m just as much along for the ride as anyone, occasionally shouting out directions and “constructive” criticism from the back seat, just like my dear departed grandpappy.

Join me next week for: Logos for Cats: Why You Need One

Trivia: receive 10% off a logo design or 10% off any non-commercial photography when you email me the correct answer to the following question with the subject “Hypocrisy Trivia” (offer valid through August 15, 2015 and may not be combined with any other offer.)

Nikon uses over 200 different types of glass recipes across all their lenses. What purpose does this serve?

 Highlight for answer: Glass shifts the color of light slightly, the use of different types of glass and glass coatings ensure that the color profile of all Nikon’s lenses are the same.


  • Mattie Herbst
    July 23, 2015, 7:20 AM  Reply

    Brilliant! Dont ForGet to add mad writing skillz to your resume!

  • July 27, 2015, 2:40 PM  Reply

    I’ll post the answer to the trivia after the time on the promo has expired.

    The answer is posted! Highlight to reveal the answer. Mobile users, I’m sorry, come back on a PC or something.

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