Today’s post was incredibly difficult to write … both of my arms and shoulders suffered extensive damage from all the “patting myself on the back” I’ve done over the past few days. I had to type this post with my nose.
There are certain goals I have for myself – well, “goals” might not be the right word, but there are certain things that I wanted to achieve during my career as an architect. If you have been a long time reader, you’ll know that upon my graduation, my professional goals consisted of:
make over $100,000 a year
get published in an architectural history book
buy a jet ski
But only one of those three things has actually come true for me (I’ll let you guess which one). As I diligently work on the other two, there are other professional honors that have come up that I never identified as goals but that I am extremely happy to have achieved. Last week, I was happy to learn that I am the recipient of a 2015 Honor Award from the Texas Society of Architects for the work I’ve put in with this blog … that’s right, the very one you are reading at this very moment!
Pretty amazing considering I started this journey just 5 years ago.
Here is the official announcement that is up on the Texas Society of Architects web site:
Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture through the Media in Honor of John G. Flowers, Hon. AIA
Bob Borson, AIA, Dallas
Borson’s “Life of an Architect” is the world’s most trafficked individually maintained architectural blog. His witty, perceptive, and often touchingly poignant observations, coupled with his astounding commitment to content creation and reader engagement have made Borson “a true 21st century spokesman for our field.”
No too shabby, right? There are a lot of descriptors that go in to categorizing the reach this blog has but let’s be honest – ArchDaily crushes my site, but then again, we don’t do the same sort of thing. This award, which has existed since 1971, hasn’t typically gone to architects – most of the recipients are writers and editors from more traditional media outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio and television. The criteria for selection of this particular honor award includes evidence of:
• Commitment to the promotion of architecture through the media to a broad audience of the general public.
• Quality writing/direction/production of materials that enhance the public’s awareness and understanding of the profession of architecture and its value to society
• Outstanding work of statewide significance.
Sounds pretty impressive, right? While I was basking in the glow of feeling awesome, I realized – yet again – just how badly I need to get a high-resolution picture of myself … a good one that makes me look like Brad Pitt from ‘Meet Joe Black’ or George Clooney from ‘The American’ ( FYI – that’s why Photoshop was invented). If you look at the acknowledgement graphic shown above, check out the picture of me.
It’s terrible! [stamping foot] … and I’m the one that sent it to them! I did send them a few other pictures but they clearly thought this was the best option …. but don’t get lost as to what the really important item to focus on here – not my Honor Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture through the Media – No, it would be my inability to secure a worthwhile headshot.
So rather than spend a whole bunch of time talking about my high-five Honor Award (I just patted myself on the back … again) I would rather talk about the terrible pictures of me that seem to get used over and over again. and the stories behind their existence.
This picture was taken outside of a Mexican restaurant at a local mall. Not at an actual picture-taking type store – it was just some random photographer that set up a photo booth, gave you a remote clicker, and you could pose for as many pictures you wanted. You would then check out your photos on his computer, and for $10 a picture, he would email the digital file to you. My whole family got in on the action as it was a lot of fun. I think I was a few mojitos in by the time we started … and I’ll admit that I didn’t come prepared, mostly because I didn’t know this was going to happen. I’m pretty washed out, and no, that isn’t a v-neck tee-shirt I am wearing.
Evidence of the mojitos … who doesn’t like a little “crazy eye” in their head shot? This is my best George Clooney impersonation.
This was taken in my living room – I can’t really remember why I needed it. I think it was to accompany my bio in a Texas Architect magazine or Architect magazine – either one, but they needed it Monday morning and this was Sunday afternoon. I set my camera up on a tripod, set the timer, hit the shutter button, and ran around in to position. This was like the 30th try.
That healthy glow is perspiration. Also, I’m glad I spent some time thinking about my wardrobe in this picture.
I’ve been using this picture lately even though a few people have emailed to tell me how scary I look in this picture. I’ll confess that this picture is a little weird and you’re probably wondering “Why would anybody take a picture of themselves like that?” Well, it’s because I was trying to look like kitchen design superstar Matthew Quinn for a post I was running (you can see the unpublished photo collage here) and I was just happy that it was in focus (obviously the “low picture bar” is at work here). Since I have really, really
white clear hair (“like a polar bear” according to my daughter) the top of my head disappears in almost every picture. This image just makes the removal of the top of my head seem intentional.
Maybe an action shot would be more appropriate? In case you didn’t know, for an architect, the image above is an action shot. It was taken by my friend Scott Knudson, this years AIA Maryland President, when I was the guest speaker and emcee at the 2014 AIA Potomac Valley Design Awards Celebration. This is me looking “professional” while preparing for my evening of work. Yes, I am aware that I have “resting scowl face”.
Hopefully I will take this awesome moment of recognition by my peers – and the subsequent short-lived exuberance because of crummy photos – as a motivator to solve this particular head shot problem. Maybe this time will work … the last time certainly didn’t (I need a head shot, not a mugshot)
Cheers – and thank you for reading Life of an Architect. I only received this award because you bothered to read the articles I have written (today’s article not-with-standing)
Some bonus information on John G. Flowers – the individual my award is named after –
John G. Flowers, Hon. AIA, was the Texas Society of Architects’ first executive vice president. Flowers graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He served the Texas Society of Architects from 1954 to 1967 as executive vice president and managing editor of Texas Architect. With his background in public relations, Flowers was uniquely able to promote the mission of the Society and the architectural profession. Flowers was an honorary member of the AIA, Texas Society of Architects, and AIA Austin.