The text below is a very personal testimonial, written by Adenike Akinbisehin, one of my best students from the Miami Ad School Advanced Photography classes.
I can’t be happier to receive such cool feedback, as education is something I do not do on a regular basis, and, as an active Advertising/Commercial Photographer, my educational methods are less than conventional, as I put to use my own personal vision into it, taking my students to do assistant work in some of my shootings, not sending them standard homework/assignments, but rather encouraging students to develop their own portfolios with visual work that is worthwhile for their future, taking them off the classroom more than expected, always pushing them beyond their comfort zones, and this lack of convention is sometimes criticized by a few, mostly those who just want to do some homework, get a decent grade in all classes and graduate.
Today, becoming a photographer, a visual artist in general, requires TONS of effort, all guided by an innate passion, a drive that makes people go the extra mile day after day. Once any of us start going up the ladder of success, we will be meeting- and competing- with super stars that are already at the top of their careers, so it just takes a simple look at their work today, to know what level of work we need to produce to become really competitive!! Adenike is one of those students who will grow big time, and I know for sure she will be a great photographer pretty soon!
The Dalai Lama said something amazing about Education, here’s his quote:
“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.”
I know for a fact that my mentor, long ago deceased master photographer Julio Vengoechea, somehow is still alive through me, as his teachings are still influencing what I do today. So, here’s what I have to tell Adenike about this: You have made me take a glimpse at immortality, and that is a tremendous gift to receive!
Well, these are her words, and I can’t thank her enough!
Adenike Akinbisehin wrote:
“I am fortunate. Fortunate to know an exuberant and inspiring artist and gentleman. This man also happens to be a genius when it comes to photography. Better yet, he’s one of my favourite instructors.
Today, the delightful Jorge Parra shared a personal and humbling story about his move to the United States with his beloved family, with nothing but 5 suitcases. He spoke of challenges and inner dialogues he had to leave behind, and I identified very much with his story. As time would have it, it has been a decade today.”
“Thank you for the endless support and encouragement. For your time, resourcefulness, patience, radical honesty, and kindness. Thank you for your sense of humour. For your words of wisdom. Thank you for helping me in more ways than you could imagine, overcome some of the deepest fears and insecurities I have.
Thanks for confirming the virtues that come with traversing scary emotional terrain. To reciprocate your openness, I decided to share this article I wrote, with you.”
“Jorge, it is with great pride that I call myself your student, and it is with deep joy that I call you a mentor and a friend. Thanks for summoning up the courage and making that shift a decade ago. I for one, am more than glad you did.”