While here staying #saferathome I’ve been looking through previous work and was reminded of an interesting series of shoots I did in 2018-19 that I’ve yet to share here. So, time to share!
A couple years ago I was contacted by the assistant to a man named Manny Scott, who would soon be speaking at a local high school in the San Fernando Valley. At the time I didn’t know who he was, but in retrospect I’m glad I got the call. Over the next two years I ended up traveling with Scott on several occasions to presentations he was giving in Boston, Monterey and Honolulu. It was a great experience getting to see the impact that he has on people, as well as getting to know him and his wonderful family, who typically travel with him as he tours the country up to 300 days a year.
Scott is a well-known speaker in the world of primary education, bringing an inspirational message and practical advice to both students and educators around the country. As a teenager, Scott was in the Long Beach classroom that inspired the 2007 Hollywood film, The Freedom Writers, about a group of underprivileged students who were inspired by their teacher, played by Hilary Swank in the film. He went on to study at UC Berkeley and later launched a successful career as a speaker and author, traveling the country to speak directly to students and educators about the power of education and having the will to overcome your circumstances.
When I first heard what he did I didn’t know what to expect and was even a little skeptical, never personally having had much interest in other motivational speakers. That opinion changed immediately after seeing his first presentations. Twice in a day he filled the auditorium at a school full of “at-risk” youth, all of whom sat in wrapt attention as he discussed his own troubled youth, plagued by abuse, crime and drugs and how he then rose out of those circumstances to lead a fulfilling life. I was surprised to see so many students in wrapt attention throughout the program. Many of them were in tears as he related his stories and several lined up following his speech for a chance to meet him and tell him their stories, to which he listened before offering his embrace and words of encouragement. It was obvious watching them that what he was doing was having a profound impact.
We enjoyed working together and after that event I went on to shoot a large education conference in Boston, another in Monterey and another school event in Honolulu. Despite the differences in venue and audience, in each case he was very well received and made an impression on everyone in attendance.
As I sit here now it’s obvious that large speaking events are not in the cards for a while, but I do recommend you catching his program once normality resumes, particularly if you are involved in education or have school-aged children. In the meantime, I see he has posted some advice for distance learning on his site that is worth a look.
Below is a fairly wide edit of some of my favorites from each of the events. Thanks for looking and stay healthy!