The following interview is part of a class assignment for Entrepreneurship and the Hero Adventure at SMU, Meadows School of the Arts. Each interview has been conducted and created by students for this course, which celebrates those heroes in our communities. Heroism, for the purpose of this course and assignment is described as:
- Service of something larger than oneself.
- A willingness to sacrifice in the name of service.
Author: SMU student Elizabeth Wheelis
1. What’s your job title? How long have been working this occupation?
Interview with: Will McPherson of Will McPherson Photography; I have owned the business for
about six years but didn’t do it full time until about two years ago. I am an
adventure, lifestyle, advertising photographer currently based in New
Mexico. I am a glorified baggage handler, accountant, marketer,
advertiser, and sometimes I take a few pictures.
2. Have you always wanted to do this job? If not, when did you
My passion for photography began when I was about 12 years old when I
started playing around with my Dad’s Minolta SLR 35mm. It was always
more of a hobby to me until about my sophomore year in college and then
I really began to pursue it as a possibly career avenue.
3. If you could describe your career in one word, what would it be?
4. Name someone who has helped mentor you along your career.
If no one, who is someone you’ve idolized from your career?
I’ve had numerous mentors and have been inspired by hundreds of other
photographers and artists. The creative process really thrives on viewing
others work and your unique experiences to help define you not only as a
person but also as an artist. Staying inspired, especially as an artist, is
key to your success.
5. Did you actively seek this career? Or did you come across it
through other experiences- if so what?
I actively sought after this career, but networking and other opportunities
have opened many doors to new experiences.
6. What is it about your career that you enjoy the most? The
I’ve worked a lot of different jobs in my life thus far. My favorite part about
my job is the creativity is possesses. I’m my own boss and I get to perform
a number of different jobs. As said in Question 2.) “I am a glorified
baggage handler, accountant, marketer, advertiser, and sometimes I take
a few pictures.” I like that fact that I’m my own boss and that I can accept
and turn down whatever jobs I want. I can get up in the morning and say
I’m going to go shoot skiing today. Although you are your own boss, it is
still your livelihood and you still have to get your work done. It’s the
hardest job I’ve ever had but one that comes with the most benefits. My
main goal for my professional life is to continue to be my own boss.
7. What personal characteristics do you bring to your job?
Creativity and professionalism are the most important characteristics.
Without these in the art field you won’t go to far.
8. What is the biggest risk you have taken in creating your career?
It seems to me the biggest risks in starting your own business always
comes down to money. I hate that. I hate that we are defined, a lot, by
money. But in the end, you have to put your basic needs on the table for
you and your family, and if you can’t do that then you will have to find
something else eventually. Taking that risk to live your dream job is the
most rewarding thing you will ever do.
9. Have you ever doubted your career decision? If so, why?
Everyone has doubts and you can turn around at any time and go back to
working for someone else. I hope I never have to. It’s part of your human
need to be successful, and that is one of the hardest parts in art… It feasts
off of famine. One month you will get a lot of business and be really
successful and the next month you can get nothing. Keeping a positive
attitude, trying new things, and exploring different methods will help you
thrive. Also, budget wisely.
10. What three pieces of advice would you give to young art
entrepreneurs who are entering the market, following
Find what you love to do, think of a way to make yourself unique, and
never stop until you make it happen. Even if you have to work three jobs
to support your efforts do it. Eventually it will pay off. And if not, you’ve
worked a lifetime producing art that you love. Adventure Never Ceases.