A Manifesto — we can’t go on like this

It took me about a week at my first job to make me conclude that there was something wrong with the way people worked. It was 1992 and I’d just graduated from college, where I’d had freedom and flexibility — in retrospect, an arts degree at Cambridge University is a great example of a progressive and nurturing working environment (without the pay).

You have deliverables — an essay a week — but nobody cares how, where or when you did the work, so long as you handed in your essay the night before the supervision with your teacher. We were trusted to work, and encouraged do other things we’d enjoy — play a sport, act in a play, write for the university newspaper. That was part of being well-rounded — making us happy and better able to do the work. There was also a pastoral care component, where regular meeting to check in with us and see how things were going in a holistic way (not just talking about grades).

So I’d worked hard and got a good degree, but now I was out in the real world. I got a job at a communications company producing newspapers and publications for government departments and large organizations — this was in the days before the internet, so we wrote and printed a tabloid-sized monthly newspaper for London’s water company (now it would be content marketing and social media).

It was a good job for a fledgling writer, but it was 9–5, Monday to Friday, with a 30–40 minute commute at either end of the day. From the beginning, there were problems. I couldn’t be productive for that many hours straight (who can?), and I couldn’t understand why the shops were even open, since everyone with any money was stuck in their jobs the whole time. I also hated the structure, the crushing sense of inevitability that I knew where I’d be every day for the foreseeable future.

It was a huge step back from the freedom and flexibility of Cambridge — it felt like being back at a really bad high school. I got my head down and did the work, but all the time I was thinking, ‘this is what grown-ups are supposed to do for 40 years?

I lasted around a year before running off to Dublin to do a Masters degree.

There has to be a better way

Fast forward to the present day. I’m 43, living in the Southwest of the U.S. with my wife and daughter. Over the years, I’ve worked in a range of jobs, from fast-paced Silicon Valley tech companies, to researching and writing my own book; from working on communications for non-profits to running my own web design and content firm.

Through it all, that sense continued that there had to be a better way to work than the industrial-era model of clocking in and out, showing up to an office and playing the role of the obedient employee. And I’m not alone: for a lot of people, it’s not the work itself, but the daily grind of meetings, presenteeism, minimal vacation time (I’m looking at you, America), commutes, and inflexible arrangements that grinds us down. The average worker puts in too many hours, is disengaged and unhealthy.

But the good news is that an increasing amount of research and the examples of progressive organizations are showing that there is a better way — approaches that are more productive, make employees healthier and happier, and are more environmentally sound. As William Gibson says, the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed — there’s a huge gap between what we know works and what most organizations are still doing. And in this gap millions of people are toiling away unnecessarily when they could be following a much richer path.

I call this better way Future Work, and this blog is the Future Work Report. I gather research, interviews, news and thoughts from progressive people all over the world, combined with my own insights and experiences, to help us all move towards future work.

The benefit of small benefits, or why Evernote employees get their houses cleaned

When I was working in the Silicon Valley in 1999, amidst all the stress and long hours of my job, I vividly remember the anticipation of walking into the break room on Fridays, excited at the thought of the bagels and pastries they provided for us.

We lingered a little in getting our coffee, and it seemed like a kind gesture and a way of marking the start of the weekend.

My then employers are far from alone in this — Evernote employees get their house cleaned, Google’s offerings are famous, including on-site massage, haircuts, and concierge service, while other offerings include fresh fruit and veg deliveries, unlimited Kindle downloads or Starbucks cards. But why are small tokens of appreciation so popular among more progressive organizations, and why do they work?

Such benefits perform several functions: from a purely practical results-based perspective there are some obvious pluses:

  • they can make a company stand out to potential employees
  • they can lead to greater productivity, fewer sick days and improved retention
  • they help keep people working longer (you don’t have to nip out for a haircut at lunchtime if you can use the Google salon),

That might be enough for some organizations, but in the right hands, they also sends a much more profound message that the staff are cared for — they’re not just thought of as producers of whatever widget the company trades in.

Some of the benefits look at health issues, and we know the toll work can take on our bodies. Others, like the house cleaning and concierge services, overcome one of the major issues that face employees — the challenge of balancing the everyday chores and errands with work commitments. Old-school employers might let you have time off for a doctor’s appointment, but expect you to do all the other stuff (house cleaning, shopping . . . ) at the weekends.

Callum Negus Fancey from Let’s Go Crazy Holdings (owners of several growing companies) has a good interview here discussing the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) he employs with his firms. In it he discusses how he’s trying to reduce the ‘friction’ his employees experience as a result of their work — it might be that they don’t go to the gym as much as they want to, or that they would like to spend more time with their family. To attract and keep the best people, and keep them motivated and creative, he sees it as the company’s role to help minimise that friction.

To me, that’s a great way of looking at it, and it acknowledges that people have a life outside of the office and tries to help smooth annoyances out before they become reasons for resentment.

Candy for Doctors

Employers could simply add a little more to the wages of its staff to cover many of these benefits, which would allow people to choose exactly what to spend it on (new bike instead of running shoes, espresso machine instead of Starbucks card). I could definitely afford to stop and pick up a bagel on my way to work on those Fridays in Redwood City, and as a proportion of my entire benefits package, one bagel a week was almost not worth counting. So why break out all the perks individually?

Happiness research has the answer. Harvard researcher Sean Achor points to experiments where patients gave doctors some candy at the beginning of their consultation. The happiness boost from getting a small free gift improved the doctors’ diagnostic ability markedly.

This from a one-off gift of something that cost pennies. Imagine the ongoing attitude benefits of these regular kindnesses. As Achor says, “Data abounds showing that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, produce higher sales, perform better in leadership positions, and receive higher performance ratings and higher pay. They also enjoy more job security and are less likely to take sick days, to quit, or to become burned out.”

Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, (talking to Business Insider) agrees: “Happy workers make better products . . . The output we care about has everything to do with your state of mind.”

Not Just for Tech firms

Many of these examples are from tech firms or agencies who clearly have the money to spend on perks like this. But it can be even more important to make this kind of effort when you’re a smaller organisation.

I did contract web content work for a small non-profit for many years. The staff were overworked and underpaid, but every time I’d go up for a meeting, the conference room table was groaning with pastries and nice treats. If baked goods could talk, they’d say, “I know we can’t pay you lovely people what you’re worth, but we do appreciate your efforts.”

The other thing the non-profit did was give five weeks’ paid holiday — again, something that was easier to offer than more expensive benefits, but definitely an important sign of appreciation.

Small inexpensive benefits, like letting people work from home some of the time, bring their dogs to the office, or closing at lunchtime the Friday before a public holiday are good options when you don’t have a lot of money.

So whatever your situation, look for small ways you can ease some of your employees’ friction to make them happier and improve their performance.

I Believe

How the US Soccer team made me love my adopted country

To get to the fields where I coach my daughter’s soccer team you drive to the edge of town and pull into a disused horse-racing track. Go past the collapsing ticket booth and park in the dirt lot, before walking through a tunnel that goes under the track and emerge on the infield, in the shadow of an abandoned grandstand.

Because this is New Mexico, the little grass we do have is in poor shape — some of the time it looks like so much dry breakfast cereal — but they do the best they can, and they’re among the best fields in town. And on Saturday mornings the infield is full of kids from the ages of four to twelve, all playing soccer while the wind whips across the high desert.

I grew up in England and as my daughter has become a football fan and player, I’ve taught her the lore and practices of football where I’m from (you’ll forgive me for calling it football from here on out, although I’ll confess that I’m becoming increasingly comfortable with ’soccer’).

She and I watch my London club Arsenal on TV on Saturday mornings before we head out to her games, and she know much more about the European leagues than she does about Major League soccer here.

Many of coaches in the league she plays in are ex-pats — there’s a Frenchman, a Romanian, another couple of English guys and some Mexicans, the full-time coaches for the club are from Spain and Russia. There’s a clear division between the Euro parents on the touchline who know what they’re looking at, and the majority of the US-born parents who encouragingly shout terrible advice: ‘Shoot it in, Sarah!’ as Sarah crosses the half-way line.

Some of the players have overseas connections, but most don’t and at times it feels like we’re coaching these kids in a foreign game — that the best athletes, at least among the boys, will age out of football and into one of the more mainstream US sports.

But my feeling that the US isn’t a football country has been changed by this World Cup, and with it, my feelings about American itself.

Like most Europeans and Latin Americans, I’ve historically taken a dim view of the quality of the football on display in Major League Soccer, and the quality of the support, seeing it as a sign that the country didn’t really get football.

We went to an LA Galaxy match last year, and it was all a bit too clean and stage-managed with designated singing zones, and pre-determined things to shout at particular times in the game. It felt forced, a clumsy combination of bits from other countries’ football cultures, with customs from other US sports thrown in for good measure.

There was no clear sense of what US soccer should be like — either in the stands, or on the pitch, where highly-paid ageing Europeans mixed with Mexican immigrants’ kids and Midwestern farm boys in a game that never really got going.

Like the Galaxy (and the girls under-12 team I coach), the US national team is also a mixture of backgrounds and cultures: combination of US-born players, German-born guys with US fathers, and a couple with Scandinavian connections. Many of the US-born players have at least one parent from somewhere else, and while star Clint Dempsey was raised in Texas with American parents, he learned to play with the local Mexican kids.

Crucially, the coach Jurgen Klinsmann, while being a German World Cup hero as a player and coach is also immigrant himself, with an American wife and US-raised son.

When done wrong, like the managed clash of supporting styles at the LA Galaxy, this global mixture can just be a mess that’s all too easy to ridicule. But I’m coming to realize, when done right, as Klinsmann has managed, this vibrant multiculturalism is what the US — a nation of immigrants — is all about.

Take a bunch of elements, combine them together with uniquely American commitment and enthusiasm. and you haven’t just got a mixture, you’ve got a compound — something more than the sum of its parts.

Anne Coulter might not like it, but could there be a more American team than one with half its players (or their parents) born somewhere else? This is what America looks like, and it’s what it looks like out on the fields when my daughter plays — it’s somehow right that it’s what America looks like at the World Cup.

But other countries have an easier time with their national identity, and their footballing identity. Brazilians know what Brazilian football looks like — skillful, flamboyant and imaginative; German football is athletic, well-organized and disciplined; Spanish, technically brilliant, collaborative and creative.

Players coming up through the ranks in these countries know what they’re aiming for. But the challenge and achievement for Klinsmann has been to create from a range of disparate parts something that is both uniquely American and successful.

This US team has the heart and self-belief and selflessness of the best of American competition — the Friday Night Lights ‘Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose’ attitude — combined with a style of play that is well-organized (if a bit individually erratic) at the back, hard-charging in defensive midfield and fast and skillful in attack. If this is what US football looks like, then I love it.

And I’m not the only one — the US team has had success in World Cups before, but almost no-one in America noticed. This is the fourth World Cup I’ve spent here and the first I haven’t felt alone in my passion. As the country embraces a genuinely global game, there are two huge benefits.

One is a realization that there’s whole world out there of talented sportspeople playing a game that is more nuanced and beautiful than most American sports. The other is that when it comes to football, the US is an underdog — well-resourced and with great facilities, no doubt — but still an underdog. And it’s a lot easier to support a humble underdog that gives everything it’s got and wins against the bigger teams. Even the English pundits I’ve been following have got behind the US, reflecting wistfully that Klinsmann’s team is showing more heart and ability than Roy Hodgson’s subdued lot.

Something is definitely changing here. I can see a line from the field my daughter plays on, through the semi-pro teams that are forming, through the colleges and the MLS to the heaving World Cup stadia. And I see the thousands of US fans who travelled to Brazil, and the thousands more gathering in parks and at other screenings all over the country. And they’re like me and my family and the teams I coach — some solidly all-American, some with family ties elsewhere, but now all united in support of this great team and their achievements.

This is what American can be — positive, welcoming, flexible, hard-working and generous of spirit. And that’s why for the first time in watching the US compete at anything, I’ve been saying ‘we’ and ‘us’ to describe the team, and for the first time I’m come to the shocking conclusion that when it comes to soccer, I’m proud to be an American.

Closed for Business

Big news — I’m closing Moore Story, and its sister company Moore Consulting to take up a new role handling communications for non-profit research organization Architecture 2030, which works to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions for which the building sector is responsible.

I’ve enjoyed helping all my clients over the years, but it’s time to move on and try something different.

(If you’re an existing client in need of some help with your site, I’ll still be available for emergencies and advice — the email address still works).

How a micro-budget video series caught the mood of an international event — part 2

In part 1 we looked at the requirements and constraints for the creation of video pieces for the non-profit International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, as well as how two of them came together.

In this final part, we’ll look at the making of the final three, explore their impact, and look at some lessons everyone can apply to creating low budget video pieces with impact

3) Dubreus Lherisson, Haiti

With Dubreus we faced the toughest technical challenges. Internet connectivity is patchy in Dubreus’ town in Haiti, and while he had an email address, he couldn’t check it regularly and the language barrier made communication hard. So a Skype video chat was out, and even getting hold of him on the phone was tricky. Eventually, Marie St Comé, a Haitian woman who lives in Santa Fe and has worked with many of the Haitian artists at the Market came to our rescue. She tracked Dubreus down through her network of connections in the country, and came into my office where we could record our phone conversation with him (with Marie doing most of the talking — in Creole). Then she reviewed the recording, picking out the most telling quotes for direct translation, and paraphrasing the rest for me to use as background for my voiceover script. Without her, the video wouldn’t have been possible.

With this material, and other content and picture research, I could write the script for the piece, including some of Dubreus’ direct quotes from the recording. Since we had no video and Dubreus was a first- time artist, tracking down enough photographs that we could use with permission but without paying a licensing fee was particularly tricky (once artists have been to Santa Fe once, we normally have lots of good images of them and their work).

4) Blaise Cayol, France

If Dubreus’ was the most challenging video to put together, the next one was perhaps the easiest. Blaise Cayol, the master basket maker from the south of France speaks good English, and has a computer with a fast internet connection (in his great cottage that looked good on the Skype session). As I’d done with al lthe other artists, I drafted some questions in advance to give Blaise the chance to prepare, so when we recorded the interview, all went well (even when one of his daughters came into the room to see who he was talking to in English). It was a pleasure to talk to him, and his answers were so good that it seemed to me we didn’t need a voiceover to explain anything in his video.

It’s my preference to let the artists speak for themselves as much as possible, and this time we had the luxury of being able to do that. I still wrote a script (from his words) so a I knew how I wanted to edit and rearrange his answers, but building the piece went well, with the images that Blaise supplied combining with some background images of his area that helped put them in context.

5) La Mega Cooperativa de Saraguros, Ecuador

When you have limited budget and time, sometimes a volunteer can be a savior. Cailyn Kilcup is an American who works in Ecuador with the women of La Mega Cooperativa — artisans who create amazing beadwork pieces. She videoed an interview with Flor Maria Cartuche Andrade, President of La Mega Cooperativa de Los Saraguros, asking her to explain the impact of the co-op’s association with the Market. She then sent me the video file, photographs and a translation. I edited the tape and built the package, but again it would have been impossible without Megan’s help.

Impact of the videos

Everyone loved the videos — Market employees showed them at fundraising events, and showed some of them to Board members. They made people cry — which is about the best reaction you could look for. If people made rational decisions on who they volunteered for or donated money to, you’d have to make a rational case with charts and tables. But most often they don’t, so telling an authentic story that moves people is crucial.

The videos appeared on the Market’s blog — highlighted on the homepage — and were also featured in the Market’s social media efforts. The blog received nearly 7000 page views in the months leading up to the Market in July, and the videos were also highlighted in the printed guide to the Market and on posters during the event itself.

The artists featured in the videos enjoyed good sales at the Market, with Blaise Cayol selling out with a day of the Market still to go.

Lessons learned

Video takes more time than you think — even with our bare bones approach, researching, recording, writing, sourcing pictures and then building the pieces took longer than the 6 hours each we’d budgeted. I’d say 8 hours allowing for revisions and uploading is still a cracking pace, but a bit more realistic for the quality of pieces we produced.

Good audio is more important than good video — with none of the interviews recorded under ideal circumstances (a high-quality camera and microphone set up in person with someone who knows what they’re doing) we had to wrestle with varying quality video and audio quality (and sometimes no video at all). It seems counterintuitive but it was easier to work around poor or no video than work with poor quality audio — especially if one key aim is to have the artists speak for themselves. We had strong photographs and some b-roll video, but nothing gives a worse impression than dodgy audio. (If anyone has suggestions for recording high quality audio over the internet, please let me know.)

The story is the most important thing — despite all the constraints, the key thing we had in our favour was that we were telling good stories that had real impact. These are people from all around the world devoted to their craft, their traditions and their communities, who could talk about what they do with passion. I’d rather have to talk to someone like that down a dodgy phone line to Haiti than shoot a big-budget interview in a high-end studio with someone who’s got nothing real to say. I think we did a good job of putting these pieces together, but a lot of it was just to get out of the way and let the artists speak.

Just do it — it’s not that hard to create pieces like this, and they can have a real impact. I’d love the time to visit these people in their environments, learn more about them and put together much richer and more slick documentaries. But that wasn’t an option, and I’m proud of what we could do with the very limited resources we had.

By David Moore on August 29, 2013.

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Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

How a micro-budget video series caught the mood of an international non-profit event — part 1

The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe is a non-profit with a flagship event of an amazing market which sees 20,000 people come to buy the work of 150 folk artists from around the world. The revenue raised by the artists (who often work in co-operatives) helps to preserve folk art traditions and strengthen and support communities in places as diverse as Ecuador and Mozambique, Uzbekistan and Timor Leste.

I’ve worked with the Market on website and content projects for years, and for the tenth anniversary market this year, I suggested we produce a video series about some of the artists, looking at the impact of the Market or introducing artists that were new this year. We wanted to stress the personal success stories that underpin the Market but that can sometimes get lost in the scale of the event. Visitors get the chance to meet and interact with the artists, and take home an object created by hand with skill and passion, while the artists take home money they earned from sales to individual people.

The budget was extremely tight — I could only spend five or six hours on each of the five videos we planned — and the technical constraints were also daunting: we couldn’t go and shoot interviews with the artists. In two of the cases, however, we could source amateur video that Market employees or supporters had shot when they were in-country (those for the SEWA co-operative in India, and La Mega Cooperativa de de Saraguros in Ecuador). That left a co-op in Pakistan, a vodou flag maker in Haiti and a master basket weaver in the south of France with no video footage. I proposed using Skype to record video sessions, supplementing all the videos with lots of still photography.

Language issues were another constraint. Fortuantely the Indian and Pakistani representatives of the co-operatives spoke good English, as did Blaise the French basket maker, and we could find volunteer translators for Haiti and Ecuador. (One of the amazing things about the Market, and why Santa Fe is such a perfect place for it, is that it’s somehow not surprising that there’s a creole speaker in town who wants to help.)

The schedule called for one video a month from March up to the Market in July.

1) Lila Handicrafts

The first video I made featured the Lila Handicrafts cooperative in Pakistan. We arranged the Skype video chat with Surendar Valasai from the co-op and while the quality of the footage wasn’t great, Surendar gave us some great insight the effect the Market had had on the co-op and more broadly on the lives of women and girls in the Sindh province.

In the interests of keeping to the budget, I edited the piece down quickly using Surendar’s quotes only, and while this version was OK, but didn’t really tell as compelling a story as it could have. We decided a voiceover script could give a concise background to the story, with the best of Surendar’s quotes giving us the immediacy we wanted. Surendar’s bare-looking office in the video was a little distracting, so we supplemented the images of the great quilts made by the co-op with Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr — often from other non-profits and aid agencies.

The revised version was much stronger, and even we went over budget (I did the second edit for free), we had a template for how the others should work.

2) SEWA

The second video was built using footage that a Market employee had shot while on a visit to the co-operative in India. She’d interviewed Rena Nanavaty from SEWA in a dark and noisy hotel lobby using a consumer video camera and no external microphone. The answers were great, but the video quality was just about OK, and the sound quality dreadful.

Final Cut Pro X tidied up the audio to an acceptable level, but again we scripted a voiceover to tell most of the story, using Rena’s quotes to add color and show the real people involved. We also sourced a range of images, and (as we’d done with Surendar) added subtitles to make sure Rena’s excellent but heavily accented English was clear for everyone. The edit was quicker this time (although finding appropriate royalty-free music always takes a lot longer than you expect) and we were very happy with the result:

> Join us next week for Part 2 of this piece, where we track down a Haitian artist on his cell phone in a cafe, and look at the lessons we’ve learned from doing these micro-budget high-impact pieces

Today I got punched in the face by a mad man

And I feel great. A crazy man crashed his truck outside our office and then came at me and my wife when we innocently headed out to the street when we heard the crash.

He was shouting that we was going to kill us while we were backing up along the breezeway past our office, my wife and I with our palms raised in that classic ‘calm down, everything’s OK’ gesture. Our dog — locked inside — was barking in a way she never had before. The man kept coming as I tried to keep in front of my wife, and then he took a swing at me.

He glancingly connected with the left side of my face, leaving a shallow cut on my chin but no other damage to speak of. Behind me, my wife ducked into one of the other offices and they quick-wittedly locked the door behind her before calling the cops. While the crazy man was bellowing at the door, I found myself running out into the parking lot and safety.

The man went back to his truck and got into it with other passers-by who put him to the ground until the police arrived. I gave a statement, still shaken but basically OK.

As the day went on and the adrenaline faded I felt both very tired and strangely happy.

It could have been a lot worse — he could have had a gun, or a wrench, or been a better aim or a bigger guy — but today, for me, nothing worse happened.

I had a brush with the random dangerous side of life that’s always there, but that most of us aren’t exposed to every day because of the things we build and do to shield us from it. And I’m all for that — on another occasion, I might not have been so lucky, and I’m not about to start pursuing extreme sports to repeat the risk.

Instead I came home to the same peaceful house I left this morning, and loved it and the people and pets in it so much more. My life feels suddenly incredibly privileged and full of potential. The ‘scary’ pitching I’m planning to do this week to local non-profits and foundations doesn’t seem so terrifying when I’ve just had an angry unstable man come after me and hit me, and I’ve lived to tell the tale.

So hold your loved ones close, and don’t worry about all the stuff that normally preoccupies you, because for almost all of you reading this, right now, things are fine.

New Site for Guest Curator

As part of our ongoing relationship with design firm Firestik Studio, we’re happy to announce the launch of another joint project with them — the Guest Curator website.

GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions was founded in 2001 and operates as an independent representative and coordinator for traveling exhibits originated by museums, organizations and individuals, and they’ve worked with Firestik on their offline branding and design needs.

When it came time for a new website, Firestik developed the plan and the site’s look and feel, and called me in to make it happen. Given the visually rich nature of the exhibitions Guest Curator represents, the site had lots of slideshows and pop-up images that had to be handled correctly, and each exhibition also had different blocks of text content — including a main description, dates of current shows and a box of practical details about the exhibit.

This is where working with someone else’s design can really challenge you as a developer. Since I know what’s easier to build, I’ll naturally tend towards those solutions when I’m working on a design. But trying to remain faithful to a design that works for users but it is more difficult to implement forces you to come up with new ways to solve problems.

So the front page slideshow that includes text descriptions of 3 exhibitions at once is definitely a one-off solution, as are the custom fields that allow Guest Curator to keep the different types of information about each show separate for the front-end (as well as in the admin panel).

Even the buttons and colors on the lightbox-style overlay for the larger images in a gallery are custom — and I’m glad I could implement Firestik’s vision for the site.

When it was all done, I trained Cynthia from Guest Curator in how to keep the site up to date (it might not look it, but it’s running WordPress underneath all the custom design and functionality), and they’re very happy with the way it came out. As am I.

By David Moore on June 7, 2013.

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Exported from Medium on October 17, 2020.

Revision of International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe site

We’re happy to announce the successful completion of a cosmetic redesign of the site for the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe, in preparation for this year’s 10th Anniversary Market in July.

Last year, we moved the site from an older content management system to WordPress, knowing that a rebranding was going to take place this year. As we mentioned at the time, we built the site with this in mind, and so the design work we’ve just completed was not a huge undertaking.

Based on the new identity and branding created by design firm VWK, we’ve updated the site’s color palette, logos and typography to match the guidelines, working with VWK to make sure the site is consistent with the rest of the Market’s output.

For 2013, there’s also a new electronic press kit — a separately-designed subsite just for the media. Again, we worked with VWK on this — they designed the new look, and we implemented it.

The work was completed with limited disruption to the site, and we’ve also added this year’s new artists to the Profiles section.

See you at the Market!

January update — published, published and published

Time for a quick update on what’s been happening at Moore Consulting Towers recently.

It’s partly been the usual unusual mixture of writing, web work and photography — new sites are underway for a graphic design firm I’ve done a lot of work with, and a homeowners’ association where I’m doing some photography as well as the web development.

But I’ve also been lucky enough to have a couple of photographs published recently, one of which shows how good photography can get you better press coverage.

Front Page for the Folk Art Market

The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (for whom I do lots of work) were holding a fund-raising event to announce the public element of their campaign to raise $6 million, and they asked me to photograph the event. Specifically, Clare Hertel from Clare Hertel Communications — the PR firm that also works with the Market — was keen to have a photograph of co-chair of the campaign Leigh Ann Brown addressing the audience.

I got that shot and a range of others that were used in the Market’s own social media coverage of the event — and Clare did her great work in securing coverage of the event and campaign in the local press.

A couple of days after the event, Journal Santa Fe ran the story (and my photograph of Leigh Ann) on the front page. When you’re approaching the press with a story, being able to offer quality photographs to them really improves your chances of making it into the paper — especially in a prominent position.

Cross-Country Skiing in New Mexico Magazine

Another of my images was published in the December issue of New Mexico Magazine.

A couple of years ago, I’d been asked to shoot and write a story for the magazine on what to do in ski town if you don’t downhill ski — a very nice commission.

But between the story being filed in March and the winter season rolling around later that year, the editor at the magazine had changed, and they didn’t end up using the full article.

The images were kept on file, though, and one appeared as an accompaniment to a new Red River article last month.

It’s nice to see the photography work being thought of as good enough to stand on its own — and be used large on the page — even when it was originally commissioned together with some writing.

Annual New Mexico Vacation Guide

One of my images also made its way into the 2013 New Mexico Vacation Guide, published by the New Mexico state Department of Tourism and New Mexico Magazine. The magazine had put out a call to regular contributors (including me) for photographs that covered the full range of activities and regions across the state. While not primarily a landscape photographer, I reviewed my archives and identified some that matched their requirements.

So page 93 includes a 2-column shot from an autumnal day on the Rio Grande at Embudo.

That’s it for now — back to work for me. Hope you’re doing well.