Closing Statement…

So yesterday I got to give a lecture about my work and the use of conceptual photography. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve done any lecturing and I’d like to thank everybody very much who attended.

I’ve had a few messages on Facebook today regarding my closing statement. As requested here it is – it won’t be word for word as I didn’t use the notes but you’ll get the gist of it…


You’re heading into one of the most challenging and competitive industries in the world. Yet, I can stand here in front of you and promise it can also be one of the most rewarding.

To wake up on a Monday morning looking forward to work is a blessing. In fact there’s few things better.

However, the harsh truth is – most of you sat in this hall now, won’t make it. The ones that do won’t be the ones who are the most technically gifted – the ones who make it will be the ones who can be consistently creative in the face of adversity.

In this field creativity is your number 1 objective and number 1 desire – It is the only thing that will stand you apart from others. The only thing that will get peoples attention so you can scream at them “here I fucking am!”

Having said that, being and remaining creative will be your greatest challenge. You have to live to be creative. That starts now – you need to realise that life doesn’t begin or end at University it is simply part of your journey.

You need to start living now! As in today! Go out, smile, laugh, dance, fool around, fall in love and never be afraid to offend.

Be wild and have fun, embrace the world, because then the emotion and creativity will be overwhelming. Always remember (and this should be your mantra); drink, play, dance, dream, hope and be happy. Look back on your dreams as accomplishments. Take pleasure in every single thing you do throughout your life. Then and only then will you have the ability to be truly creative – and in that moment your work will reach its pinnacle. You see it’s a simple rule – without living your life you can not be creative and without being creative you will not succeed at this profession!

Ignore the critics – good or bad – their opinion just doesn’t count! If they call you or your work “morally repugnant” stand up and scream at them “Fuck your morals! I have my own”

I always speak about your personal dreams. I stand here today, absolute, living proof that the only difference between your dreams and accomplishments is purely desire.

Thanks for listening – now go out and fucking live!


12 thoughts on “Closing Statement…

  1. Thanks for putting this up. I was there yesterday and it was the best lecture I’ve ever been too! Please come back soon. Sarah.

  2. Brilliant! The look the teacher gave you when you told him he was irrelevant was awesome. Round of applause from brother.

  3. Carl, this is so very true and a very important lesson for students to understand and appreciate. Too many photographers looking to work within the creative realm who are far too concerned with equipment, f stops and apertures etc. Whilst of course it is important to understand these variables “living” and being creative far outweighs it.

    On a personal note I’m very happy to hear that you are doing a little lecturing again. As you know I have been familiar with you and your work for a very long time now – you have an important story to tell and have always had a wonderful ability to motivate. Please keep it up.

    Hopefully we can catch up very soon xx

  4. Wow! There’s a name from the past! Great to hear from you Jenni.i hope you’re well. Drop me an email when you have a few moments xx….

    Thanks very much for all of the other comments too and for attending yesterday x

  5. soz but I fink ur shit neva got all da hype. my work much betta so aint listanin to ya. fuk of bac to london.

  6. Thank you for putting this up. Was an excellent lecture. I love your work and really hope you will return soon. Very inspirational. Thank you.

  7. best lecture ever! Cool ass work and cool ass chat! never seen a head of department put in his place so swiftly!

    “he says what he wants. he says what he wants…”

  8. Excellent closing statement but the opening was even better IMHO “This hall has never looked so fucking good” perfection.

  9. Late to the dance here but this lecture was fucking awesome! I can honestly say it’s changed my outlook. You see, I was one of the ones too caught up with the tech details – but what you say made absolute sense!

    I truly love your work and I can’t begin to explain how influential you have been.

    Please lecture more often – the stuff you say desperately needs to be heard!

    1. Nic, thank you for your message. Stick with it – always understand that creativity comes before everything else. It’s a brilliant industry if you can make it so never give up.

      Thanks for your kind words…
      As my hero, Woody in Toy Story once said: reach for the sky…


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