My “Together We Make Football Essay”

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With 29 minutes left before last night’s deadline, I finished and submitted my essay for Together We Make Football. Feel free to share and comment on it. It is also found in the TWMF website.

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When you see someone with autism, I bet you may see that person as a shy, geeky savant who is more into the sciences and mathematics than hanging out. You probably wouldn’t think twice about seeing the aspie as an avid football fan.

I’m autistic, shy, and nerdy alright…and I’m geeked about American football! It’s the only sport that I follow all year long and watch games. I tweet and post Facebook statuses on about football all the time. I watch many NFL documentaries, such as A Football Life and Super Bowl highlights, repeatedly without tiring myself out. I write about football, take pictures during football games, and play pick-up games. The game is my wife that never lets me down.

I’ve been a football fan all my life, and I thank my godbrother, uncle, and father for introducing me to football. My father always talked football around me. Though I didn’t get to see him as much during my childhood, football bridged the gap between us. My uncle showed me moves to shed blockers and get to the quarterback; he also took me to some of my junior varsity games. My godbrother is an avid fan of football. I used to come over his family’s house to watch Bears and Super Bowl games. We love to debate NFL topics like the greatest running back of all time, which is Walter Jerry “Sweetness” Payton (sorry Barry Sanders fans). In addition, I recalled pretending to be Neal Anderson when I was around five or six, carrying the football and wearing a miniature version of his uniform. And though I didn’t know how they really work until high school, I would emulate formations I saw from the Game Boy game, NFL Football, by putting small toy figures in their places on the floor.

Football is the best sport for me to play, watch, and get involved in. For starters, it’s an exciting game of explosive offenses, innovative strategies, hard hitting, and surprise endings. But that’s not the only reason why I like the game. It have taught me many life lessons, such as teamwork and rising up from adversity. It kept me fit for most of my teenage years; it opened doors for me in writing and event photography. I’ve wrote several feature stories on the Atlanta Falcons during the 2013 season. As a freelance photographer and fan photographer for FanPhotos, I followed the miraculous championship run that Auburn University had that year.

More importantly, football is my favorite sport because it helped me interact with peers and family members and it molded me from a shy kid into respectable man. As mentioned earlier, I have high-functioning autism. I excelled academically throughout my schooling and I lived independently for most of my adult life. In fact, I have just received my MFA from SCAD-Atlanta in this March, and I recently turned 27 in October. However, I have difficulties interacting with people. For instance, I struggle with maintaining friendships or making friends because of my narrow interests and inability to read complex emotions. I’m also sensitive to bright lights and popping noises.

I was a quiet, aloof kid at first. It didn’t stop me from participating in social activities or doing the things I wanted to do as a child. Though I’ve been a sports nut since childhood, starting with basketball, it was football that gave me the most joy. I played kill-the-man on school grounds during recess and impromptu games of football in the backyard after school. I also enjoyed games of flag football and knee football while attending an after-school program at Foster Park. Sports, especially football, were the first activities where I felt like I was just one of the guys instead of an oddball. I can just run around, catch, throw, hit, and be myself on the field. Peers didn’t seem to mind picking me to be on the team. And even when I was just watching or talking about football, I wasn’t greeted with strange looks. I was always welcomed to join in on football conversations, whether it was with my peers or coach Ron Crenshaw, one of my first coaches.
The game of football had the most impact on my life during my high school years. I tried out for the freshman football team when I first entered Hyde Park Academy in summer 2002. I was picked on a lot by the varsity squad, because of my squeaky voice, my tendency to stay to myself, and my inexperience in playing organized ball. But I eventually gained respect of my teammates once I developed a knack for blowing past offensive lines and going after quarterbacks. I played two years with the JV team, as a defense end. By the time I was promoted to varsity, I’ve already made some good friends on the team and gained the respect of coaches. I played in significant amount of games during my junior year. When I was a senior, I was given more responsibilities. By the end of the 2005 season, I started most of the games as a defensive tackle and played on special teams as well. I was also becoming a fan favorite and one of the most academically sound players on the team. Overall, football transformed me into a more confident person who can be depended on, and thanks to the sport, I have learned how to interact with more people.

I don’t know what my love of football would take me next. It may open doors to inspire autistic athletes to try their hands in college and professional football. Alternatively, that passion may lead to me debating football on “First Take” or “Numbers Never Lie“.

Nevertheless, I’m glad to have football as my buffer to the social world.

Pharaoh G. Photography, Now in Business! (via Pharaoh G. Photography)

PGP Logo

Ladies and gentleman, my Canon Rebel and I are now ready to generate smiles and memories….plus a little revenue. Hehehehh.

Now that I’m going to be in a more stable situation for at least a year, I’m open to anyone who’s looking for a photographer to shoot on-site portraits and events. My photography is all about helping people capture memories and moments from events that cannot be replicated. I’m not looking for an high-end artistic value in my work, but I do want my pictures to tell stories about particular events I cover.

From now until summer 2015, I will be doing most of my work in the Chicagoland area, though I would also be willing take pictures at events in Atlanta, Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Detroit, and New York City. I will explore more places once I expand my business and recieve more clientele. Additionally, I will more than willing to volunteer for comic/anime conventions as a photographer, though in the future I will consider setting up a photo booth at certain cons.

I look forward to see some of you all at events throughout the areas I’m mentioned, and more importantly, I look forward to do an effective job at creating lasting memories at events through my lens.

Be on the lookout for weekly blog posts on the Pharaoh G. Photography site. I may be posting business updates from time to time, photography tips, and links to current events that I covered.

Updates

 

Good evening everyone! I hope your summer is going well so far.

I have a few announcements to make, related to my endeavors:

  • I’m currently working on creating a new website for my photography. I’m looking to promote my event photography business more and start doing more paid work. I will still do free work for anime/comic conventions and non-profit organizations. It will be up by early August.
  • I’m working on my upcoming book and I’ve writing parts of my introduction since last Thursday. More details will be posted soon.
  • I will still write for Football.com this season, but since I moved back to Chicago and I’m figuring out which certificate program I will attend in the fall, I don’t know if I would continue to write about the Atlanta Falcons or write more about the Chicago Bears. I will make that decision by August, when I figure out if I’ll move back to Atlanta for a year or stay in Chicago in a year. I must write about the local team that I can have unlimited access too…and I got to have access to one of the teams’ preseason & regular season games. It’s just hard to
  • I may or may not attend the 20th anniversary of Anime Weekend Atlanta. I have to figure out my school, monetary, and transportation situation first. But I would really like to take pictures of the 20th AWA and volunteer for them again. I’m also looking to go outside my comfort zone and try to attend an anime/comic convention outside of the Atlanta cons. I’m shooting for Youmacon in late October.

Otherwise, that is all I have for now. Enjoy your evening and be on the look out for more posts. I have plenty to say, especially after I returned home to Chicago. :)

MomoCon 2014 Review

My two cents on Momocon 2014 pros and suggested improvements, with brief shout-out to two newly weds.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the rights to the MLP logo, Heaven’s Lost Property logo, and Flii Stylz & Tenashus’ “Break It On Down”

SN: Sorry if most of my face is dark

Sending Danielle off to Lacoste

Happy Monday everyone!!

I’m glad that some of my fellow SCADdies are either graduating this year or next year; we’re so talented that I’m sure we’ll change the world with our art forms.

One of our future starts and my fellow photographer, Danielle Gardner, is going to study abroad in Lacoste this summer. I already know she’s going to be picture happy, taking a lot of pics of the French scenery.

But on a serious note, studying at Lacoste will be a great way for her to enjoy her summer while preparing to come back home to finish her time at SCAD. She’s a very talented with fashion photography and I hope she’ll get a taste of such photography in France.

However, Danielle is need of some financial help. She has scholarships and grants to cover some of her costs, but she still needs to raise $5,000 by June 2nd. If you have anything to give in any amount, then click on the widget below and find out how you can contribute to Dani’s Lacoste fund. And if even if you don’t have any contributions to give, she would still appreciate it if you spread the word to friends, networks, businesses, churches, family, etc., by sharing the link.

Thank you all so much for your help and generosity.

Check out her works on the follow links:

Danielle Gardner Photography

Web – www.daniellegardnerphoto.com   

Blog – www.daniellegardnerphoto.com/blog

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Artists, Get Paid for Your Work

Silvered Orange

Silvered Orange (Photo credit: cobalt123)

 

Good afternoon everyone!!

Today, I read through comments from the SCAD-Atlanta Facebook group, and I came across a video/blog post that a fellow student posted. It contains a video where character designer and teacher Stephen Silver speaks out against companies who don’t pay artists to come up with art or concepts for their products.

As a freelance writer, event photographer, and a lover of the arts & entertainment world, his message hits home to me because I’m also a starving artist trying to make a name for myself. I’ve seen plenty of opportunities where companies would allow you produce work for them, but only as an “internship” or no compensation. However, they promise you that the job can help you get exposure.

That is called cheap labor, a.k.a. slavery. Sorry, I don’t like cheap labor. I do free work because of causes and topics that I support, up and coming artists that I want to help succeed, and personal favors. But even then, I’ll get something in return, like a gig or reference. I also write for free because I want to promote MY artwork under MY rules, preparing myself for bigger and paid opportunities.

If you do want to work for free, do it for a right cause or at least find free work that can benefit you. But don’t fall under the trap of making content for companies who refuse to compensate you for your work and don’t care about what you create.

The video also taught me another thing: the importance of entrepreneurship. Sure, I can try to land jobs where I write and take pictures for a living. But is that all I want? What if I don’t get that dream job, and how else can I spread my love for media while getting paid? I starting to understand friends’ advice on offering event photography services for certain rates. Besides, in this world, you’ll gain more recognition once you do more paid work (especially if it’s freelance work).

I leave you with Silver’s spiel on providing paid services v.s. working for cheap labor. Otherwise, enjoy your day and let’s break the starving artist myth.

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Welcoming our 2013 #AuburnTigers #Football Team home (1-7-2014)




Via Flickr:
Proud Auburn fans, despite the freezing temperatures, thanking the team for a remarkable seasons. The sky is the limit next year! #WDE

Photos can also be found on Timotheus “Pharaoh” Gordon FB like page: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.588682301187177.1073741…