This past weekend under the Banyan Tree, a freshly minted college grad stopped by my booth. Chris, it turns out, is a budding photographer and a bonafide car guy – two qualities I rarely see in combination.
Okay, so I know there are a few of you out there that are hastily typing me an email saying, “Hey Scott, I like cars and I like taking pictures of them, and so do my friends. There’s a lot of us out here!” to which I reply, “Yes, there are a lot of people in the world who like cars and photography, but most are picture takers and car lovers.
The difference is a deeply-rooted passion for both subjects. Chris has the passions. You can see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice and the body language spoke volumes.
As we talked story, I could tell we were two peas from the same pod: we could spit out car and camera specs faster than an engineer, knew that “vehicle dynamics” was a fancy way of saying “seat of the pants,” shooting at sunset is a whole lot better that sunrise, and that there’s no such thing as too much horsepower.
Hmmm… were we separated at birth?
I remember when I was his age. I wanted to get into automotive photography and writing, but didn’t know where to start. A friend in a car club suggested I write a few stories, shoot some photos and send them to the local newspaper. I did, and in a couple of weeks I got a call from the editor, who said he’d like to buy the stories, and could I provide them with weekly content?
For the next couple of years, I was the head writer and shooter for the “Wheels” section of the Saturday paper. Then I got a call from a friend who was a writer for Edmunds.com, and suggested I apply for a just-vacated position. A few days later, I was in a meeting with the Managing Editor and accepting a job offer.
A few years later, I had déjà vu: this time it was a call from a friend at Motor Trend. Next thing I know, I’ve got an office on the 7th floor of the Petersen Building, writing and shooting for the World’s Automotive Authority. To say it was a car-guy’s dream would be a gross understatement.
Three years into the gig, I’m in the process of moving to another home, and in the ensuing garage sale, I strike up a conversation with a guy while his wife is rummaging through my boxes of “stuff.” We start talking about cars, and he’s soon telling me all about his car-crazy son, nearing college graduation, and in need of an internship. I put him in touch with MT’s Editor-in-Chief and within a month, he’s in the office, running cars, assisting photographers and becoming a craft services guru (you can never have enough Red Vines on a road trip).
Did I mention his name is also Scott?
If you look at Motor Trend’s masthead, Scott’s still there. But he’s now the guy who drives the cars for nearly all the instrumented testing. Yeah, the guy understands vehicle dynamics.
So after talking to Chris under the Tree, I knew it was time to “pass it along” again. I gave him the name and number of my friend at Motor Trend, and suggested he give a call and inquire about an internship. After all, when you see the passion burning inside, it can’t hurt to feed it with a little 110-octane gasoline.