We had the good fortune of connecting with J. Damon Wood and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi J. Damon, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I heard a phrase recently that really made me think about my career and the life that surrounds it: “Sometimes you have to move the goalposts.” None of us likes to think of ourselves as “quitters.” Our mindset is aligned with Churchill’s “Don’t quit. Never quit. Never, never quit.” But in my case I’ve had to admit to quitting from time to time. I’ve quit projects, relationships both personal and professional, creative pursuits and, yes, on occasion I have quit striving for a specific success. In those cases, the quitting resulted from reassessment of my position in light of changing industries, realistic outcomes extrapolated from already established results, realizations that partners or even clients were not up to the challenge of the long haul or simply because a new, better opportunity supplanted the current effort. Sometimes you quit because it is the right thing to do. In some of those cases, I moved the goal post– sometimes further ahead of me, sometimes closer to me, sometimes behind me. You have to push through the “Is it worth its,” the “Am I crazys,” the “Why am I doing its” and get to the heart of the matter: Is the pursuit, the effort, the endeavor valuable in of itself? “The Strive” must be valuable without a prospect of completion, of success or finality. The time to quit is when you realize your efforts are wasting time that could be placed on a more worthy effort.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve chased light since I was a young newspaper photographer. Finding it, shaping it, arranging it, focusing it, capturing it. Light is knowledge. Light is life. Light is understanding. Without light, the world is a dark, dark place. I’ve done my best to use my talent to help my clients, tell my stories and illuminate the world around me. Many great endeavors and wonderful projects have come my way, but the most rewarding would have to be The Spirit of Clara Barton, a documentary about women of World War II who volunteered for the Red Cross and later formed the American Red Cross Oversea Association. For years, Pat Burns and I interviewed these women and preserved their stories, which are now in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. These are amazing stories which will still be amazing 100 years from now.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my friend visits me in Sandy Springs, then hiking at the Chattahoochee National Forest at Island Ford is a must. We’d also eat at Circle Sushi and visit Azalea Park.

If my friend visits me in Macon,Georgia, then checking out Mercer University and Mercer Village is a must, along with our great museums: The Harriett Tubman Museum, the Allman Brothers’ Museum called The Big House, The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and sites associated with Little Richard and Otis Redding, too. We’d float down the Ocmulgee River at Amerson Park and eat barbeque at Satterfields. Downtown Macon offers breweries, nightclubs and great outdoor spaces. Also, Society Garden in Ingleside is a must.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My students are now my lifeblood. They bring energy, hope and caring to my career and my love for visual communication. So I acknowledge my students at Mercer University for their ideas, their caring, their effort and their attention. They keep me alive.

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/j-damon-wood-9b56b014/

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