Click HERE to watch video.

Actions Have Consequences.

The coincidence was terrific.

My daughter Aliana's senior project critique was scheduled on Friday, and I had a day in Western Massachusetts on that same day between gigs in Boston and Albany.

I asked Ali if it was alright with her if I attended the . Once she confirmed, I checked with her professor to make sure it was okay with him as well.

I was really looking forward to attending. First, I wanted to see the results of all the hard work Ali had put into her last college project. Second, I was excited to see Ali make the presentation. And third, I had gone through so many similar critiques in design , I was eager to see the similarities and differences and even relive a bit of my university experience.

Just like the critiques I remember from college, some of the kids presenting were good and some were not so good. Same for their work – some of it was quite good and some… not so much.

But Ali's presentation – and the work she presented – was exceptional. Sure, when it comes to my only daughter, I'm proud and biased and certainly blinded by love. But I've also reviewed enough student portfolios in my day to know the difference between good, bad, and OMG!!

Ali's presentation was one of the best I'd ever seen.

Her subject dealt first with the cruelty imposed on industrially farmed animals in order to meet the expectations of consumers who are more and more removed from the production process and instead purchase sanitary vacuum-sealed packages of meat from climate-controlled grocery stores. She then compared this exploration with the unnatural expectations imposed on women and girls by their sterilized and sexualized portrayal in popular media.

Heady stuff, indeed.

After the critique was over and after I finished complimenting Ali on her work, there was one thing I had to know…

“I'm not surprised your is so beautiful. That's your passion. And I'm not surprised how you compared animals being victimized by industrialized farming to women being constrained by societal views of femininity. Those are your causes.”

“But where did you learn to design page like that? Where did you learn such delicacy with typography? How did you learn to put all this together so beautifully?”

Ali rolled her eyes so hard I'm surprised she didn't keel over. “Dad…” she said slowly with a world-weariness that belied her age, “…have you ever done a jr. high school science project… with you?”

I believe that's the greatest compliment I've ever received.

Actions Have Consequences.

Fast forward six or so years…

Ali told her mother and me that she was quitting her job at Farm Sanctuary to become a fulltime, professional photographer.

Remembering that day long ago when I quit my job to start my design firm, and recalling how much harder it was than I expected, I asked Ali, “What made you decide to do this now?”

“Dad…” she said in the same tone she'd used a few years ago on her college campus, “…I read your book (Is That All There Is).”

I'm happy to report that Ali is producing great work and that her is doing great. You can watch a new video Ali shot and edited HERE. You can look at Ali's professional portfolio HERE. And you can book her for a photo assignment HERE.

Once again Ali reminded me that our actions have consequences, whether we think anyone is watching us or not.

Skip to content