November 22, 2017

"What's your moonshot?"

I get asked all the time what kind of events I photograph, and now I want to make a point to share some of the stories. I’ve been inspired by many of speakers, and can only hope my photographs have done justice in defining the often extraordinary people I’ve had the privilege of photographing.

A recent event was with author Andy Weir. The theme of the evening reception, with him as the keynote was: “What is your moonshot?”

After being within earshot of learning all about what this “moonshot” word means, it’s become one of my new favorite words. For those of you who may not know, Andy was actually a college dropout who has made quite a name for himself as an American novelist. His science fiction novel, The Martian, was adapted into a film of the same name.

So what is a moonshot? The word originally derived from the mission Apollo 11 in 1969, which was the first to land people on the moon. These days, “moonshot” is used to describe an attempt to achieve the seemingly impossible. Something groundbreaking one sets out to do. Just going for it, trying to do it even without consideration of hard facts that may prove the feat to be an irrational one.

This question, “what is your moonshot?” was posed to the audience at this annual reception, and they were to discuss what their next moonshot would be over dinner. As I wandered around taking candid photos, I was delighted to hear how much people were getting into the topic. Afterall, a moonshot is what we should all be considering in today’s world right? In a world where it takes extraordinary accomplishments to truly stand out and make a difference.

After dinner, Andy answered a series of questions about his life where in his beginning, his dream was to be an author full-time, despite that being a very difficult feat to accomplish. It was quite inspiring to hear from someone who has undoubtedly accomplished their own Moonshot. Even when Andy was asked, “so what is your next moonshot?” He literally said something like: I really don’t have one... I mean, I’ve got an amazing girlfriend, money...and so on. I’ve pretty much done everything I’ve really wanted to do. (All with a smile and a little laugh) And I can honestly say it didn’t come off as him bragging, is what more just a message to everyone to just fucking go for it. What are you waiting for?

And so this is why I’ve fallen in love with the word “Moonshot.” I feel like I’ve always been this kind of person, I don’t always think things through, I just go for it. You could argue that everything hasn’t worked out favorably, but my fair share of risks has worked out to at the very least end in being very glad that I tried and failed rather than not trying at all. Generally speaking though, I am a big fan of setting out to do what others may quickly deem irrational or unfeasible. So now I pose to you, What is YOUR moonshot?

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