I'm sad... shocked...surprised. Last Friday, while seeing what was up on Facebook, I saw this:
I couldn't believe my eyes. I had just spent the past few weeks working with one of the Kelby guys on an article that was to be published in this month's Photoshop User Magazine. The week of Pete's post I was alerted that the issue was finalized and would be out. No sooner was the issue out - WHAM! I read that Pete, RC, and others at KelbyOne were being let go due to financial/business issues.
My first thought was to call Scott, knowing how difficult it must have been for him to do what was apparently necessary. I've known Scott for almost ten years having met him through his brother, Jeff, and then building a friendship that I value dearly. I can honestly say that I have met very few people like Scott. He is one of the warmest, kindest, most generous persons I know. I also know how much he loves what he built at KelbyOne and the people he was able to bring together under one roof. There was more talent and creativity in Scott's fold than in any other place I know, and Scott relished being with these people. The Kelby workplace was as close to nirvana as you could get. There was an atmosphere like no other, where everyone seemed to love being there and working with each other.
That's why it was sad to read about the changes that were announced last Friday. And I know how difficult it must have been for Scott to do what was done. I also know that if there was any way he could have avoided doing what was done he would never have decided to let so many of his work family go. I suspect that from a purely financial perspective, the decision to cut staff was probably needed long before Friday but Scott just couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger. I have no doubt he tried desperately to come up with ways that would avoid doing what was ultimately necessary to save the business.
The weeks leading up to last Friday had to be intolerable for Scott, knowing how the ultimate decision would affect not only his workplace but the people and families involved. So I didn't call Scott. I figured he had enough on his plate without being bothered by a call from me. I'm going to give it some time and maybe reach out to him after the dust settles a bit.
For now, I'll reminisce a bit about some of the folks with whom I developed friendships and who will be looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
I got to know Pete over the past few years after he came on board as Scott's Photoshop Guy. I remember meeting Pete shortly thereafter while I was visiting Scott's digs in Tampa. I instantly liked Pete - he didn't know me from a hole in the ground and within a matter of seconds we were busting each other's chops as if we had known each other for years.
I got to know Pete a lot better the following spring when I invited him to come over to Orlando and join me in shooting the Tavistock Cup golf match using one of my two assistant credentials. He met me at my hotel the morning of the first day's matches and we spent eight hours tromping around on the Isleworth golf course chasing after Tiger and the boys.
Spending time with Pete at the various Photoshop Worlds was always a treat as was meeting his two sons when the Collins boys ran in a cross country meet in Tallahassee. Pete called to let me know he and the boys would be in town and we all met for dinner the day before the race.
As I began dabbling with composites, Pete was never shy about critiquing my efforts. He would always let me know where they fell short and how to make them better. His insights were never provided in a condescending or negative manner; it was always in a constructive manner and right on point.
RC ConcepcionMy brother from another mother, RC introduced me to HDR photography and taught me how to resist my inner Cuban gaudiness and overcome my innate need to oversaturate and over tone my HDR imagery. I learned more about HDR processing in one RC Photoshop World HDR class than I could have learned in years of fumbling, stumbling, and bumbling on my own.
For a long time, I tried to get RC to come visit me during new moon weekends at my observatory in Chiefland, Florida as I knew he would appreciate what me and my friends were doing in the world of astrophotography. RC and a friend of his finally came up to visit this past November.
While he was there, RC had me pose inside my dome with my telescope and sent me the shot he got. I was glad that he enjoyed his visit so much that the following month he came back to Chiefland with his family in tow and camped out at a nearby state park.
What can I say about Brad, aka the Honey Badger. On four occasions, I've been a Guest Blogger on Scott's Photoshop Insider blog and Brad has patiently worked with me to get my posts up on the site.
Brad has been Scott's right hand, pack mule, set up guy, and invaluable assistant for a long, long time.
Brad came over to Orlando with Scott twice for some Tavistock Cup shooting with me. Just as with Pete, you really get to know someone when you spend hours and hours tromping around a golf course lugging forty pounds of photo equipment. Brad was no exception, never at a loss for the perfect comeback to anything thrown his way. I will miss Brad's wit, unflappable demeanor, and patience.
All of the individuals mentioned above, and no doubt the others with whom my interactions were limited, are talented beyond words. I feel terrible for them and their families as they try to land on their feet somewhere without too much disruption in their lives. It will not be easy given the diminishing avenues in the world of photography but with what they bring to the table, doors will open for them.
In the meantime, my thoughts are also with Scott, his family, and KelbyOne. I am hopeful that the business difficulties currently being experienced are just a bump in the road. What Scott has done through NAPP, Kelby Media, and now KelbyOne has been a Godsend. Scott's has singlehandedly made photo processing, using Photoshop, and working with Lightroom, understandable to millions who would have otherwise been lost without his courses and videos. His ability to convey tips, tricks and methods for improving one's photography skills has been invaluable to many, many people. And the genius of bringing a lot of that together at his Photoshop Worlds is the perfect compliment of dispensing knowledge with fun.
Fingers crossed that with some time, all will be well for all concerned.