A successful Long Island photographer has developed a clear picture of how to use creativity to thrive in any industry. NY1's Employment reporter Asa Aarons filed the following report.
Long Island native Doug Gordon make unique creations out of his wedding photographs, and he lectures internationally about his lighting, poses and compositions. Last year, his studio, Patken Photographer, generated more than a million dollars in photo and frame sales.
Gordon is a walking example of something savvy researchers have been saying all along -- the future doesn't entirely belong to the rich or the hyper-educated, and it really belongs to the creative.
"I had an 880 on my SAT, 800 of which was for signing my name," says Gordon. "I'm denouncing education in no way, shape or form -- I want my kids to go to college. But at the same point, just because you haven't finished high school, doesn't mean you can't accomplish things."
Doug says in high school he was certain he would become a professional baseball player.
"I could throw in the mid-90s as a 15-year-old," he says. "Baseball was where it was at, but one day I felt the tear in my shoulder and it was over."
The injury ended his dream of becoming a pro ballplayer and opened to door to other ambitions.
"I went and [shot a] wedding, I was only 16 at the time. My mom had to drive me there, so as you can imagine it was quite embarrassing," he says.
Now, Gordon has no reason to be embarrassed. His photography studio handles more than 1,000 weddings a year and his seminars and classes have attracted photographers from around the world.
He shares something with many other successful people -- he understands people's motivations.
"Women, they don't really want to look angelic in their wedding photos. They want to look sexy, they want to have personality, they want it to be sensual, they want to be romantic. That's what they dream of their wedding being like," says Gordon.
After seeing his dreams rise, fall and rise again, Gordon has advice for people struggling with this flaccid economy.
"This is just a bump in a road. Get up, dust yourself off and go and figure it out. You have to want it," says Gordon. "And if you want to go find a way into an industry, you don't go and look in the newspaper for a job ad. Look all over the place, you find things, you show up at people's doors. Everything starts with confidence. If you believe in yourself, anything's possible."