To Increase and Diffuse

If you’ve been here a while, you know how big a fan I am of Joe McNally. I’ve seen him speak a dozen times or more, stood in a room with him while he led a small lighting workshop, hung strobes in a diner in Syracuse as part of that and have studied every book and image he’s published. The man just gets light and story, there’s no way around it.

He has no idea who I am, I’m sure, though a venn diagram of friends and colleagues would overlap pretty heavily, but I feel like I know him as a person. And then this morning, I’m reading this guest post he did for Scott Kelby’s site on his history with the big yellow magazine, National Geographic, and I’m just overwhelmed again with his passion for storytelling.

You need to read it. Go on, I’ll wait.

And buried in there (actually, it’s in there twice, but it didn’t register the first time) is this phrase:

Almost 25 years, and lots of yellow boxes, and pixels, later, I’m still out there, trying to increase and diffuse.

The first usage is here:

The magazine’s official mission statement is “to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge.” “Geography,” for the editors there, generally encompasses both physical and cultural geography. People and their places. People in relationship to the planet. The planet itself, in all of its’ magnificence, and wreckage. The earth, sea and sky, and all the organisms those elements nurture, and occasionally, punish.

Not sure how or when I forgot that line from the magazine, “to increase and diffuse,” but I love it a little more this morning. It sums up what I want my students to do so badly. To learn, to explore, to understand and to share – without that last part, the first parts are so self-serving.

Thanks again, Joe.

Mark E. Johnson

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