2020 has been a year full of struggles for most of us, leaving many photographers without work. In a desperate attempt to find a gig, young photographer Malcolm Manning posted a tweet earlier this month. And he did get a job offer – from Oprah Winfrey herself.
On 9 December, Malcolm posted four of his photos and wrote: “Hello. I am a 23 year old photographer from Newark, New Jersey eager to create. You never know, 1 retweet could help me grow my business or secure my next client. Much love”
Hello 👋🏾 I am a 23 year old photographer from Newark, New Jersey eager to create. You never know, 1 retweet could help me grow my business or secure my next client 🙏🏾much love🤞🏾 pic.twitter.com/hNBjHDqQ2k
— Malcolm Manning (@MassacreMAL_) December 10, 2020
Less than a week later, his tweet got a reply from Oprah: “I’m relaunching @oprahmagazine’s website in 2021. How about you come shoot one of our stories?”
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) December 15, 2020
I actually, like, cried,” Malcolm told FOX10 Phoenix. “Tears of joy just started coming down my face…just someone of Oprah’s stature noticed my work.” The same source explains that Oprah’s invitation to Malcolm was a part of her initiative to surprise unsuspecting Twitter followers over the holidays. And for Malcolm, it came at the right time.
He says that he was already thinking of taking a break from photography because his business has suffered due to the pandemic. “Literally, the morning I sent the tweet out, I was having a conversation with my mom…I was kind of losing a little bit of motivation,” he said. “It was just a little discouraging. So I told my mom maybe I just needed to take a break from it.”
After seeing Oprah’s tweet, Malcolm’s passion for photography returned. He responded to Oprah in a tweet: “Wow Ms. Winfrey! Thank You so much for this opportunity. I am humbled and it would be an honor to create for you.”
Wow Ms. Winfrey! Thank You so much for this opportunity. I am humbled and it would be an honor to create for you.🙏🏾 https://t.co/gXilJdkC9B
— Malcolm Manning (@MassacreMAL_) December 15, 2020
Although this story sounds like a Christmas miracle, I don’t think it’s one. After all, I don’t even believe in miracles. Malcolm earned this gig by publicly seeking a job and offering his services. He also earned it because he’s a good photographer.
So, I think that that the moral of this story is not that miracles happen. What we can learn is that we have to hone our skills and be good at what we do. And then we have to get out there, promote our work, and actively seek a job. It may not always be easy, it may also be uncomfortable. But it is the best and the only certain way to succeed.