Its been almost three months since the creative community lost an icon… And I lost a good friend and mentor. Winston Hendrickson was one of the geniuses behind some of Adobes most popular software, including Photoshop and Lightroom.
He was the type of executive that was an advocate for the users because as a photographer himself, he lived in the programs and understood them from a different perspective than most of the other suits.
Our mutual friend Scott Kelby wrote an endearing post on his blog that puts into words who Winston was and how we came into each other lives better than I ever could, so please read Scott’s post to get more of the backstory and learn what a fantastic soul Winston was.
Winston has been on my mind allot since he passed and I realize the impact he had on me more as I think through our conversations over steaks and cocktails at some of Atlanta and Seattle’s finest steakhouses. It was a tradition of ours, anytime Winston would come out to shoot with us on the Falcons sidelines we would meet the night before for steak and drinks. Over dinner, we would talk about sports, photography, photoshop, family, and life. Winston would pick my brain about how we were utilizing the tools in Photoshop and Lightroom and was forever trying to understand users workflows to improve the Adobe products he oversaw. And I was always trying to get some insight into what new features were around the corner in upcoming Adobe updates. But then one night at Rathbun’s Steak in Atlanta (one of our favorite spots), I mentioned that I was going to be speaking at the National Sports Forum in Portland, and it was one of the first public speaking engagements that I had been asked to deliver, and I was nervous about it. Winston shared some of his experiences and how he prepared for the first few keynotes he had delivered in front of thousands at Photoshop World. He assured me that the story I had to tell was my own so that it would be genuine and sincere, and that is what people will take away from it, not that I was nervous. He was right. And I remember the night before the event sitting in my hotel room practicing and thinking back to the conversation I had with Winston and it helped calm me.
From then on our dinner always took on a different tone, of course, we still talked sports, photoshop, and photography but I always found myself walking away with something subtly profound. It didn’t ever hit me as we were in the conversation but a few days, weeks or months later I would find myself thinking back to our discussion and finding relevance in it to situations I was facing throughout my career. I came to love and trust this man, and while i didn’t realize it until recently, he had become the mentor I never knew I had.
NFC Championship Game: (left to right) Jimmy Cribb, Winston Hendrickson, Mike Benford, Lynn Bass, Scott Kelby
Thank you, Winston, for always listening and responding with sincerity and insight no matter the subject.
Winston shared his knowledge and experiences with me in a manner that helped me through some uncertain times throughout my career and I can only hope as I meet with numerous aspiring designers, photographers, creative professionals and coworkers that I can provide the same comfort and guidance from my experiences for them, as he did for me.