How Jeffrey Created His Most Published China Photo THEN…My Michelle Obama Moment NOW


1980: The answer to Tuesday’s blog post question, “Which China Photograph is Jeffrey’s Most Published?”…is…

Photo of Moxibustion


This photograph has been published dozens of times around the world, particularly in Asia and Europe, and has been acquired by several art collectors as well.

Thanks to all of you who voted. Our friend Ronald McDonald, with his red pompador, was a close second, followed by the Little Emperor, rice paddies and the Democracy Movement.

Congratulations to Sarah Chase Shaw, the only person who guessed correctly. She and Confucius are one with beauty!

To hear the improbable story of how Jeffrey created his moxibustion photograph, click on the video below.

Please note this is my first attempt at making a video, so bear with me as I learn the craft of this art form.



SEPTEMBER 2011: A friend of mine emailed me this morning telling me he was on his way to the White House to do a photo shoot with the First Lady.

I was thrilled for him, but also a little jealous.

I emailed him back: “I know you won’t do this (because I wouldn’t), but tell the First Lady she has inspired me—and my daughter—more than she will ever know.”

Photo of Michelle ObamaAs I typed those words, it made me think, If I were at the White House today on that photo shoot, why wouldn’t I tell Michelle Obama that I admire her strength and spunk, and most of all her smarts?

Is it because I’m shy? Well, yes, on occasion. Is it because I want to be cool and sophisticated and “unsappy?” Well, of course, we all want to be cool and sophisticated and “unsappy” (although I fail at that miserably on most days).

Or is it because I know she’s most likely flooded with compliments every day, and I can’t imagine my one little comment would make a difference in her life?

Whatever the reason, here’s the thing…WHY NOT?

Why not add one more nice word or two to somebody’s life–even if she is famous, and most likely inundated with compliments. She’s also a hard-working woman who wakes up every day trying to be the best wife and mom she can, struggles to juggle all the same things the rest of us do, all the while living in the insane world of politics.

My kind words may not make a lick of difference to Michelle Obama, but then again, you never know. What if she woke up with a migraine headache, a sick kid, or a pile of hate mail from the other side? Or what if she simply woke up not feeling like being the First Lady that day (can you even imagine having her job?).


I bet each of us can remember a comment that made a difference in our lives. It may have been a small vote of confidence shot off by somebody in passing, or one that was clearly heart-felt and thoroughly thought out.

Whatever the case, telling somebody that you admire what they are doing or that they make a difference in your life can never be a bad thing…even if it makes you feel like a sap.

So here’s to you, Michelle. Thank you for being such a great role model for women and for raising the bar in the White House, and for reminding me to say WHY NOT?

Your turn! What do you think? How has somebody’s positive comment (large or small) made a difference in your life?


12 thoughts on “How Jeffrey Created His Most Published China Photo THEN…My Michelle Obama Moment NOW

  1. Becky, thanks for choosing this post one among those seven posts in your 7×7 awards post, so that we could found it. I watched Jeffrey’s video few times to get all the words right. That old accent problem of us. 🙂 It was an inspiring video for sure. Just got connected to it, as i am a computer engineering graduate, still i was not sure that i should pursue my career with that one. Still to get all those materialistic things without wasting anymore time, i started compromise with life. Still i hope, one day my turn will come & life will give me a chance, just like it gave to Jeffrey. Although i am not that much talented like Jeffrey, still who knows. 🙂
    Please say thank you to Jeffrey for such inspiring & motivating words.

  2. I have only just started reading your blog and find it wonderful reading – both visually and from your writing as well – a great combination. My ex was a TV journalist and I appreciate the combination of the pictures and the words. I’ll return to read more. A wonderful inspiration to read and experience.

    • Michele, many thanks for visiting my blog! I appreciate your nice comments too. With you experience, I’m sure you can relate to many things in my life. I just took a look at your blog (which I will visit again soon), and I have to say, I find you quite MEMORABLE! : )

  3. I thoroughly am enjoying your Blog. You are a fabulous writer and you inspire me more than Michelle Obama ever could. What you have done and seen and how you give back to the causes near and dear to your heart(Sloan Kettering Hospital) your absolute conviction to run to save lives….most inspiring. You are so right, complimenting anyone on any given day is so gratifying. You never know what they are faced with in life and how it can affect them. It’s nothing but positive energy that you are putting out in to the world. We hope that people pay it forward.

  4. Becky, I was simply fascinated with Jeff’s video and how this mesmerizing photo happened to be. I am a “wish I were a professional photographer,” but I’m a writer instead. Though I do snap shots, have them enlarged and hang them in “my gallery” at home. What an amazing way to live life, though I’m sure it can be a drag so far from home.

    You’re right – just think, if each person in the world would make a point to complement “one person” each day, we may be able to live in peace.

    • Nancy, you always have the nicest things to say. Thank you, and thanks for dropping in again. Speaking of which…I’m hoping to drop into the land of Cork next week…that is if I’m not in the midst of making another video! Hope to see you soon! : )

  5. Well, first of all, I really should have known better about the most published photo. That being said, I have to continue onward that there is nothing wrong with being sappy. I’ll take real emotion over cool, calm, “professionalism” just about any time! And I really believe that we can change someone’s day and maybe their life (and thereby, maybe even the world) by being nice, being honest and letting people know how they inspire us or how proud we are of them or how they’ve made us laugh etc. The world has evolved into an oftentimes cynical, cold place and we need more good “juju” out there. I’ve had plenty of moments (and days) where a stranger’s smile or acknowledgment or a friend’s simple encouraging words has changed my perception of myself. So, yes, yes, yes to letting a n y o n e know how they’ve inspired you! And both you and Jeffrey were always so inspiring for me! (How’s that for sappy?)

    • Actually, since moxibustion was published many times before you were working with us, I can see why you might have thought Ronald (especially since he was rocking at the time). And wow, thank you for very kind words. I have a lump in my throat. How’s that for sappy?! I appreciate the salt of the earth person you are…and the fact that you took the time to write your comment. : )

  6. I have a good friend, (initials BGA) who has this amazing gift of knowing just the right thing to say. I can’t count the number of times she has used the perfect words to encourage me to continue on with my efforts and goals. A kind word has the ability to change the atmosphere!

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