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?