Modern Headshot for a Professor


Professor Davidson teaches English Literature at Coconino Community College and Northern Arizona University and needed an updated headshot. As a headshot photographer I love hearing about different professions. We chatted about higher education, our own college days (He’s a NAU alumni and I went to UGA) and how it’s all changed so dramatically. For one, the cost to attend a university has skyrocketed. When I was a freshman at UGA, tuition was $5,300 a year and now it’s over $18,000. And yes, I do realize that’s still on the low end for most areas. How do kids afford higher learning?? And with COVID and the social distancing necessities, Professor Davidson is teaching remotely. The entire face of college has changed and the ‘normal’ we all crave is gone. I, for one, cannot imagine going to classes via Zoom.

Flagstaff Headshot of Professor of English on grey background with a black sweater and glasses
Black and white photograph of professors headshot in a studio
Black and White headshot image of an english professor by melissa dunstan headshot photographer

But one thing hasn’t changed, the power of a good educator. I could tell when I spoke with him about the importance of connection with students, he was an excellent teacher. In a nutshell, I could tell he cared. We talked about literature and one of my favorite authors, Eudora Welty. And while I do love being a Headshot Photographer, a little known fact about me is when I first enrolled at UGA, I was an English major. I won some smaller writing scholarships and was eager to learn and fine tune any talents I possessed.

And then it happened. In ENG 102, (Creative Writing), I received a ‘D’ on a paper. And y’all, I thought I was going to get an ‘A’, for certain. Not only did the professor give me a low grade, but she insisted I stay after class to speak with her about my aspirations to become a writer. With a nervous stomach, I stayed behind and awaited her critique. I don’t remember all she said, but one thing hit close to my heart….“If I were you, I’d rethink my major choice. English doesn’t seem to be a good fit for your talents.”

I thought I was going to vomit, and all I wanted to do was hide. But somehow, I went back to my dorm, looked up some options and changed my major to Biology the next week. The following years were hard for me. Somehow, my chosen studies just didn’t quite resonate. But there’s a point where you have so many credits towards a certain degree, you can’t switch lanes.

I told Professor Davidson this story from 30 years ago and, I’m embarrassed to admit, tears came to my eyes. Without realizing it, he’s the only person I had shared that story with, aside from a therapist. And you know what this kind man said to me?

I think you can still be a writer, as long as it brings you joy. Do whatever makes you happy!

P. Davidson

I was stunned. It was so simple and so true. I never really considered writing again after that fateful day. But he’s right, we’re only limited by the judgement we give ourselves. And quite honestly, I wish I could go back in time and shake that 18 year old girl and remind her she didn’t need anyone’s PERMISSION to do what she loved. Thank you sir for helping me remember we can accomplish great things, if only we take that first step.

Oh and UGA professor from 1987…you suck.

And you, Professor Davidson, nailed your headshots! Thanks for trusting me with your professional images.

Are you thinking about a updating your profile image? As a Headshot Photographer, I’d love to create new ones for you! Just fill out our contact form and I’ll get back to you right away.

Cheers to chasing dreams! ~ Melissa

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