Sunday, August 31, 2008

Student tries to talk photographer off the ledge

Photo By Alex Gagne
I got this email from Alex Gagne this week. It seems that the recent RIT grad is concerned out about my well being . I have heard from him and from an old friend and they both seemed worried about me.

From Alex:

"I read your blog alot and the way you talk about photography it seems like there is no hope for the profession of being a photographer and I guess I just wanted to know what you think about being photographer and if it is even possible to make a living in this day and age because in my eyes you are a very successful photographer but when you talk about yourself on your blog you make it sound like your about to go on welfare."

The last thing I want to do is to start sounding like the bitterphotographer.  

It is difficult to tread the fine line between cockrocking and sounding like a boy whistling in the dark. Sometimes I miss the mark.

In reality all is well here. It has been almost a year since I have not had an agent and that has gone surprisingly well. I thought for sure I would do it terribly but in fact is has been pretty smooth and I actually enjoy the process. Who knew?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vacation Over

Back to work. Shot a billionaire my age today and have another shoot next week. Just booked an ad campaign for mid fall so the photo career is not over after all. There was talk of changing careers and becoming a professional hiker. Sometimes that seems about as viable as making a living as a photographer.

When my wife and I are out and about and people ask her what I do- my wife has a hard time saying with a straight face that I am a photographer. I think to most people that sounds like saying my husband is a poet or modern dancer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vacation Chronicles : Dolphin Love

I swam with the dolphins last week. We were at a state beach north of Santa Barbara when we saw them. From the beach we could see schools of mackerel in the water shining like Christmas lights . To the dolphins it must have seemed like the all you can eat buffet at Ponderosa Steak House.

A 10 year old girl was the first one to go in the water. She dove through the waves without hesitation and began to swim out. The dolphins were fast and hard to track and her parents kept trying to point her in the right direction. She gave up and headed to shore.

I am turning 40 next week and so I was the next one in. I am not a particularly good swimmer but wanted to see if I could get close to the dolphins.

I swam and swam and did not seem to be making any progress. The girl came back in the water and we tried to direct each other to where we thought they were. And then they were almost on top of us. Three of them together. The girl and I both let out the same sound. It was like a cross between a gasp and a laugh and a shout. We saw them again a few more times just for a second as they came up to breathe and look at us.

Earlier in the week a couple Hispanic housecleaners stopped in front of our cabin and looked in. I asked them in Spanish if everything was ok. They said yes and then assuming I spoke Spanish, they asked me what seemed like a multipart question delivered at an accelerated pace. Instead of admitting I had no idea what they were saying I just nodded and smiled. I chose to believe the question they were asking wasn't something like, "Do you know there is a gas leak in the cabin and it is about to explode?", But rather a benevolent inquiry into our over all comfort.

And so it was with the dolphins. I got the feeling they were trying to tell me something in the water. I got the feeling they were saying it was going to be ok. That the long night was going to end and we would all be alright.

(I am no tree hugger. I would water board every last spotted owl on the planet without regret or remorse if it meant protecting one of my children. That does not make me father of the year or particularly human. Every slug parent would do the same for his slug offspring.)

Then out of nowhere the lifeguard was next to us on his board trailing a life buoy. He looked like a younger more sober version of David Hasselhoff. The first thing I asked him was if my wife sent him out here. He said the dolphins might get territorial and we should come in. I was dead tired and that buoy looked like a giant floating Lazy Boy.

Honestly I was not sure which was worse. To die by drowning or embarrassment. I was not going to be towed in so I slogged all the way back dizzy and crashed on our towel while the 10 year old ran off to play Frisbee.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Archive Ad and the life of a commercial image

I think it is interesting to track the life and progress of a commercial photograph:from a polaroid to a scan of a contact sheet to entering a contest and then to see how it is promoted (above).