Thursday, October 2, 2008

Contests and Easy Money

It seems like a day does not go by without an invitation to enter a photography contest. I have entered a ton of them and got accepted by a few though I am not sure it has ever done me any good.

In college I got a photograph accepted in a contest sponsored by Kodak. The prize was 20 rolls of any kind of film they made. My first thought was to get something like Kodachrome because we all coveted it and it was expensive. I was browsing though the film catalogue and came across aerial film. It came in huge 500 ft rolls and was a couple grand each. I requested 20 rolls of it and expected somebody in Rochester would figure it out and just send me Tri-X.

Months later I got a call to come down to the loading dock at the Kenosha News where I was working as an intern.

When I got there I saw a palette full of 20 boxes about the size of a giant UTZ potato chip can. I had won the lottery! I was rich! I just had to find somebody who shot aeriel photography to buy this and I was set. I asked the shipping guys if I could keep the boxes there while I found a buyer.

Not to sound like an old timer but this was long before the internet and ebay. I made dozens of calls but could not find anyone who would buy this let alone knew how to use it.

My boss at the time had a habit of dropping his pants in the the middle of a conversation to tuck in his shirt. He was in this position across the room when he said.

" You know. You are going to have to pay taxes on that."
Him:"The IRS is going to see that as income and will look upon the prize as incomeYou are going to be on the hook for declaring 40 large. "
ME"Oh shit"

I was making $12/hour and had not even started filing taxes yet.

I ended up having to spend $300 to ship back all the film to Rochester from where it came. I never heard back from Kodak.


Anonymous said...

One of the greatest stories ever told on a blog. Brilliant

Sherman said...

Bloody classic story!

Paul said...

That is brilliant

Bill said...

Thanks for the memory Thomas - I was working with you at the time. I still share that story...