While working on an add campaign for a Fortune 500 company, I did an environmental portrait of an American Indian, and they loved it, rapidly followed by an American Cowboy. We then broke things up by doing a photograph of the Empire State Building on a very cold, rainy, foggy night, which yielded a fine image. The creative director at Saatchi came back and wanted to change it up, and he wanted me to do a photo of an American laborer. After two weeks I submitted three photos, he didn’t like any of them. The following week, I submitted three more, he liked those even less. I became extremely frustrated. Any assignment photographer will tell you they would rather have a AD and CD with a firm story board (with approval of the end client) with very little leeway on the initial concept, but a lot of leeway on how you stylize a photograph. It’s called a compromise. We got in a, shall we say, small argument. I was very frustrated, and decided was that what I needed to go was some serious manual labor, which in my opinion, is extremely healthy. It will also stop you from getting arrested for attempted assault and battery. Being dedicated to your art form is one thing, but doing hard time? Unacceptable. Stepped into the studio, looked at a full length mirror, readjusted my Dynalites, asked my best female friend, JoAnne Kalish, if she would be kind enough to make a photograph… client loved it. Is there a moral to this story? When — is not working — change it up. If you want to see the complete story without any restrictions or censorship, in six months you can pick up my new book on visual literacy.
To all the ships at sea, grab a camera and a shovel, go have a ball. It’s all good.