Don't be so modest. You WERE the really qualified candidate.
Originally Posted by DKT
Take this from an assistant in the mid-1970s who didn't know how to load Hasselblad magazines...
Originally Posted by Les McLean
There's a lot of that about.
Mind you, you had a disadvantage. You had to pay off the mortgage to the devil for all that time you spent as an accountant. I know how you feel. I was articled to Thompson McLintock for a few months...
I worked for 3 years as aerophotographer in Switzerland for a company wich sold this pictures. My camera was a Linhof Aerotronica 6x9 with 400 ASA Color film.
After 2 very dangerous situation with the helicopter I dicided not to do it longer after the 3. year. I also was frustrated at the time and almost loosed my happyness about photographing so it was time to stop. I was finishing my pro career after this, since I did some parttime shootings for mags and newspapers and stil do it a bit and also weddings and portraits, but not fulltime anymore!
Its nor easy to work as pro if you are not willing to do every bulls... in the beginning!
Thats why I'm a happy part timer now!
Not just in the beginning!
Originally Posted by JohnArs
What else do you do now?
thanks...well....I was lucky. It's funny though, the skills you pick up along the way, and never think much about them. I worked a stint as an assistant at one of those huge furniture market photo studios that do catalog work. I had my sights on working as p-j at this time still, so it was just a way to make ends meet. I spent all day loading film holders, and shuttling mole richardson lights around a studio set. They offered me a full time job, and I turned them down actually--went off to finish college.
Then years later--I find myself using a view camera, working in a studio, shooting furniture (only real old stuff). I always tell my boss--if I had known I would be shooting furniture for a living, I would have paid better attention....same thing happened when I started having to run process control for E6. I was like, dang--I wish I hadn't slept through that process control class I took in college....I had to go back into the recesses of my brain for that. I remember running control plots and staring at the charts, thinking, I'm a photographer--I'm never gonna need this stuff! hahaha....
every little bit adds up though, and after a while you don't have to really think too much about how to do something. It just comes naturally--like riding a bike. It was at that point--when I could use a view camera effortlessly, or same goes for the labwork--that was the point when I felt like I had finally become a professional. It became a real job, when it became a "job"--in that sometimes it's not fun or interesting--but I always try to make it interesting and try to learn something along the way.
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I found that I had an aptitude for photography early on at perhaps 6 when I got to use my dad's Argus C3. I continued to take some photos as I got older, but that wasn't where I thought that I was headed. I went to college and then grad school to become a paleontologist, geologist initially. I decided that I would rather eat than starve and received my first grad degree in Zoology with an emphasis in Ecology to work as an Ecologist. During my time in Grad school, I became more interested and involved in photography becoming a staff photographer for my college yearbook and college newspaper. Eventually I became chief photographer for the newspaper. I was unable to get hired in the environmental field back in 1980 (collapse of the field).
So back to grad school I went to get a grad degree in Geology to work in the oil industry. Wouldn't you know it but the bottom dropped out of the market while in school. In any case graduated with a Grad Degree in Geology in 1987. During this time period I also worked for the Newark Museum as a science docent for 5 years and also for Cyprus Minerals doing lab research. Also continued to take photos and improve. I had my first solo exhibit in 1987. I became a member of my photo club and eventually rose through all the officers to President between 1987 and 1995. When I got out of school I worked for 2 environmental firms for about 8 years and continued my interest in photography photographing primarily landscape and wildlife work including taking many photos at the Bronx Zoo. While at the Bronx Zoo one day in 1988 I ran into the head of a small stock agency. We talked and made arrangements to bring work for review. The stock Agency decided to represent my work from that time onward though I never supplied that much work. Some of the work has been used in Czechoslovachia and used presumably as an advertising campaign in Hong Kong because of the size of the payment as well as the White Tiger (one photo of which is in my gallery) and has been in the Microsoft Encarta since its inception. I used to take extended vacations and comp time during the time as well as on weekends that I worked as an Environmental consultant and started building a library of images.
Additionally, I had taken a number of workshops with some well known photographers including Dewitt Jones. During the time I was working in the environmental field as a geologist and a biologist/ecologist I got hit by a car while riding my bicycle in 1993. Needless to say the bicycle was totalled and I almost was. I suffered 2 broken wrists, several broken ribs, broken nose, lots of road rash. I had to be put back together with several surgeries including a permanent plate in the right shattered wrist and and an external fixator which was later removed from the left wrist. I was in the hospital for 10 days, out of work for 10 weeks and had 19 weeks of occupational and physical therapy. The accident made me really re-evaluate my life. I had wanted to become a pro photographer for some time this just made me want to do it as soon as possible. After I went back to work for the next year and a half or so I was relegated to work as a health and safety officer for several sites for our clients because my employer was concerned about my recovery and my health. I continued to take photos and to build my Library of images including those from Yellowstone, Grand Teton NP, Utah, etc.
Finally I got back to working as a Geologist but, my job was terminated finally. I took advantage of the situation and started having quite a number of exhibits of my work by invitation including one in NYC. I took additional workshops in 1995 in Utah and Colorado in 1996. We finally settled out of court for the accident and my injuries. Some of this settlement was used as seed money for what has become my Fine Art Photography Business. I have been participating selling Fine Art photos primarily Nature, Landscape, and Wildlife since 1996/1997.
Last edited by naturephoto1; 08-31-2006 at 12:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: repeated statement
Originally Posted by Les McLean
sort of a long story ... (sorry)
i got my first camera at 5 or 6 and have been taking photographs ever since. it was one of those mickey mouse cameras that you pulled the ear down and it tripped the shutter. i wish i still had it, but alas a neighbor got it at a garage sale when i was about 7 or 8. i took classes in black and white through high school and 7 semesters in college, and started doing pretty much what i am doing today - doing weird abstractions, making portraits, photographing buildings, and archaeological ruins ( and making hand stitched books). i didn't think i would be doing this way back then ( 80s ) and had studied to become an architect and go to architecture school, but realized that i can't draw if my life depended on it so that pretty much was out of the question.
after college, i thought maybe photography was going to work afterall, and soon i became an assistant to a few of the local photographers - one commercial guy, and one architecture guy. the commercial guy was kind of spent from his daze in the 60s and eventually we parted ways, and the architecture guy sort of ran out of work so i didn't get to many calls after a while. eventually i landed a job assisting a portrait photographer trained in the 1930s. she hired me to do all of her processing and printing, and taught me retouching ( with leads on an adams machine ) and from time to time i was squeezing the bulb of the packard shutter. she still shot 5x7 film and when she wasn't doing formal/informal headshots for pr agents, she was doing karsh-esque portraits. ( some folks used to call her the karsh of rhode island ). working for her i learned more in 10 months than i did loading hassy backs and setting up lights, and seeing the 5x7 film, retouching it, and printing it made me want to buy a speed graphic, and not use my yashica that i had been using. we had a parting of the ways after a while ( i lasted longer than any assistant before me <except her mom!> so i don't feel bad )
soon thought about what i was going to do and thought that maybe photography was going to be more of a secondary thing for me, not a career. i eventually went back to school and got a degree in preservation planning and got a job with a cultural resource planning firm doing historic preservation kind of work. i had originally thought that the preservation work was going to free me up to do photography. little did i know that i was going to be doing photography work instead. after a few years there were problems where i was working, and i decided rather than waiting to be fired, i would go off on my own, and maybe do the same sort of thing - preservation planning and photography. turns out there were fewer than no jobs for someone with no contacts, so i decided the heck with the preservation part, i would do photography again and market myself to preservation people. so i did just that. i also schlepped my work around to galleries too ( still making weird abstracts &C ) and eventually got tired of galleries telling me my photographs were not photographs but something else and "this is art" (pointing to a pile of debris on the floor) ... so with a bunch of artists ran an art gallery outside of boston. i figured it would be a good place to make contacts, show my work and maybe get my name out there. by this time, i had experience shooting for a newspapers and magazines, i had done commercial and architectural jobs and several years worth of preservation-oriented photography.
the gallery didn't lead to any work, but it was a good time, until the place was overrun by chaos --- i got out before it was too late. the whole place collapsed, and imploded and eventually became a bike shop. i still pursued my photography, and at this point i was broke. i lived+worked in a cheep loft, had a little studio/shooting space and a darkroom and i worked and worked at the part time job, took photo jobs on the side. i didn't make much money but eventually got married, moved and continued with the photography. i didn't move far, and the clients i picked up in the boston kept me on, so i travelled a little bit. i worked again for a newspaper, and after a few more years, photographed lots of interesting people (politicos, indian chiefs, supreme court justices, ceo-s, factory owners+workers), and started doing magazine work too. after a while i was "downsized"(at the paper), and am back to doing piecemeal work.
it is kind of a love hate relationship working as a photographer. you love the work, and it is great when it is there, and you get paid, but there is always the "what if ... a client tells me the signed contract is in the mail, you will start in 2 days, and the contract never arrives and the client vanishes (and you bought all your materials as you were told to do)", "what if ... the evil client takes all your work and doesn't pay for it "
... lots of what ifs ... and they do happen--and sometimes you just hope "the next one" isn't like "the last one" sort of thing
... sometimes scary, lots of fun, and as i said, love-hate ...
Last edited by jnanian; 08-31-2006 at 03:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Now THAT's frightening
Originally Posted by blansky