On polishing the turd

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Yesterday, we got a phone call from a client in need of a last-minute job.

“Can you come shoot our recycling and composting program for our parent company? We realize it’s last minute, and this job isn’t going to be pretty, but we need professional photos by tomorrow morning,” asks the vice president of a large company downtown.

Mind you, this is a client that recently passed on hiring us from three of our favorite accounts, one sent us to New York twice a year. We were sore about that, but you know, there are a million photographers and sometimes you want to try another option.

“You know what? Sure,” I responded. “We’ll stop in today at 1. Does that work?” This was a call directly from a vice president, not an assistant as we’re somewhat accustomed to.

So we went out to shoot about 12 to 15 setups in the speediest method possible.

Mind you, the photos we got aren’t going in our portfolio. And I’m a little surprised you’re looking at them now. Why would I post pictures that I wouldn’t want anyone to see?

The answer is, I am not sure. 

Part of me says, “Yeah, the work Tina and I do is good whether it’s a million-dollar corporate interior or the basement where you throw out that corporation’s trash.”

The other part of me says, “See, this is the glamorous life of a photographer. At least the glamorous life of this one.” 

And the other other part says, “I don’t have any other content to share with you, so here’s a parable about life as a photographer who makes their living in a city like Chicago.”

I’ve talked to professionals who do jobs they’d never share with you. Why? Because they don’t want you to know that they do any other work apart from those shiny portraits or hot nudes they posted.

But sometimes there’s the recycling program at a large corporation that needs photographing for a large parent company … a parent company based in New York City … the same place with the jobs you recently were passed on for another photographer … and the same place you want to return to some day for a job.

This job was a back-scratch moment. It showed me that I didn’t burn a bridge with the client when we weren’t chosen for their runway and fashion events.

And as weird as it seems, these images are going to pass before the eyes of the top executives during a financial presentation. It’s a weird thought that the audience who are wealthy and want to understand their investments and what they are doing to save the environment.

And what they are interested in is seeing the crap that other people throw out and how it affects their bottom line and how that recycling and composting programs boost their public perception and improves the environment.

And what makes all the difference is getting a response back from a New York email address saying, “These photos are excellent!!! Thank you so much!”

Phew.

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