Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dear Competition,

Dear Competition,

Stuff I've always wanted to know but have  been too terrified to ask you:

1) Have you ever thought about killing a client? 
No, really. I mean like a genuine homicide. With blood and everything.  And you meet with somebody you found on Craig's list at a scary bar, to work out details? And then they turn out to be an undercover cop? And it makes you pause and ask yourself if it was really worthwhile to get this worked up about a last-second cancellation? And you find out that sometimes it is not good PR to make the front page?

2) Have you ever felt like you are the stupidest person in the world? 
Like everyone else is ten million years ahead of you? Like you just made the biggest turd sandwich of your career? Like you're pretty sure everyone knows what a complete Gomer you are? 

No? Nah, me neither. 

3) Have you ever completely blown it and then lied your ass off to cover it?
I'm just asking. In a hypothetical sense.

4) Have you ever faked that you were busy?
When you were actually just getting your oil changed? And the service dude screws it up by yelling "You want new wiper blades too?" 

Bonus points if you had to take a call while you were naked. For any reason.

Well, except THAT reason.

5) Have you ever had to pretend that you did not care? 
If the other guy landed that killer assignment? But inside you were screaming "I hate them all! Fools! Can they not see how right I am for this! I hope the rental car explodes and kills them all!"

Bonus points if fortune suddenly turns back your way and you get the gig and you are certain that the other guy is now cursing you.

6) Do you ever feel like quitting? 
And going into insurance like your Dad told you to 30 years ago but you were too stupid and dreamy and stubborn and stupid to listen to sound advise? 

Really?! What a coincidence....

7) Does it ever bug the hell out of you?
That even after all this time, after all these winning jobs you've nailed, after all the other competitors you've outlasted,  even after all that you still have to market your ass off? That the youngsters out there don't know who you are and that all the rules have changed and that you were just getting the hang of things and then Boom!

Not that your getting old or anything.

I'm just saying....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Farewell Mr. Heston

I had the privilege to photograph him in Indianapolis for Eli Lillly and the ultra cool folks at Creative Street. We shot at a mansion rented for the occasion.

We had a shot with him on a stairway, slowly walking down as he spoke to the camera.  It was a long narrative from the script, requiring him to pause, gesture, and inflect just the right way at just the right times. First shot of the day, first take of the scene. He absolutely nailed it on the first take. Perfect. The director kind of squeaked "Uhm, OK. Let's get one more take, just for back up." He then told us that he was relieved because his knees were completely shot from a lifetime of playing tennis.

He regaled us with stories about Cecil B. DeMille, Orson Welles, and other serious Names from his career. We learned about his marching with MLK when that was a very risky thing to do. He said he still grieved for MLK and the lost promise of a life too short.

While he was casually visiting with the client, in-between takes, I moved in to get some candids. When he became aware of my shooting, he stopped in mid-story and turned to me. Very calmly and politely he said "Sir, I would ask that you kindly refrain from photographing me right now while I am visiting with these fine people. After we are done here, I will be more than happy to pose for you." But he said this in his natural Moses voice. It was all I could to squeak "Yes sir."

He could read a recipe and give it gravitas.

It so happened that we rode to the Indy airport together. It was so cool to watch the sky cap and everyone else just freeze in awe when they recognized him. He was unfailingly polite and respectful to all.

I will always remember him as a man of dignity and grace. We have lost a real class act.

My portrait of him, autographed by him, is one of my most prized artifacts of my career.