Thursday, June 15, 2006

War Stories: Patience Is A Virtue

My friend Arthur Cohen came by this evening to drop-off my son after his son's birthday party. Arthur’s also a photographer. Maplewood, where we live, is just lousy with photographers ...we could qualify to have our own ASMP chapter with the ridiculous amount of photographers living here.

Anyway, Arthur was here and we were talking about long days and pulling really mean hours. I was saying that as a location guy, my clients definitely get their money’s worth out of me in the summer when the days are longer.

A couple of summers ago I had a shoot in Grand Rapids for Illume Magazine (Illume is published by the Tokyo Electric Power Company... yes, it’s a Japanese magazine). They were very interested in the Steelcase Corporate Development Center so my assistant and I flew out there to shoot this story on the CDC and their unique work environment called “Functional Inconvenience.”

The writer and the art director flew in from Tokyo to meet us there, and we had five days to shoot a lot of pictures. The art director, when expressing his needs for pictures of the CDC itself told me, “Uh Joe, we need drama!!” To me this meant that I had to get up well before dawn and go to bed well after sunset... and work the whole day in between.

Anyway, one morning we arrived in the dark and sat in the car until the sun started to brighten the sky. To my dismay, as it was becoming bright enough to be able to see, what I saw was a whole lot of fog. And through the fog I saw a whole lot of nothing. Bummer!

My assistant kept asking if we could go for coffee or breakfast or something, and I wanted to stay and see how much worse my luck could get. Well, it was pretty bad.

Until the sun rose over the side of the building. It cut through the haze like a laser while the building and the sky maintained a very delicate relationship. I think this is one of the nicest of the 4o or so variations I produced on the Steelcase CDC. Having the patience to just sit there and wait was difficult, but it paid-off in spades. As my grandmother used to say, “Good comes to those who wait.”


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