This is my new bird dog that is a English Setter. He is resting until bird season…………
I’m getting my 28 foot International Airstream ready for a month personal shoot. As soon as I finish the wonderful campaign I have been working on for Trump Hotel Collections and insure the client is happy with work. I’m off like a bad pair of shoes. Standby for reports from the road of my adventures and misadventures…………..
This guest posting on my blog will be the first of many from people I respect and have worked with in our wonderful industry. Leslie Edelman and I first met many years ago when she produced a project for me for GoRV with The Richard’s Group. She is a very dynamic person who can charm anyone to do ANYTHING………are you blushing Leslie…..:) I respect her because she comes from a fine art background and has been in our business for many years. She does not get frazzled and has a wealth of experience.
I asked her to post something that she felt passionate about, I think its right on and I truly appreciate this insight. Thank’s GURL!
A creative methodology to consider
I’ve always liked the line ‘You’ve come a long way’s baby…’
But, as far as we’ve all come in our careers, I love a healthy reminder of how to freshen my approach or perspective. In this wee-post, Im going to make some assumptions; you are either a client, a crew member or a shooter. I think I can speak for most of us, because together, we’ve explored the nooks and crannies of this fine business, considered ourselves lucky to have these dream jobs, and found our place within it.
We’re successful in this industry because we all have something in common; we’re collaborators. The best part of us might be creative or technically gifted, but still we all have to be professional and amazing at building relationships. This recently struck home for me, as I was writing thank-you notes to a couple of photographers that were not selected for a campaign. They both wrote back that no one ever does that anymore..and the rep thanked me as well. A thank you note for a thank you note? Well, it’s nice to be validated, but, digging deeper, what’s going on here?
Sure, you could say its relationship building but, more than that, we’re role playing a commitment model. Im committed to working with top talent, and they’re committed to being top talent. For some it comes easy..we’re in the habit of working within the ‘circle of trust’ (I love it when De Niro says it!) As a re-fresher I thought it would be fun to un-pack this old model and lightly walk through the methodology.
First the we need to acknowledge that TRUST and CARE are at the center of any relationship, whether it is a client, friend or family – you have to CARE in order to build TRUST. Creating commitments that build trust are key to supporting each other in work or home. We have all experienced that TRUST can erode over time, and its making commitments to each other that continually builds healthy productive relationships.
Next, the commitment model has for phases
1) Request / Offer
I hope this doesn’t sound ‘gooey’ – because some of the language here can sound like we’re ready to walk down the isle…but, walking through each phase with clarity gives each client or performer a chance to express their needs. You can see the client often kicks off the project with a request, then its up to the performer to ask for clarity and negotiate. It make a big difference when you ask someone; what would make this job go perfectly for you? And always remember to ask – ‘by when’ if it isn’t stated – not knowing or assuming the conditions of satisfaction can erode trust.
As we move through the circle of completing tasks, getting approvals and thanking the weather-god for a ‘foggy day’ (yes, Im in San Francisco) we often move on to the next project before the the one we’re in has been wrapped up. We all need to ‘close the loop’ not only with the big jobs, but, with every engagement we enter. It’s critical that we remember to CARE for our colleagues, friends, by taking the time to assess and give feedback.
When we give feedback, whether you’re being supportive, critical or destructive, ask yourself – are you acting within the commitment model or stepping out of the model by eroding trust? When we come from a place of caring and empathy – we help each other grow and be our best.
Don’t we all expect the people we work with to be their best? Not every moment, but they should know when to shine…and how can they do that, if we didn’t trust them? Or if we didn’t care? We exist in a circle of commitment, every moment. And, because we’re creative in a creative industry it can be expressed in a myriad of wonderful and unexpected ways. I know with Andy, I just tell him, ‘I’ll kick his ass next time I see him in SF & bring the Charmin!’ and he’ll be laughing thinking of all our bad jokes for days.
You know who you are; Thank YOU for the thank you notes, to my thank you – Im totally committed. Or after you’ve read this you probably think; committable.
How a few beers, some good friends and a handful of blues legends made a difference.
Andy Anderson has a deep connection to the south, its people and its music. He can never remember a time when the music of his childhood did not influence him. When I asked him to write about it and let us know how deep the the connection went, here is what he had to say.
“I grew up in the south during the 60s and 70s when funk music and the blues were all you listened to. I loved the honesty of it and how its roots were from gospel music. One of my fondest memories was when I was in Moon Lake, Mississippi. I was on a shoot in the middle of a cotton field. I heard music coming from a very small church and was drawn to it. I walked in and sat down in the very back. The church was packed. Picture this: No instruments. Men sitting on one side and woman on the other side. One side would sing and the other would sing a response.
I was transported. From that day on, the music never left me. I was inspired back then by the great blues legends and knew that I would always find a way to celebrate not only the music but the musicians as well.
Well, I got my first opportunity to do so when I was a staff photographer for Men’s Journal. I pitched and was assigned a story about Clarksdale, Mississippi where I spent 3 weeks traveling around the area photographing the people and places of this wonderful place.
One of the most memorable places I shot was at Junior Kimbrough’s place called “Juniors.” The particular Sunday night I was there was called, ”White folks night. ” I’m not joking!!! It was a blast and added to my love and appreciation for the music. It was on this shoot that I was able to make long lasting connections to some of incredible blues legends such as Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, and T-Model Ford to name a few.
Fast forward to 2007 and I was back home in Idaho having just returned from shooting some personal work in the Vicksburg, Mississippi area where I was once again inspired by the music and the people. I was with some buddies drinking beer and we started to talk about my trip. Many beers later we hatched the idea of putting on a Blues festival in our small town of Mountain Home, Idaho.
Anybody that knows me, understands once I have made my mind up well its… on.
We named the festival The Great Basin Blues Festival. The purpose of our festival was to showcase north Missippi blues music at a local venue and HAVE FUN. More importantly though, we decided that the proceeds of the festival would go to providing art scholarships to local high school kids.
So we went to work. We formed a non-profit group. We made calls. We called in favors. I called Robert Belfour, Cedric Burnside(grandson of RL Burnside), T-Model Ford, Malcolm Lightning, and Cadillac John and invited them to play. They were in!
We now needed posters to promote our event. I called on some my friends that I have know for years at The Richards Group. Jimmy Bonner, Kellyn McGarity and Rob Baker came to the rescue and produced some amazing posters for us. They were so powerful that they were short listed at Cannes in 2010.
Well you can see where is going. This year is our 4th year and it has been an amazing success. The community totally supports our event. Even The Idaho Statesman named our festival “THE BEST NEW FESTIVAL of 2007”
We have sent 7 talented artists to school with art scholarships and this week we will announce 2011 recipients of theGBBF scholarship awards.
I just LOVE this kind of stuff.
It is incredible to think back and realize that our shared passion for the people and music blossomed into something we never would have expected. Just a couple of guys having beers and talking blues.
I am proud in my involvement in this venture and I hope to inspire photographers to get involved in their communities or causes. We all know we are blessed to be able to how what we are passionate about, so now let’s spread the wealth. Giving back will enrich your life and most importantly it will enrich someone else’s even more . Whether it be bike races, fun runs, food drives, poetry reading, etc it doesn’t matter.
Just do SOMETHING.”