I’m always amazed how much you can find when you just spend a little time and look. Last month while working on a personal project, I stumbled upon this wildlife museum in International Falls, MN, The Sportsman Service Store and Museum to be exact. When you walk into the place you are immediately stared down by a grizzly bear. Me being curious I quickly started looking around. I found the taxidermy mounts to resemble a sideshow in Florida, with Northern Pike swallowing large trout and two-headed mallards. The museum has been around since the 30′s and local people donated the majority of the mounts. I’m an avid outdoorsman and the museum left me with very mixed feelings to say the least.
As anyone knows, the success to any project is doing your research. Bad info, or no info at all, is a bad deal. For years I spent endless hours researching locations, people, and countries to find out the info I needed to proceed with a shoot. Frankly, it’s a very tiresome job and I hated it…it was just not something I relished.
Not long ago I started handing this task over to a producer/researcher to do the legwork for me. This person must be well connected, organized, understand OUR culture of photography and LOVE photography to be good.
I think this is something more photographers should start incorporating into their quill to be more successful. It frees you up, while at the same time finding places and things to keep you curious. It’s not a glamorous job, but one that is extremely helpful in YOUR photo success. So think of that someone who can find things…a.k.a. a “PHOTO RESEARCHER”…someone who has connections and a love for the craft.
Well, I found my secret weapon…Ms. Cindy Hicks…I call her Ms. Cindy. Cindy has the needed pedigree to be all of the above and more. She worked as Head Art Buyer at THE MARTIN AGENCY for many years. First of all she LOVES photography, knows how to produce things and more important, FIND things.
Recently/currently we have been working on a few personal projects that I have wanted to shoot. With her background as an Art Buyer/Producer she has been able to find people and places I never thought possible which has proven her invaluable to me. Cindy FINDS things!
Just a little tech tip to let you all know what has worked for me…
Last week I headed to northern Minnesota’s Zippel Bay Resort to shoot pictures of the ice fishing sub-culture. I had no preconceptions of what, who, or where to photograph, so serendipity was in full play. Driving on frozen ice is something I have never done before, and it did not take me long to get used to it. So the minivan and I searched for subjects to photograph and I was rewarded straight away. After introducing myself to some “ice trolls” I found a group of folks that were on there annual fishing trip to Lake of the Woods. It’s something this group of gentlemen has been doing for 25 years. The only downfall was that my drinking abilities did not prepare me for the copious amount of beer that was downed. These folks invented drinking. Other than that, it was a amazing trip…enjoy!