Upload & Sell: On
Don't know if I ever shared this story with you all, stop me if I did.....
About thirty years ago, in the era of one Nikon and two lenses, my lighting gear consisted of a Novatron power pack ( which I think was powered by four double A batteries , two heads, and a couple of Lowe's trouble light fixtures and some soft white bulbs. I was asked to present my portfolio to a marketing director for a major development company. Why I was asked remains a mystery to this very day. I scrambled and put together a portfolio of 10" prints mounted on black mat board, beautifully packaged in a custom made portfolio presentation case. This was a bit of a stretch for the CEO of a photographic enterprise with a negative net worth and a VW diesel Jetta, but it was a crack at the gold ring so I felt compelled to do what I could to put on a pro face.
I arrived for the presentation and was informed that the director was in a meeting and would be out at some point. Two hours passed, I'd like to say quickly, but I'd be fibbing. 120 + minutes of increasing nauseatic anxiety as I sat in the lobby becoming more and more aware of what I already knew, I wasn't low on the totem pole, I was not even on the totem pole.
Somewhere between hour two and three, a whirling dervish in high heels stormed out, told me she had less than five minutes and asked what I had to show her. I opened my "custom made" portfolio case and began to show her my work. She grabbed the stack of mat boards, when through them like Grant went through Richmond and tossed them on and beyond the coffee table in front of us. She looked at me, said, "Well, I'm out of time, your work is mediocre at best, I have to go..." In a split second I found myself facing two choices, the first would have provided me with no end of personal satisfaction, but closed the door on any possibility of work. The second, in an instant of Divine inspiration, gave me the discipline and clarity to look her in the eyes, extend my hand, and simply say, "Thank you for taking time from your schedule to review my work. If you ever find that you need a mediocre photographer, I would love to work with you...."
The demoralized drive home in Dallas traffic took an hour or so. When I arrived home there was a message from Ms. Wolfe (seemed a most appropriate name at the time). She was calling to hire me for an assignment the next day. We became very good friends, for ten years, until the company fell victim to the resolution trust debacle, despite their best efforts, no other photographer had a prayer of shooting for this women, her company or any company she exercised any influence over. I've got to say, it was the most remarkable, and unlikely transformation of a situation that I have ever witnessed, or experienced.
A year or so after our first meeting, Donna laughed and said, "Do you remember the first time we met?" I smiled and said, "Yes." She laughed and said, "I was so caught off guard by 'your call me if you find you need a mediocre photographer' statement, and the fact that you put up with my rudeness and tossing your portfolio all over the room, without so much as a blink, that I simply had to work with you and see what you were all about."
That one situation taught me much as it unfolded over the years of assignments and the great relationship that grew out of it. I will tell you without reservation, if that situation arose again tomorrow, I would handle it exactly the same way.
I guess my point in telling this story is, don't let anyone, anyone discourage you from pursuing what you believe to be your right course. I realize not everyone can start a business with the formidable foundation of an old camera body, two lenses and an assortment of 25/60/75 watt incandescent bulbs but believe in yourself, in your talent, in what your heart tells you that you can do and then go do it.