Upload & Sell: On
Great images Nick! I think that I've been this busy for most of my career, 2008-2012 was a bit of a rocky road, but then is was for most everyone. The scale of my projects increases as time goes by, but I think that's partly a function of increased capability, technological advances in equipment, and a very loyal expanding client base that regularly refers their valued clients and associates to me.
Years ago I was given the opportunity to kind of specialize in the almost impossible, it scared me to death, but I couldn't walk away from the gauntlet. One day I was called in for a meeting with Trammell Crow and a couple of his closest top people. Mr. Crow and I had become close over a period of a couple of years and I was well on the way to becoming the companies go to guy for everything photographic. He was forming a "ventures" group that would identify performing and non-performing properties around the world, negotiate bulk purchases of these properties, whip them into shape and either continue to manage them, or sell the packages at a substantial profit. These were the precursors to REITS as we know them today.
Mr. Crow pulled me in early, before the other players were scheduled, and proceeded to give me a crash course on what I was going to be asked to do. Trammell was larger than life, but not in a verbose, bellicose way, and I loved every minute I spent around him. Anyway, we were sipping fresh squeezed orange juice at this huge marble boardroom table, just the two of us, and he leaned over and began to tell me that this new style of packaging commercial real estate depended upon financial analysis and photography, and timing was everything. The partners would formulate a list of the properties with contact names (some of whom had no idea the properties were about to change hands), they would courier the list to me and the games would begin. There was always a deadline date that was very critical, and hundreds of millions, to billions of dollars depended upon my meeting that deadline. Once the list was in my hands, I would sit down with a map of the US & Canada, look at the weather in every location for the next one to three weeks, pick a logical point to begin and head to DFW.
I have always been a guy who takes comfort in knowing what is going to happen next, so the uncertainty, and the logistics of something like Mr. Crow was describing to me had me contemplating where the nearest men's room was. The challenge, the honor of my relationship with him, and later all the partners, oh yeah, and the money!!, forced me to look this impossibility square in the face and go for it. I never knew how long I was going to be at any given property/city, so advance airfare was not an option. I'd check weather as I was shooting a property in Virginia, with the next planned location in NY, but the weather was turning and the next best choice was a property in Northern California, so I'd get on the phone and book the next flight from where I was to SFO, then fly back to NY if the weather cleared, or someplace else it it worked. Numerous times I'd land somewhere and get a page (this was pre-celluar), from Mr. Crow or a partner telling me that the property I was headed to had just been pulled from the mix. I'd turn around, drop my rental car off, look at the weather and get on the next flight to somewhere that made sense.
Upon completion of the first package which had two dozen locations around the US, I landed back in Dallas, had prearranged to have my lab stay open all night to process my film, and I booked a room at Mr. Crow's Anatole Hotel a few minutes from the lab in case they needed me for something. I organized the slides in pages according to property and had them on Mr. Crow's desk when he walked in the next morning, 2 days ahead of our deadline.From that point on, there was nothing that they could throw at me that would phase me, I'd just launch off and get after it. There were no budgets, whatever it took to get my part of the project done was never questioned. Mr. Crow pioneered these kinds of packages, but other big real-estate investment groups piled on when they began to get wind of what Trammell Crow Companies/Trammell Crow Ventures was up to. I guess a lot of photographers took a look at the schedules, locations and the pressure and begged off, because it wasn't too long before Mr. Cow had referred me to Jones, Lang LaSalle, JP Morgan, and host of other huge investment entities. I'd get a call from some muckety muck in NY who would say, "Trammell says you can do anything, we need you!", and off I'd go.
Funny how the Good Lord works, He knew that I would have to get over having to know what comes next, if I was going to make a success of this photography thing, or even life in general, so he put me in a position that I couldn't refuse that would literally beat that out of me. Sure there are still times at 4:30 in the shower that I'm thinking what in the world have I gotten into, but it always seems to work out, and the experiences sure help to put you ahead of the pack in on the go problem solving.