Looking at old photographs brings back memories and makes us feel nostalgic;
it is like a time machine bringing us to the time
and places where we can see and feel everything in details.
I know I shared the photo above as a Throwback Thursday image a couple of years ago, but having just come back from WPPI recently, it's appropriate to share again and here's why.
If you were at the 2019 WPPI awards program, it was one of the longest in their history. Too many awards, too many speakers and too much fluff. Sheila and I had an early flight the next morning and left after 2 1/2 hours, and they still had albums, videos and Arlene Evans presenting the Bill Hurter Memorial Award to go, which was the reason we attended in the first place.
As negative as all of that sounds, it's a good thing, because Arlene is back as WPPI Director and one of her strongest qualities is listening. Every organization goes through transitions, and you can count on next year's event being more concise, short and with greater impact.
Plus, the number of categories, and in turn awards presented this year, were considerably more than we had twelve years ago.
I know it's not the greatest scan in the world, but the album is too big for my flatbed. The image was a spread, and the gutter runs right through J.B. Sallee. Regardless, nothing takes away from the fun of the photograph.
Late in 2004, Maureen Neises from Graphi Studio had an idea - to do a day-in-the-life album of WPPI each year. This was the third in the series. Each book featured the work of four different photographers who were given the assignment to capture the WPPI story. Catherine Hall captured the images in this post. That's twelve years ago, and most of you should recognize a lot of the award winners from that year. Many of them are still competing, shooting and continuing on their quest to be the very best!
The other two images are about Arlene and her love for photography. Few people in this industry can match her enthusiasm and passion for the craft as well as support for professional photographers. The fact that she's back "driving the WPPI bus," is one of the best things to happen to the organization for a long time!
I was with WPPI/Rangefinder Magazine for seven years and these photographs, along with others in the Graphi album, take me right back to that convention. It was the awards program where Tony Corbell and I were the MCs, and Ron Dawson launched one of the industry's funniest spoof videos, "Disgruntled Joe," first shown that night.
In the photograph at the bottom Tony Corbell is presenting an award with Arlene to Christian LaLonde.
There are several great reasons to take the time once a week and look at old images. First, they take us back to moments and memories in our lives. Second, they remind us of the importance of what we do for a living - we help people magically stop time. And last but not least, it's the perfect marketing tool for your blog, and reminding "Mom" it's time for a new family portrait!
So, were you there and how many of the 2007 top award winners do you recognize?
Happy Throwback Thursday!
I know I shared the picture above a few years back, but wandering through my archives in Shutterfly, I recently ran across a few more from that trip to Catalina Island.
Years ago somebody said to me that diving isn't a hobby, it's a sickness. Well, my obsession with being in the water as much as possible for many years after I got certified is proof that it's true.
Two things always made a scuba trip special. First is the obvious appreciation for everything you see and feel when you're underwater. For example, floating off the side of the wall in Grand Cayman and looking down a few miles into the darkness I always felt that it was as close to what an astronaut must feel floating in outer space.
Second, diving is about friends, and I'm hanging out with two of my favorite dive buddies in this throwback post, Kayce Baker and Bob Rose. We've done dozens of trips all over the world together, and for these images and the week's trip down Memory Lane, it was just a day trip to Catalina Island off the coast of Los Angeles.
The water's cold, so it was my first time in a heavy wet suit, but it wasn't my first time getting lost. True to form, my sense of direction is equally bad under the water or above! Kayce said, "We'll meet you at the red ball." I dropped in and went to the red ball and sat on the bottom of the ocean for 20 minutes. They never appeared, and I never noticed there were at least three red balls. Seriously, who loses their buddies in a roped off underwater park?
They're all grab-shots and will never win an award for composition, but they sure do win prizes for smiles and throwbacks. Photographs bring back memories, often so vivid that you feel like they just happened yesterday.
If you haven't taken the time yet today to look through some of your older images, take the time this evening. Old photographs are a great reminder of the career path we've all chosen in imaging and the power of every picture's ability to tell a story! And, use some of those old photographs on your blog to remind your audience how quickly time flies. You're the magician who can stop time and give "Mom" the ability to hold memories of her family in her hands forever, or until it's time to do the next family portrait!
It's Throwback Thursday and at the risk of sending some of you screaming at me for writing another post about Molly the Wonder Dog, today isn't about any sadness, but a process utterly foreign to me.
While I've experienced the loss of friends and family over the years, most of the time it was because of old age. I never had a dog from puppy through adulthood. Having Molly by my side for over 13 years left a void I've never experienced.
It was this video that got me smiling and bringing back some of the great memories. I was in a daily state of sadness. Even though so many of you commented, especially on Facebook, and reminded me the pain I was feeling was normal, that didn't change the misery I felt at letting Molly go.
Looking back through old photographs and files; I came across this video. It's been in my private channel on YouTube for a few years now, but just too much fun not to share.
Here's the backstory on the video:
Molly grew up in California. When we moved to Ohio in April of 2009 her first winter soon followed. She loved chasing tennis balls, and a little snow wasn't going to stop her. She was only four years old in the video. Up until the day before I lost her two weeks ago at almost 14, she was still chasing balls.
This was one of my first videos with a little FLIP camera, and the music was in the selection of what they offered for free use at the time. While the video will never win any awards for production values, it's a winner for making me smile. She never misses a ball, no matter how deep it's buried in the snow, and her tail never misses a beat of the music!
Do I still hurt and grieve? Absolutely, but I'm amazed at how many of you have shared your own stories about your pets. It's that unconditional love they share with us every minute of every day, and when they're gone, it leaves a monstrous hole.
The bottom line is just like all of you; I'm work in progress. It's a horrible experience to lose a pet, but it would be far worse if they weren't in our lives at all.
One of the things Facebook does well is supply all of us with an ongoing collection of memory makers from previous posts and shared images. They come up on your home page and often seem like completely random moments out of the past.
Well, this morning's post couldn't have been more fun to receive. It was a shot by Matthew J Wagner captured at WPPI 2009 as I introduced Blues Traveler at the Nikon party, which is to this day the biggest event of its kind WPPI has ever thrown.
We took over the MGM's Garden Arena with attendance at the convention itself being over 12,000 people that year. It was one of the toughest conventions we had ever put together because of the year after year growth.
John Popper and Blues Traveler played that night with a few thousand photographers demonstrating their ability to "work hard play hard!" It was a fantastic convention, but at the time I had no idea I would decide to resign and start my own business six weeks later.
Why I left Rangefinder and WPPI is no longer relevant, but what is fun is to look back on the last ten years, and the pride I have in the friendships that came out of my time there as president. Many of those friends are still in the industry, and we're in touch all the time, and always catching up at WPPI.
I know I shared the group shot above in a post a few years back, but here are some other fun snipets from 2009.
The Show Guide cover was an image by Bambi Cantrell
The Hy Sheanin winner was Sarah Jane Sanders
The Monte Zucker Humanitarian Award went to Kevin Kubota
The WPPI Lifetime Achievement Award went to Bill Hurter.
Bill Hurter sadly passed away four years ago, but for those of you who never had the privilege of meeting him, so much of what WPPI still is today is thanks to Bill, especially print competition. He was one of the finest editors in the industry, and his passion for photography was unmatched. He never anticipated the Life Time Achievement Award, but what an honor it was to be part of the surprise and catch him speechless.
What so many of you don't realize is the work that goes into any convention like WPPI. We used to get a break for a few months after each show and then slowly start ramping up. As the show grew, time off afterwards disappeared. Today, it's nonstop all year long.
But here's one more point, the fun of Throwback Thursday. Old photographs take us back to moments out of the past that feel like they were yesterday. Even with today's initial share by Facebook, I called Matthew to make sure he was okay with me using the image that started the trip down Memory Lane this morning. He commented the concert that the night was when he became a Blues Traveler fan. And while I couldn't get in touch with Kenny, he gave us permission years back to share images like the one above and has documented so much of WPPI's events over the years. Click on either image to see more of Matthew's work or Kenny's.
If you haven't taken a quick trip down Memory Lane yet today, it's Throwback Thursday - what are you waiting for? Old photographs help remind us of the incredible career field we've all chosen, and with WPPI coming up next week, there are sure to be a few more. What a kick!
It's not Throwback Thursday, but some dates come up in our lives when we do a flashback to other times, loved ones who have passed and great memories. Well, today is my mother's birthday, and even though she passed away several years ago, it doesn't change the fun of looking at old photographs, especially when they're hand-colored!
While I've shared a couple of these before, it's still a kick to look at them and be reminded of the incredible career field we've all chosen. As I've written numerous times, except for modern medicine, no industry has given the world more than photography. You guys are the real magicians of the world, stopping time and giving your clients intangible memories they can physically hold and enjoy for a lifetime.
So, to Mom, Happy Birthday! Alzheimer's took you from us too early, but it never took away the loving memories, the laughs or the stories we're still sharing and cherishing! And to all of you, when you hit those special dates that remind you of something in your past, take the time to find some of those old photographs. They'll help remind you of how much your clients, family, and friends appreciate and need your skill set as a photographer!
A big thanks to Bambi Cantrell for the images she captured in 2008 of my folks. It was early on in my mother's battle with Alzheimer's, but through the fight, that never slowed down her beauty or the wonderful outlook she had on life.
In April 2009 I left Rangefinder/WPPI, finally having the courage to fulfill a dream of being a true entrepreneur. For years I had lived vicariously through so many of you and with the help from a lot of friends decided to head out on my own. Also, like so many of you, I was scared to death.
As I wrote a few years back, I remember Sheila asking me, "So what are you afraid of?" My answer couldn't have been more direct or honest, "Failing!" That should sound familiar to some of you, especially those who think they're alone on those days when self-confidence is at a minimum. Well, here we are ten years later, and my business keeps changing and growing, but there's one common denominator - I wake up smiling every morning, excited about the day ahead.
I recently ran across this PDF of the speaker side of a double page ad we ran in 2010. The first program was in 2009, and this was the second one. In all honesty, it was even better than the first year with approximately 350 people in attendance and a speaker lineup that was top shelf. Las Vegas was still hurting because of the economy, and the MGM gave us a great package with minimal requirements on the room block, food, and beverage spending, etc. It gave us the ability to put together a great series of programs at a minimal cost to the attendees.
The program morphed into Skip Cohen University and ran every summer through 2013, which was also the year we started the SCU blog. I chose to discontinue the program because of the changing landscape of photographic education. The Internet was providing some terrific online education; more speakers were doing their own tours, and the big conventions were battling it out with more workshops and hands-on programming. Like many other great workshops, it became harder and harder to pull together. But, as one door closes, another opens and SCU, speaking requests, and writing for several magazines changed the path of my journey once more.
The industry is always changing, and it was interesting that out of fifteen different sponsors we had that year, seven of them no longer exist. But here's what does exist - the friendships that come out of all of our passion for the industry and this business.
And there's one more thing that hasn't changed...people's attention span and their ability to draw assumptions based on what they see rather than what they read. Anybody want to take bets on how many people contact me wanting to know where the program is going to be held this August? LOL
Happy Throwback Thursday!
It's Throwback Thursday, and if you're going to do it right each week, you'll notice how it starts to become an art form. A throwback image is anything you want it to be, as long as you have to jump into the "way-back machine" to appreciate it.
Appreciation comes in all forms, but for me, it's often split between our roots and technology. I love old photographs, especially when they tie into family. Black and white images are in all our roots in photography. There are few photos more fun to look at than old classic black and white portraits.
That's Sheila's great grandmother, Kitty Gentry on the left, and my great grandparents on the right. My guess is there's about a ten-year span between when the images were taken, Kitty being first, around 1865.
As I follow the worldwide crisis with immigration today, I can't help but think about the story of my own family landing in NYC and getting off the boat from Russia. Then there were the challenges Sheila's family faced when her great grandfather married a full-blooded Cherokee.
A few years ago I sat in on a terrific workshop with Beverly and Tim Walden. They talked about their portrait business. They position each portrait session as much more than a photograph but the creation of a fine art family heirloom. They're not creating stunning portraits, but art to be handed down from generation to generation. They even do a certificate of authenticity on the back, establishing its value as a memory to be savored for years to come.
We're an industry of magic, and as sappy as you might think it sounds, we help people stop time, capture memories and turn them into tangible moments to be cherished forever. Sheila and I love these two old photographs, and in fact, Kitty's in an antique frame and hangs in a corner in our home.
I always suggest you use Throwback Thursday as a marketing tool in your blog to remind your target audience of the power of old photographs and the importance of capturing today's memories. But you also need to look at old images for yourself. In the day-in-day-out challenges of business, it's so easy to forget the value of what photography gives the world.
So, take the time today to dig through some of those old family prints and take a walk down Memory Lane! You won't regret it.
One of the best things about my lifetime career in this industry has been the adventures over the years. I have photographs and digital files everywhere. I found this 5x5 print recently tucked away in a file drawer and it's a testimonial to memory-making.
That's me, Tony Corbell and Duncan MacNab on the annual snowmobile trip to Yellowstone. I have no idea why I was holding a can of SPAM, but what a kick to look back on these trips.
For ten years, every winter, a group of us flew into Bozeman and headed to Yellowstone for three days with a ton of camera gear. It was before all the restrictions on sleds in the park, so we had almost complete freedom and typically covered 300+ miles over the short trip. The idea started with just Bob Thompson, Duncan, Chris Kent and me, and eventually grew to 25 people, almost all from the photo industry.
On one day each trip, we'd ride up to "Two Top." If I remember right, the elevation was around 9000 feet. Duncan had a gas grill on runners he'd tow to the top. Equipped with everything, for a backyard barbecue the smell of cheeseburgers and grilled onions were in the air within minutes. I remember another group on snowmobiles showing up as we were having lunch. The WTF expression on their faces watching a group around a grill on a remote mountain top was priceless.
The view at Two Top was incredible, and you could see for miles. Temperatures hit well below zero and between the wind and the snow Mother Nature created a new art exhibit on the trees and bushes every day. This shot of a "Snow Dragon" was one of my favorites.
Use your throwback images as a marketing tool on your blog. Old photographs showing changes in style, your family growing up, etc. are perfect reminders for most of you to share with your target audience. Remind "Mom" how fast things are changing in her family and the importance of an updated family portrait. And, if you don't like to share old photographs, take the time to appreciate them just for yourself. They're a great reminder of the importance of this industry and the magic you can deliver to every client.
It's been a little while since I jumped in the way-back machine and posted for Throwback Thursday. That doesn't mean I gave it up, only that I wasn't sharing old memories in blog posts. I still take a few minutes at least once a week to wander through an old album or look through my archives of old images. Why? Because they remind me of my journey in this industry. Every old photograph brings back so many memories.
I always suggest professional photographers use Throwback Thursday as a marketing tool to remind your readers how fast time flies; how much their family's changing every day and the need to capture those memories with tangible photographs. But, even if you don't share your throwbacks, take the time to look through old images and enjoy the memories they bring out. Do it for your own enjoyment.
Speaking of memories, today's post is perfect for the first throwback of 2019! I found a copy of the June 2002 issue of Rangefinder Magazine. I saved it because it was the last published issue before I joined the company that July. Over the next couple of years, we'd build one of the best teams in publishing and conventions, taking the magazine to over 350 pages.
I apologize for the quality of the scans, but it was the best I could do. Check out the winners from WPPI that year, which was held at the Tropicana with attendance around 3,000. It was the last small show WPPI had, moving to Bally's the following year. A few years later we took over both Bally's and Paris, and when we ran out of space there, it was over to the MGM Grand.
Whether you enter prints in competition or not, get yourself into Las Vegas a day early and take the time to sit in on the judging. It's one of the very best educational opportunities at each convention. It was also one of my most favorite events, and it brought out a lot of stunning work. Four of the winners in the wedding category that year were Joe Buissink, Ken Sklute, Frank Cava and Joe Photo. They're all active photographers today and Joe Buissink's print from that year hung in our office for many years.
I also had some fun looking at the ads. I couldn't help sharing the one below, featuring my good buddy Matthew Jordan Smith. While his equipment has changed over the years, nothing has changed in his love for photography or his ability to create stunning images. Over the past eighteen years, since publishing Sepia Dreams in 2001, Matthew's become one of the industry's leading educators, speaker, author, blogger and a good friend to so many of us. He's an artist who should be on everybody's radar.
And here's my point for Throwback Thursday today - take the time to walk down Memory Lane. If you don't feel like scrolling through an old album, find an old photography magazine and have as much fun as I did this morning looking at old ads, articles, and photographs. Pay attention to how styles have changed. And, as much as technology has changed, giving us more creative tools that at any time in history, the industry has never budged on the importance of quality, creativity, and your passion for the craft.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
I'm not sure when Photographers Ignite got started, but I do know for several years it was one of my most favorite events at WPPI. Kevin Kubota made it all happen, and the concept couldn't be easier to understand.
Each speaker had five minutes to make their presentation with 20 slides that automatically advanced every 15 seconds. The speaker had no control over their slides except in the initial creation before submitting their program.
Think about the concept of having to be so concise that you had to cover all your key points in just five minutes! There were some stellar presentations, and this one from my buddy Scott Bourne was one of the best.
Well, it's Throwback Thursday and this video from seven years ago is a classic and the perfect reminder of so many different ideas to help you build a stronger better business. And, looking back there are some fun things to point out:
Scott continues to share a lot of wisdom to help you build a stronger business and raise the bar on your skill set. The best way to keep track of what he's doing is to follow him on Facebook. As the President of Skylum Software and a spokesman for Olympus, he's sharing outstanding content every day!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
It's Throwback Thursday and while I shared these techniques many years ago, the more photographers I "meet" online, the more relevant understanding lighting technique has become. There are so many of you who could raise the bar on the quality of your portraits with better lighting!
In 1999, Don Blair and I published Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts. That's 19 years ago, and the information we shared in this book will never go out of date. The whole idea for a book like this started during one of Don's programs when somebody sitting near me said, "This is great stuff - there should be a book on this!"
Well, the sweetheart of Don's life, his wonderful wife Donna, had passed away a year or so earlier and the project started with a dual purpose - to help photographers improve their portraiture and to give Don something to help take his mind off the pain of a broken heart. I remember being on the road with him several times, and he'd always buy a rose and put it on the pillow next to him as his own tribute to Donna.
We did all the photography for the book in Las Vegas with models from the area because we wanted to introduce the book at WPPI the following year with a program that included the same models. Tony Corbell, Terry Deglau joined us as we storyboarded each page on the wall of the hotel room where we were shooting. Remember, there was no digital imaging then - every shot for the book was first captured on a Polaroid proof. Bambi Cantrell later added the finishing touch with the author's portrait for the back page on the right.
The fun of today's post has two parts. First, so many of you need to understand the basic principles of good lighting, and it doesn't get any easier than to share Don's examples, complete with diagrams. Second, what a kick to take this walk down Memory Lane. Even though I've shared some of the backstories about Body Parts before, "Big Daddy" was one of the most loved photographers in the industry. I think about our adventures together all the time. It's a great reminder why the memories we help people capture are so important!
If you need help in improving your portrait technique, technology has changed a lot, and Marathon Press can still print the book, but no longer have it in stock. If you've got an interest let me know in the comment section and I'll pass on the information.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
The year is '94 and we're in NYC at Javits for what later would become PPE. This was the Hasselblad sales force working the show together with the some of the staff, Tony Corbell, Chuck Gutierrez, Don Snyder, Rudy Guttosch, Carl Claesson and Jim Morton. For a relatively short time Staffen Junel was world wide CEO based out of Sweden.
The Hasselblad University programs were becoming legendary with one tour after another of great workshops. Tony joined the team as Dean of Hasselblad Univeristy and was instrumental in putting together some outstanding programs.
Throwback Thursday is the perfect time to wander down Memory Lane. Take the time to look through those old photographs you've got stashed away - they bring back so many memories and are a reminder of the incredible importance we provide as an industry!
It's Throwback Thursday and for the second week in a row, I've got my old buddy Bob Nunn to thank for some great material. Wandering through his album of throwback photographs these two were duplicates and now represent classic memories in my own stash.
I joined Hasselblad USA in 1987. NASA had been flying with Hasselblads since '62 and with the majority of flights somebody from the company was involved. I believe Hasselblad cameras were on every flight for over 40 years.
Astronaut Charles Conrad captured the image above in November 1969. It's astronaut Alan Bean holding a soil sample from the moon's surface and it's the 49th anniversary of that image this week!
However, depending on what publication you research, there's also a description that suggests the image is Neil Amstrong with Buzz Aldrin reflected in the visor of his helmet. And, if somebody knows for sure, feel free to let me know.
One of the best advertising campaigns about Hasselblad was in the mid-80's with a tagline of, "Fifteen years ago NASA left twelve cameras on the moon. We bet they still work!" It was the perfect testimonial to Hasselblad's legendary quality.
I love the simplicity of this portrait of Wally Schirra holding his Hasselblad. He was the first to take a Hasselblad camera into space, an off-the-shelf 500C that he bought at a local Houston camera dealer.
As much as I love this history of Hasselblad in space, my own brush with greatness came one day in the office. Chuck Gutierrez was on the phone and as usual, I wandered into his office without knocking to ask him something. He quickly turned and went "Sshhh!" He was patched into the space shuttle through NASA and was taking one of the astronauts through the steps to clear a jammed lens!
I write the same close to just about every Throwback Thursday post - take the time once a week to wander through your old photographs. You'll find every image brings back memories you've often forgotten about. Then, use some of those images and share them in blog posts for your readers.
Women make 98% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories. For most of you that means "Mom." So, use throwback images to remind her how fast the kids are growing and the importance of updating the family portrait and creating new memories. Plus, it's holiday season and now is the perfect time to plant the seed for holiday gift ideas featuring photographs!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
Part of the fun of Throwback Thursday comes when you're hanging out with old friends, and you start going through their stash of old photographs!
A few days before PPE in New York a few weeks ago, Sheila and I flew in and headed down to Bob and Kathi Nunn's down near Tom's River, NJ. Bob and I have been friends since the late 80's when I joined Hasselblad. He was at Agfa, who had a huge presence in the industry back then. A few years later he joined Hasselblad as National Sales Manager.
Going back to his Agfa days, we were both involved in PMDA, the Photographic Manufacturers and Distributors Association. We were both on the Board, and he served as President of the association for a term as well.
Bob, like me, is a memory hoarder! LOL Although today successful in residential real estate on the Jersey shore, his office walls and shelves are loaded with wonderful reminders of his career in the photographic industry. He pulled out an album one night, and the memories and the stories flowed!
The year is 1990, and the event is the special event PMDA Dinner, which once a year took place at the United Nations in the delegate's dining room. Casper Weinberger was the guest speaker and surrounding him are the members of the PMDA Board at the time.
Like every Throwback Thursday post I share, the photograph brings back a lot of great memories.
A few years ago, PMDA joined forces with PMAI (Photo Marketing Association International) to form the Imaging Alliance. While the names of the two organizations may have changed, the dedication of the people involved is still focused on their passion and support of the photographic industry.
To further develop and advance the imaging industry through our collective efforts
and to attract and serve alliance partners.
Use your own Throwback images on your blog as a great marketing tool to remind your audience of the importance of capturing memories, and the need to update their family portraits. And, if you're not sharing old photographs on your blog, take the time to go through them today regardless, for your own benefit. There's very little that beats a walk down Memory Lane to remind you of the importance imaging plays in all of our lives!
Just trust me on this and grab a morning or afternoon coffee and sit back for a chuckle break.
I shared this video put together by Ben Aaron five years ago but it's such a classic, and the epitome of spirit and humor in a group of senior citizens in New Jersey. There's even a short story about how I wound up using it.
Ben Aaron is no stranger to the media in the NY/Nj area. "Benjamin "Ben" Aron Colonomos is a New York City-based media personality formerly for NBCUniversal's LXTV and WNBC's New York Live, and for the nationally syndicated Crazy Talk television series." I've never met Aaron, but did talk to him on the phone.
I've been active with the Friendship Centers here in Sarasota and for several years published their blog. Looking for fun senior content one morning five years ago I stumbled across this video. I loved it and even though it was posted on Ben's YouTube channel, I called him directly to make sure it was okay to use with a blog post for the Friendship Centers.
Today I'm active on the Board of the Friendship Centers and the enthusiasm of the people I've met and worked with for so many years amazes me. From 250,000 meals on wheels delivered in past years to thousands of people who have been helped through Health Services, adult day care and a never-ending stream of special programs, the organization has played a huge role in the area.
Sharing this video is also a great way to remind you to get involved in your community. People like supporting companies they perceive as giving back. So, use your blog to remind your target audience that you're more than just an artist - you're an active member of the community!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
The impact of searching through old albums for throwback photographs often comes in what you can learn from the images themselves. And, the fun begins in what you find.
It's October and my Dad's birthday is coming up. On Halloween this year it would have been his 96th birthday. While he passed away almost three years ago, nothing takes away from the love I'll always have for him or the fun of looking through an old album.
The portrait above I'm guessing was taken around 1935 or 1936 putting him at thirteen or fourteen. But there are a few things in the process to appreciate. First, the hand-coloring by the photographer. Thanks to Luminar 2018, I was able to match the image almost exactly to the original print after scanning it. I love the slight touch of pink on his face, while the rest of the image was completely untouched. Second, check out the feel the photographer added with the narrow depth of field. And finally, comes the decision to give the backdrop a little color making it almost tropical - which is pretty funny considering the portrait would have been done in Cleveland!
But I didn't stop there in my search for a few fun old photographs. Going through another album, I found this one from Patrick Henry Junior High School. My guess is that Dad's about 16 here, but here's another piece of the fun of Throwback Thursday. The caption says it's Chorus Club. While I knew Dad was in the band, I had no idea until this morning that he sang in the chorus!
And, over there on the far right is Pop!
One last thing that's fun for me. Dad had an almost full head of hair right up to the day he passed away. Years ago Joe Buissink shared a line about health challenges, "You can't hide from bad genes!" Well, you can't hide from good ones either. Although supposedly keeping your hair runs on the mother's side of the family tree, apparently I was lucky enough to get Dad's genes when it comes to hair!
I've written so much about Throwback Thursday being a great marketing tool to remind your clients of how fast the kids are growing up, the family's changing and the magic of stopping time and capturing memories. But, sometimes searching for throwback images is all about your heart and putting a smile on your face that lasts all day long.
So, whether for your blog content or just for your own enjoyment, take the time once a week to look through those old photographs. It's a great way to remember the contribution photography makes to the world every day and how great it is to be a part of this amazing industry.
And as sappy as all of that sounds, it's exactly why I wake up every day and dive out of bed with a smile on my face!
Earlier this week I was thinking about what I wanted to share for Throwback Thursday, and I was stumped until Cindy Smith shared a memorial post about Don Blair, yesterday on Facebook. Don passed away fourteen years ago. Well, there it was, the perfect topic for today's Throwback Thursday.
I'm guessing at least half my readership never knew Don Blair directly, but indirectly, you probably do something today you learned over the years from somebody who did know him or was influenced by his style. He was a remarkable photographer, educator and somehow became the older brother I never had!
Loved by an entire industry, if ten of us who knew him well got together right now and started telling "Big Daddy" stories, we'd still be sharing the laughs tomorrow morning, and with more material to share. So, in keeping with Throwback Thursday here's one of my favorites:
I joined Hasselblad USA in July 1987. In 1988 I attended my first PPA convention, and on the first morning of the show, we were in the coffee shop of the hotel. On my way out I was introduced to the legend himself. Knowing who he was, I was totally star-struck and close to speechless. This was also back in the days when I wore nothing but double-breasted suits at every conference, doing my best to look the part of the president of Hasselblad USA.
Don gave me a warm welcome with a big handshake and smile and looked me up and down and said, "My man, that's a good-looking suit, and I love that tie!" I was flattered and responded with, "Thanks, it's one of my favorites." With a completely straight face, he looked at me and said, "Hang on to it - one of these days it's going to come back in style!"
That was it - he nailed me and complete with an audience of his "nieces" at the table behind him. Little did I know that short "gotcha" would kick off an incredible friendship that would continue for the next sixteen years!
I can't top what Cindy Smith wrote in her post yesterday:
14 years ago the photographic industry lost a dear friend....Wanted to share some words of wisdom from Don Blair...
When Don's beloved wife Donna passed away, there was a whole bunch of us from the industry who attended her funeral. We were all sitting together, having lunch at the repast, when Don walked by and said to somebody in the group, "Hey Numbnuts!" All of us turned around and said, "What?" A year or so later somebody made up golf shirts, and I was proud to be "Numb 1," and I've still got the shirt!
Wishing everybody a terrific Throwback Thursday and memories as wonderful as the ones I have with Don Blair. There's a great line from Alfred Lord Tennyson that I've shared before, "I am a part of all that I have met."
I learned so much from "Big Daddy" and like many of you who met him, he's a part of us.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
And to the man himself, I love ya and miss ya, pal!
The fun of Throwback Thursdays goes way beyond just finding old photographs. Throwbacks are all about the memories they bring back. Whoever said you can never go back, didn't spend enough time looking at old photographs!
I'm not sure I'm right on the dates on this one but I know it's in the early '90's and I remember the show being WPPI. Jim Morton is the first one on the left and did an incredible job at every show getting the booth set up and giving each convention a more professional look for Hasselblad.
I also found out when I left Hasselblad that Jim used to leave something easy to fix just to keep me out of his hair. There were always some prints to hang or straighten out, and for all those years I thought it was my talent for displays he needed! LOL But that's one more thing about Throwback Thursday, it brings back some incredible memories about the friendships that grow out of working together.
Mike Bowen is next to Jim. Mike and I worked together for many years at Polaroid. He came to work at Hasselblad and passed away much too young, 7-8 years ago. He was the Sales Manager for New England, and did an outstanding job. This was one of his first conventions in his new role.
And that brings me full circle to WPPI. I think this was the first year WPPI was at the RIO Hotel but it could also be the Tropicana. If somebody wants to challenge me on that, feel free. I noticed Art Leather's booth in the background. They were a powerhouse in the album business at that time and in fact, one of the biggest in the country. Plus, that year there were probably only 6-8 album companies doing business in the US. Ten years later there would be 40+ albums companies exhibiting at WPPI.
It was a fantastic show in the early days, even with attendance at approximately 3000 people. It was all about family. Every show was a reunion of great friends, educators, and attendees. Years later I'd have people tell me how the Hasselblad guys were always too well-dressed. I was told we became less intimidating when we went more casual.
Take the time today and dig through a box of old pictures. If you use it for your blog content, make a point to remind "Mom," the target audience for most of you, how fast the kids are growing, and her family is changing. Plant the seed for a new family portrait this holiday season. And, if you don't want to share your throwbacks, still take the time to appreciate those old photographs.
We're in the business of helping people capture memories, and while that's such an over-used expression, so often we forget about the importance of taking our own trips down Memory Lane.
I left WPPI and Rangefinder Magazine in 2009 to follow a dream - starting my own business. We were in the middle of the worst recession, at least in my lifetime, and I was headed off to pursue a dream to fulfill my entrepreneurial spirit. For years I'd followed so many of you vicariously as business owners, and nine years ago we launched the first Skip's Summer School.
Most of my family thought I was nuts and there were more than just a few friends who felt the same way. But I ran across an anonymous quote around that time that says it all:
I do it because I can.
I can because I want to.
I want to because you said I couldn't.
I've shared the group shot above in at least one other post, but this was the team who made it all happen that first summer. We started in Las Vegas at the MGM, and because of the economy at the time and Vegas hurting for business, there was no room block commitment, no minimum food or beverage and minimal charges for everything we needed as long as we booked rooms - and we did!
I recently ran across a couple of photographs that bring back so many great memories from those summer programs. In 2010, Sarah Petty offered to fill in for Vicki Taufer, which brings back a whole story of its own. Here's the short version - Vicki and Jed were adopting their daughter and got caught in an immigration challenge and couldn't bring her back into the US for several months. Vicki stayed overseas, and Sarah jumped in to save summer school with an outstanding program. The story goes a lot deeper as dozens of photographers in the industry tried to help with letters to congressman, immigration officials, and a non-stop push to get Vicki home.
Friendships are the best part of this industry, and Kay Eskridge spoke that year as well. We kept the program simple with one big room, no breakouts and a dozen vendors who wanted to support education around the perimeter. Wifi was still a big deal, and the room was set up, so a new speaker kicked off every ninety minutes, but there were charging stations, and you could work at the same time - giving attendees the ability to stay in touch with business, but still pick up great ideas to market and promote their products/services.
One of my favorites programs over the years was a completely impromptu panel of experts in the evening after the day's schedule. We got together after dinner for anybody who had wanted to keep things going. We were there to answer questions about business, photography, life - it just didn't matter. That's Clay Blackmore, Tony Corbell, me and my honey, Sheila. We had at least 8-10 instructors join us.
One of my favorite images of Sheila and me was captured that night and sent to me by good buddy, Brian Palmer. It proves a very special point - you don't have to have everybody looking at the camera all the time.
After the 2013 summer workshop, like so many educational events we decided it was time for a change. Workshops events like this are incredibly labor intensive and with so many different events to choose from it was time to move on, but not from the goal of education, continuing to build a business and support an industry I love dearly.
With help from good buddy, Scott Bourne, SCU became a reality and my life morphed into that of a blogger, podcaster, and writer. I wouldn't change a thing in my life since leaving Rangefinder/WPPI. The best part of the last nine years is the friendships that have come out of everyone's mutual love for the craft and the support we all give each other no matter what challenges life puts in our paths.
If the plan doesn't work, change the plan, but NEVER your goal.
The year is 2008, and I was still living in California. Sheila was in Ohio but would come out a few times a year, and we'd play tourist.
One of my favorite day trips was taking going to Catalina Island. On this trip, since it was just for the day, Molly the Wonder Dog came along, but they wouldn't allow her on the boat without a muzzle.
We had just enough time to get her one and then make it to the boat for the island. She hated it, and while I understand the law in a confined area like this with so many people, Molly would have been fine. She's never growled at anybody let alone bite anyone. However, being the ham that I am, at one point I decided to join Molly.
I write the same thing with every Throwback Thursday post. Old photographs bring back memories, and I can remember just about every minute of that day. These are just snapshots, but put them together with the rest of the images from the day and they tell a story.
Use your blog and Throwback Thursday as a marketing tool to remind your audience of the importance of pictures. Even better, share some of your older professional captured portraits and remind Mom how quickly the kids are growing up! Every day they change and then one day you wake up and they're out on their own. Yes, it really does seem to go that fast.
Remember, 98% of the decisions to hire a photographer in the portrait/social categories are made by women, usually Mom!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.