The year is 1988, about a year after I started as the new president of Hasselblad USA. The sales force was in town for a meeting and I wanted a group shot of the entire team. It might look like just another company shot of employees, but this group was my introduction into professional photography and they were amazing to work with. As sappy as it sounds, it really was a family, with some very big personalities and the stories to go with each one.
- It was just after July 4, 1987 and my first day on the job. I showed up in the lobby, hit the buzzer and a Heidi, the receptionist, came to the little window, "Can I help you?" "Hi, I'm Skip Cohen, the new president." Instead of letting me in, she jumped up and ran to get somebody, but forgot to buzz me in. She honestly didn't know what to do. I stood in the lobby for a few minutes wondering what was going to happen next. Talk about feeling awkward.
- That first week, I thought it would be a good idea to talk with each person individually and find out a little more about them. I started with one of the techs in the service department and asked, "So what do you like about working at Hasselblad?" He thought for a second, looked out the window and just said, "The trees, I love all the trees out here." Okay, so that question wasn't working, so with the next guy, Chris Filanovich, a big Russian, I decided to change my approach, "Chris, you've been with Hasselblad for a long time, what do you think I should be working on?" His answer wasn't much better than looking at the trees, as he responded, "Mr. Cohen, I don't put my nose in your business and you don't put your nose in mine!" Okay, in came Don Whittle, next. Don had been with Hasselblad for years and was probably approaching 80 at the time. I thought I'd try my participative management question about what he thought I should focus on. Don grew up in NYC, was at the office on time every single day of his life and loved Hasselblad. He thought for a second and then in a voice that sounded just like Art Carney in an old rerun of The Honeymooners said, "Hey, you're da boss...you work on whatever you want to work on. You know what I mean?"
I was with Hasselblad for twelve wonderful years, leaving for an Internet offer that at the time I couldn't refuse. It was an amazing group of people and I'll close with one more memory-maker.
- About eight years later, it was just a normal day and I bounded into Chuck Gutierrez's office. (Chuck is the big guy on my right with the full beard. Sadly he passed away many years ago.) I don't remember what I needed, but typical of me, I just interrupted whatever he was doing, not paying attention to the fact that he was on the phone. He spun around in his chair, glared at me and on a sheet of paper wrote, "Shhh...I'm on the phone with one of the astronauts in the Space Shuttle." The guys in the shuttle had a camera jam and Chuck had been patched through to them by NASA and was taking one of the astronauts through the process to clear the jam, over the phone. From that point on I learned to knock before entering anybody's office. LOL
My point is the same with every Throwback Thursday post. Take the time to track down your old photographs, take good care of them and on a regular basis, pull one out and just enjoy the memories. When you're done, think about what you do for a living and what it means for your clients.
You guys are the true magicians of the world, helping people every day capture and preserve moments out of time and cherish them for the rest of their lives and future generations. It's a big responsibility and deserves the very best images you can capture.
Happy Throwback Thursday - time to help create some new Throwback Thursday images for the future!