Losing one of the industry's biggest champions, Terry Deglau, a week ago makes this is a perfect throwback image to share today. That's Terry on the left, Monte Zucker at the podium and Clay Blackmore on the right.
The fun of Throwback Thursday is about the memories each old photograph brings back. There's a lot I think about when I look at this photograph.
Repeatedly over the years, I've written about the importance of attending every possible conference and workshop you can work into your schedule. We're an industry built on relationship building. With every program, you attend, your network and in turn, friendships will grow. And, if you're as lucky as I've been, those friendships NEVER stop growing!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
It's Throwback Thursday and so often turning back the clock for a few minutes brings back great memories taking you down so many different paths.
For example, here's everything that comes to mind with today's post:
All those memories from just a page about a Pictage program!
Whether you share it in social media or not, take the time like I do every Thursday and go search for a spot in your past that brings out memories. Pictage put together some terrific events over the years and brought so many of us into each other's lives.
So, how many of you were at the Pictage Partner Conferences?
All images by Marrissa Feliciano of Felici Photography
Last week when I "struck gold" on a box of disks, little did I know what was waiting for me as I explored dozens more old files. Since it's Throwback Thursday, I went searching this morning for a peek into the past and once again hit a classic.
I wrote about this last year but didn't realize I had a full disk of images thanks to Marissa Feliciano of Felici Photography in San Diego. She did an outstanding job of capturing the event. Here's the backstory:
Some people come into your life who, after a very short amount of time, you can't remember when they weren't around. Meet Carey Schumacher a pretty remarkable children and family photographer from San Diego. In 2008, for some unknown reason, we started talking trash about who could grill the best steak.
One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was hooked on the challenge. Well, *poof* welcome to the 2008 BBQ Smackdown! Carey never does anything halfway and turned it into a mini-fundraiser for NILMDTS, complete with all the features of a major competitive event!
We're an industry of people who believe in that old line about work hard, play hard - and we definitely believe in having fun.
Living on the east coast versus California, I don't see Carey very often these days, but as soon as the time difference is on my side this morning, I'm going to call her. That's the fun of my network and should be part of yours too.
So, who is there you haven't talked to in a long time? Who's been a great friend you've lost touch with? Don't email, don't text - but pick up the phone and take the time to catch up. It's all part of the fun of taking a walk down Memory Lane.
And in terms of the BBQ Smackdown, after years of therapy, I've accepted the judges' decision that Carey won. However, just like a member of Hollywood's elite, I still have my acceptance speech ready to go and hope for a rematch. We just can't figure out where we'd find an unbiased panel of judges! LOL
Here's my point with Throwback Thursday photographs, they can bring back such great memories. Carey went all out to capture the fun of being in this industry, great friendships and even the two pups, "Big" Molly and "Little" Molly got into the act!
A BIG thanks to Marissa for sending me all these great images, and to Carey, the judges, and attendees - What a kick!
by Skip Cohen
Sometimes the magic of Throwback Thursday comes in the hunt! A month ago, I stumbled across a box in storage, and it was packed to the top with disks, most of them not marked. Every couple of weeks, I take it down off the shelf and pull 4-6 disks to review. Well, this morning I hit the motherlode!
The year is 2005, and it's WPPI. It was always too busy during the show to kick back and have a few drinks with friends. Plus, with so much going on I couldn't risk a hangover in the morning...but on the last night, all bets were off!
For some reason, no matter where the show was held, that last night was ALWAYS at Red Square the vodka bar at Mandalay Bay. For an absurd amount, when you bought a bottle, you could have a drink in the walk-in cooler toasting whatever made you smile, while wearing Russian attire and joined by a bust of Stalin covered in mock bird crap!
Throwback Thursday photographs ALWAYS have a story - In honor of everyone's good friend Julianne Kost, we picked a bottle of vodka called "Tall Blonde." We paid $350 for it, and 6-8 of us went into the cooler to make a toast. A week later, my buddy Bob Rose, in the white hat in the back, saw it in the liquor concession at Rochester Airport for $14!
Whether you share your throwbacks on your blog, or enjoy privacy on your trip down Memory Lane, make it a habit on Thursdays to search for old photographs. You'll never be disappointed with their ability to throw you into the time-machine.
What you'll find is a fun change from the usual work you need to get done. You'll also be reminded of the importance of photography and capturing memories. Even a couple of blurry grab-shots serve a purpose in the fun of looking back at those priceless moments in our lives.
And, to whoever gave me a disk marked "Red Square" in the spring of 2005 - thank you!
I've written a lot over the years about being one of the luckiest guys in the industry. Part of that feeling comes from the talented friends I have who are some of the most skilled artists in the world.
Helen Yancy created the image above, and we're rolling back the clock to around 2002. It's my grandson and me on a beach in New England, and the water was cold. What better gift to get your grandson than his first wetsuit? I was never big on the watercolor look - that was until Helen took a 4x6 CVS print and turned into one of my most favorite pieces of art. Matted and framed it became a never-ending favorite in our home for many years.
The second image is by Bambi Cantrell and would have been around 2003. We were living in California when Bambi spent some time photographing my family. I found this 4x6 tucked between the pages of a book recently, which points out my need to do a better job of practicing what I preach. Photographs are everywhere and I need to get organized.
I have no excuse, except to point out that being in the industry with so many friends who have captured images of my life over the years, plus my own images - they're everywhere! Pull any box out of storage, regardless of what it says on the outside, and odds are you'll find a couple of stray photographs.
Sadly, I'm not close to my kids these days, but that doesn't change the value of the great memories and the fun of taking a stroll down Memory Lane. But there's another sidebar here...the importance of printing images. Both were initially captured on film and without these prints who knows where my memories would be stashed!
Six years ago Michele Celentano wrote "I Believe," and shared it with everybody at Skip's Summer School, that year in Chicago. Consider this a bonus this morning in a sort of triple throwback as I share Michele's "I Believe" statement together with two of my favorite old photographs. And, she's given all of you the rights to plagiarize away and use it with your own client presentations.
Why? First, because she's Michele Celentano and that's what she does. LOL Second, and more important is the need for everyone to educate their clients on the importance of printed images. While some of you will think I'm an alarmist, the truth is we have no idea what technology is going to do to our ability to look at photographs in the future.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Michele Celentano
I believe in photography - but more than that I believe in photographs. Printed photographs are tangible. We can hold on to them, pass them around, frame them and hang them on a wall. We can make albums to be treasured and looked through by children for years to come.
We can’t touch a file and the truth is we don’t know the longevity of a file or if we will even be able to find it someday. A digital file is a bit of a mystery - if it’s lost, where did it go. If a drive is damaged what happens to the files? How many people truly back up all their images?
What happened to disc cameras, eight track tapes, Walkman's and other technology we thought would last forever? What will our children be looking at in 20 or 30 years? Photographs are special - files are not!
I believe in printing my work professionally. I believe my work is more than a screen saver. Years of studying and perfecting my craft comes down to more than sending files via the internet.
The photographs I create for my clients are not only precious to my clients but they are precious to me. It is my work, a lifetime of work that deserves to be printed.
Photographs are passed on to children and grandchildren. Can you imagine a floppy disk, a DVD or a flash drive sitting in a frame representing your family portraits?
Like many photographers I have struggled with bending to the needs or wants of a clientele that is looking for files. But this is what I discovered over the last year - It makes me uncomfortable in the center of my gut to hand over digital files no matter the price. Clients have told me that the DVD is still sitting on a desk and they should have had me make the prints in the first place because they never have time to get to it.
I wonder about those files that were sold.... How were they printed? Did the client crop it too tight? Is the color correct? Did they attempt to alter the image? It troubles me because I put so much of myself into my work. And, I have to wonder... am I really acting as a professional and serving my client the best way I know how to by simply selling intangible files that may never be printed?
For some, it’s easy.... take some photos, edit them, burn them on a disk or flash-drive and make a few bucks. I don’t and can’t operate that way - I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations that might have no photographs because I wanted to make fast and easy money selling files.
I’m taking a stand! I am a photographer! I am without a doubt passionate about creating photographs - real pictures - printed on professional papers - and made into beautiful albums. I want your children, their children, my children and future grandchildren looking at and holding onto photographs not the latest greatest gadget.
It has taken deep soul searching, a lot of thought and time to define the value of my work. I am taking a stand against selling files and taking a strong stand for printing my photographs.
If being a business owner and photographer today means the current market will force me to sell files not photographs and to compromise my work and my values - well then, I’m out.
But, that won’t happen! I know it won’t because I know there are people and clients who value my work, understand and respect the value I have placed on my work and actually want photographs.
I am Michele Celentano , a professional photographer - I believe in and value photography and the images we leave for our children. My work and your portraits will be professionally printed to my standards, they will be available to frame and look at in albums...
The portraits I create for you will not become a part of your screen saver slide show. I have worked too hard and taken too much pride in my work for that to happen. I will not take the risk that in 20 years we will be a generation of lost photographs.
There I stand!
It's Throwback Thursday, and I'm having fun with a couple of throwbacks, starting with one that takes us back to line art versus photography, and a few additional fun elements.
First, the actual watch in the top left was my grandfather's. He died of ALS a couple of years before my parents were married, but I'm named after him and cherish his watch. Almost fifty years later, to the day, Don Blair's wife Donna died of ALS as well. And, I'm not sure there's been very much progress in beating this disease today.
Second, you can find anything on the Internet. A few years back I went hunting on eBay until I found somebody who had the Gruen ad for the watch from 1927. I think I spent ten dollars for the page.
I know it's hard to read, but take a look at the copy and think about how a watch is advertised today, along with the pricing. I love the way the ad kicks off: "Wisely, for the graduation gift you will select a good watch. This has always been the favored gift for graduation." Then, there's the push about what's hot and what's not: "For young men, the trend is decidedly away from the round watch."
I have the watch and ad framed in a shadow box on the wall in my office. Unlike most of today's watches that will more than likely not be running 90+ years from now, the watch still keeps perfect time!
"The Gruen Watch Company was formerly one of the largest watch manufacturers in the United States. It was in business from about 1894 to 1958 and was based in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was founded in 1908 by German-born watchmaker Dietrich Grün, who changed the spelling of his name to "Gruen" because the letter ü does not exist in English." From Wikipedia
Since the ad was a graduation theme, I went looking through an old album and found my Dad's high school senior shot. Hand-colored thanks to Olan Mills in Springfield, Ohio! It would have been around 1940. I wonder if he got a watch for graduation?
Between the ad and my Dad's portrait, it's a fun look back, and a testimonial to the fact that most of the time you can find anything you want on the Internet!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
by Skip Cohen
The year is 2003 and WPPI's lineup was one of the best in the industry. What's amazing is how it kept growing and hit over 15,000 in 2009. By 2004 we'd outgrown Bally's and expanded into the Paris Hotel. And, while the market has changed a lot over the last ten years, it's still a key event in the industry and continues to focus on education.
The fun of Throwback Thursday is the walk down Memory Lane while looking through the rearview mirror. My experience in the seven years I was president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI brought some of the most exceptional people in the industry into my life, most of them still people I talk to regularly. Sadly, a few of them have passed away, but what an incredible legacy they gave us!
If you haven't taken the time to look back today, stop what you're doing and take five. Indeed, you can never go back, but it's always fun to see how far you've come. I've used this quote so many times in the past from author Jody Picoult:
This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.
I found a box of old photographs, disks, and DVDs in my garage recently and I felt like I'd found buried treasure!
My best guess is the ad above was created around 1996. It's all before digital, which is why it was so logical for both Kodak and Polaroid to be partners in the campaign. Before you could chimp with a quick look at the back of your camera, photographers used a proofing back and shot Polaroids to check composition, exposure, etc.
But the best part of this is looking back at the creative genius of my good buddy Nick Vedros. This was all done in-camera and the studio - no Photoshop.
The to the right is from a scrapbook Kalmar Ad Marketing, Hasselblad's advertising agency, created for me when I left Hasselblad in 1999. While the photograph looks like the main character is falling down the stairs, Nick and his crew built a set that laid flat and then he photographed from above. He had somebody under the stage moving a rotating barstool under the curled up subject and moving the roller skate, while he shot through the floor of the room above and dragged the shutter.
Light the image the right way, change the perspective on viewing and *poof* you've got Vedros creativity in full swing. It was an image that left people speechless. And if you've ever met or worked with Nick, then you already know this is nothing in comparison to some of the images he's created over the years.
But for me, the fun of Throwback Thursday is in the memories it brings back:
My apologies for a longer than usual Throwback Thursday post this morning, but that's the fun of it all. Old photographs bring back great memories and even set the stage for new ideas to implement today. So, have you done your own exploring for a great throwback image today?
Happy Throwback Thursday!
It's the perfect image for Throwback Thursday, especially since this week is the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Here's the backstory:
Every year Hasselblad corporate would print holiday cards for us to use in the US market. Recently Jim Morton, who I worked with at Hasselblad for many years and who so many of you know, sent me a stash of cards...all of them equally bad. Swedish elves flew in space; built gold cameras and there was even one of them delivering the 2000 FCW. The 2000FCW was on backorder for so long originally, they had even taken a price increase before it was ever delivered!
Click any of the three images above to view in the SCU Lightbox.
So many of the most famous images we've all seen over the years, courtesy of NASA, were captured with Hasselblad. We always loved the history of the relationship with NASA, just not the elves in the holiday cards!
Whether you share old images on your blog or not, take the time to take a walk down Memory Lane. You just might be surprised at the memories old photographs bring back! And, if you're thinking about doing a holiday card this year, AND YOU ALL SHOULD BE, now is the time to thinking about the design.
No professional photographer should ever use a store-bought card. Use one of your images and remind people about what you do for a living. The front of the card is your image; the middle is a pre-printed message together with something handwritten for those people special in your life/business, and the back of the card has your contact information.
The holidays are the perfect time for a soft-sell approach to marketing - but NOT with a card bought at CVS!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
"We didn't realize we were making memories. We were just having fun!"
Winnie the Pooh
I've written a lot over the years about looking forward towards today and tomorrow rather than spending time looking in the rearview mirror and wishing something in your life could be different. All of us know we can't turn back the clock, but there are times when a good look back might be just the thing you need. I found myself doing that when I found this image.
It was a little over thirty-two years ago I got a call from a headhunter wanting to know if I knew anybody who wanted to be president of a small camera company. I thought it was my brother-in-law pulling a practical joke and after a few classic expletives, I started to hang up the phone as the voice on the other end of the line yelled, "This is legit!"
The job was president of Hasselblad USA and little did I know it would launch some of the most incredible friendships of my career. Two of the first people I met outside the company were Dean Collins and his "right hand," Tony Corbell. Hasselblad had previously committed to Dean's first big roadshow together with Kodak and Sinar Bron. Meeting with the two of them during PPA's convention was one of my early official responsibilities in my new role.
We were all in Orlando and agreed to meet. Dean, and Tony both showed up in suits. Those of you who knew Dean, think back and tell me when you ever saw him in a suit! He couldn't have been more uncomfortable - and since this was supposed to be a casual meeting and I was a rookie...I showed up in a pair of cutoffs having been hanging out by the pool for an hour before the pre-convention meeting.
Years later, Tony and Dean would both give me stories about their pre-meeting thoughts. They were meeting with a guy from Polaroid, who had no experience on the professional side of the business, and his name was "Skip." They pictured me as the guy who was going to launch Hasselblad into every Kmart in the country!
And here's my point for this Throwback Thursday - There are moments when looking back is like savoring a great wine, old scotch or that favorite meal your mother used to make when you were a kid. It's those moments from the past that for me, for example, help to appreciate those special moments now.
For years I've said the best thing about this industry has NOTHING to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Remember, there was no Internet back then, and the world was a huge place. Today it fits on our phones, watches, and laptops. We meet new people every day in social media, face to face at conferences and phone calls.
Looking back can be a pretty fantastic thing if you're selective about which past events to explore. In 1987 the door opened up that brought me to this very minute right now. And the best part of the journey is, I'm still learning, still smiling and still cherishing the role each of you plays in my life, and an industry I love dearly.
About the image: In September '87, we did an open house for all the journalists from the industry in NY/NJ. It's a scan from a 2 1/4 contact print I found. Considering my flatbed is a low-end Epson, it's a pretty decent scan and should be good enough to spot some of the most influential pioneers in journalism thirty-two years ago. We had just officially opened the remodeled office in New Jersey and did our version of a ribbon cutting.
by Skip Cohen
It's the Fourth of July, and as I went to post today, I was thinking about taking the whole day off, just like most Americans. Then it occurred to me that a holiday is a great time to appreciate a look back and since I seem to have developed an unlimited supply of throwback photographs why not share one and then enjoy the day.
To start, I wish everybody a happy July 4th and time to kick back and enjoy family, friends, fireworks, and the traditional opportunity to over-eat barbecue! And, since Independence Day is all about establishing our freedom as Americans going back to 1776, it's a perfect time to appreciate friends and family in the military who have helped preserve that continued freedom. To all of you involved in protecting the freedom we all enjoy, thank you for your service!
Now, since it's Throwback Thursday, I recently discovered a box of discs with hundreds of memories of past events in my life and the industry. Today's combines a little of both.
Sheila and I were married in 2010. We initially thought about a backyard wedding and finally decided to get married and then throw a party, mostly for local friends, a month or two later.
Somewhere in the process of getting ready, a good buddy came into town...Gary Blair. He didn't get to see much of Ohio on that trip because he was helping me slow-cook a dozen slabs of ribs on the grill that day, but what a kick to get a quality of time together we'd never before shared.
Most of my time over those years before was spent with Gary's Dad, "Big Daddy," Don Blair. While Don was on the road as one of the industry's most recognized educators, Gary was running the business back in Murray, Utah.
To this day, I still run into people whose senior headshot from high school was captured by Don Blair Photography. Well, the company had Don's name on the door, but so much of the photography that kept the business going for many years was thanks to Gary and his team. He's a pretty amazing photographer in his own right!
The time he and I got in Ohio was the first time we'd ever really spent together just kicking back. And obviously, we laughed a lot. To this day, the stories that get us smiling the quickest are always related to events involving his Dad, as we both do a pretty decent job of a Don Blair impression.
Wishing everybody an enjoyable and safe July 4th holiday and to Gary, in a deep voice as his Dad would say, "Hey, hey, hey - I love ya man!"
"Those we love don't walk away, they walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed."
Intro by Skip Cohen
The fun of Throwback Thursday is often as much about what you find on the "hunt" as it is the photographs you want to share. And, today's Throwback is a memory-maker for many of us and a history lesson for those of you relatively new to the profession.
Don Blair was one of the finest portrait artists in the industry, and I've written a lot about him over the years. Best known as a leading educator in classic portraiture, it was his passion for the craft combined with his love for each of us that made him legendary.
I used to say he was the older brother I never had. Our "adventures" redefined the meaning of the word awesome and friendship. The first book I wrote was with Don. Together with two other partners in crime, Terry Deglau, and Tony Corbell, we created a classic "how-to" book and a long list of memory-making moments, not to mention a week of non-stop laughs!
Looking through a box in my garage last week, I came across a disc loaded with old images. On the disc was this piece I wrote for Rangefinder Magazine after "Big Daddy" passed away. It was the first article I ever had published in a magazine, and I remember the pride I felt at the time. It wasn't about being published but about the honor of speaking for so many of us in a eulogy for my best buddy!
And, to my point in my article below - he may have physically left us, but without question, his spirit lives on in the work of so many artists whose lives he touched!
Images by Cantrell Portrait Design
While I won't deny there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about Molly, this post isn't meant to be another episode of me missing my dog. In fact, it's light on sadness but heavy on an idea for a few of you to consider as a product/service.
Molly was by my side every day for 13 1/2 years. The only exception was when traveling. Going to work with me every day she became the office mascot at Rangefinder/WPPI. From late 2007 until I left Rangefinder in May of 2009, I was going through a divorce and lived in an apartment in Playa Vista, near Culver City.
Molly was probably one of the most photographed pups in the industry because every artist who came to town photographed my girl! On one of her trips for WPPI print judging, Bambi Cantrell spent an afternoon photographing Molly and me. She captured some of my most cherished photographs. Pay attention because there's a great product idea here.
Bambi did a Day in the Life shoot and captured Molly and me in three different settings. I found the disk of her images recently, and these are all right out of the can. My apartment had a small patio, and Molly would hang out with me just about every night as I pondered the meaning of life.
So the question is - how many of you offer clients a Day in the Life shoot? It's the perfect album capturing the story of kids, families and obviously pets. Remember, the top three reasons people hire a professional photographer in the portrait/social categories goes brides, babies, pets.
Well, a Day in the Life for a bride is already covered with a wedding album - but what about babies (kids too) and pets, especially the interaction with other members of the family? Done right it's got the same kind of potential for exceeding client expectations as a well-done wedding or event album. Plus, it doesn't have to be seasonal, giving you the ability to be a storyteller all year long.
And, back to Molly for a second...everybody who's ever lost a pet knows the feeling of loss, but great photographs keep those memories alive, and for me, they're finally starting to create more smiles than tears.
"When I needed a hand, I found your paw."
Happy Throwback Thursday!
It's a Throwback Thursday post back to sometime in 2003, and it brings up the perfect reason to take a walk down Memory Lane and look at old photographs.
Unfortunately, my relationship with my kids disappeared over the years. The things we all did wrong are irrelevant. What's important here is how old photographs allow us to time travel to when life was different. This image takes me back to a time when there was no such thing as too much time with my grandchildren.
Here's the backstory. The image is me holding my grandson Zachary at around age 2 or so. It's captured with whatever was the low-end point-and-shoot Fujifilm digital camera at the time and was window light and a lamp behind him. Whatever quality the image has was purely accidental.
Zack was the first grandson on both sides of the family, making him the focus of thousands of photographs and videos. Plus, because he was born at the front end of the digital revolution, I have hundreds of files of him in those early years.
And speaking of old files...
As I was searching for an image to share for Throwback Thursday, I ran across this chuckle my son mocked up in 2006. Sports have always been a big part of life with each of my grandsons, and mocking up a headline on Zack's soccer game at age 6 was a classic.
Whether you share images on your blog as a marketing tool to remind "Mom" how quickly her family is growing up, or you just wander through old photographs for your own memories - take the time!
I was actually looking through an old backup drive when I hit the mother lode - pictures of the kids, Molly as a puppy and photographs of me and my Dad. I quit looking when the tears started to flow, which brought me back to one of my favorite quotes.
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
Happy Throwback Thursday!
In 2009 I resigned as president of Rangefinder Publishing and WPPI to head out and start my own business. One of my first projects was getting Skip's Summer School off the ground. The program went for the next five summers until it just became too labor intensive, but in 2011 at the Mirage in Las Vegas 350+ people showed up for the mini-boutique conference.
Instructors/speakers that year included Vincent Laforet, Scott Bourne, Tony Corbell, Jerry Ghionis, Michele Celentano, Matthew Jordan Smith, Bambi Cantrell, Bob Davis, Doug Gordon, Jules and Joy Bianchi, Roberto Valenzuela, Bobbi Lane, Kevin Kubota, Tamara Lackey, Clay Blackmore and yours truly. It was a program loaded with content, and many of the photographers who attended those early programs have stayed in touch over the years.
In searching for an image for Throwback Thursday, I came across Amber Fox's post which included the shot above together with a full explanation of the activities from that program. Just click on the image to link to her blog post from 2011.
Just a suggestion for those of you who'd like to share throwbacks or anything else from somebody else's blog or website - ALWAYS ask! I probably didn't need to ask, since Amber had originally shared it in public, but it's still a great habit to get into. It shows respect for the originator too. Plus, it was fun to catch up to her in a text or two and get her permission as opposed to just sharing it.
I look back on those summer programs with a great deal of respect and appreciation for so many people who helped make them memorable. Getting this program off the ground, I remember the static a few of my speakers got from the staff at one of the major annual conventions. They were told that being involved with my program would jeopardize their future to speak at the other convention! Sound familiar to some of the present day politics going on right now?
Well, Skip's Summer School kicked off with me being told it would never make it, along with several other projects I've worked on over the years. This is why the quote below became my mantra, and is so important:
"I do it because I can; I can because I want to; I want to because you said I couldn't!"
Wishing everybody a Throwback Thursday loaded with as many memories and smiles as Amber's post gives me!
It's Throwback Thursday and wandering through all the photos sent to me through my Facebook page over the years, I ran across these two gems and chose to share the outtake first! Here's the back story:
In 2009, after leaving Rangefinder/WPPI, I moved to Akron, Ohio, and Sheila and I moved in together. With her help and encouragement, the first Skip's Summer School took place that summer in Las Vegas. But a few months later I wanted to do something more local and we launched the Akron Photo Series, bringing some of the very best educators in photography to northeast Ohio.
In 2011 Jerry and Melissa Ghionis joined us for an evening program followed by an all-day hands-on program at Sylvart Photography Studio in Barberton, OH. Brent and Teri Ann Watkins own Sylvart and over the years have become great friends. After the all-day program, we wanted to get a group shot...hmmm...either Brent needed to be faster or set the self-timer longer!
But here's the point I always make with Throwback images...they bring back memories. I remember everything that happened that day as if it was yesterday. Brent and Teri were terrific hosts and they helped make the day a success.
I also remember something Jerry said that I wish more photographers would follow up on. The issue is photographers who take hands-on classes and then shoot over the instructor's shoulder and then claim the images as their own.
I'm paraphrasing a whole lot, but you'll get the idea...
"If you need to take a picture when I'm shooting, then capture the whole scene, so you remember what I'm teaching you and how the image has been set up. It's not your work if you grab my shot. It also challenges your integrity when a whole group of photographers has the same shot - not theirs, but the instructor's in whatever workshop they were taking."
Jerry and Melissa stayed at our home for a few days that week, and that's another memory that's hard to top. We've all gotten so busy; we never get quality time anymore. We pass each other at various conventions and meetings, but too often there's no real quality to the moment.
And that hits my last point - take the time when you're at any convention to network with old friends and new ones. Find the time for quality - you know how to do it with your images. So, why not do it with your conversations? Nothing beats great friendships, but they need to be nurtured!
Chicago's ClickCon conference is coming up in August, and I'm excited to be teaching four different classes, along with Jerry and Melissa as well. You can be sure Sheila and I are going to find the time to catch up to them!
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Wandering through my Facebook photos, I came across this shot with two of my favorite people in photography, Kay Eskridge and Sarah Petty. Sarah had posted it on my Facebook timeline in 2010, and it brings back so many great memories. Here's a little of the backstory:
When I left Rangefinder Magazine and WPPI in 2009, I had this idea for a small conference series and launched Skip's Summer School. I've shared throwback images before about that first conference and the educators who helped make it possible. This photo was from our second year. We were at the MGM Grand. The economy was still bad, and Vegas was hurting for business. We had great prices on rooms, buy one get one free coupons at many of the restaurants and a minimal attrition and food & beverage clauses with the hotel. That gave us the ability to do a lot of things you just can't do in hotel-based programs today.
We had approximately 350 people in attendance with a dozen or so vendors. The concept was a series of 90-minute programs all one after the other with Wifi in the room so people could work at their laptops and not be away from their business, yet still be away! Wifi in a conference room for 350 people set up classroom style was a relatively new concept, and I remember paying dearly for the daily boost to Wifi.
This was also the year Vicki and Jed Taufer were overseas adopting their beautiful daughter. They got caught up in immigration challenges from the US government and couldn't get back into the US! There were a lot of us in the industry who were writing to any government official we could think of in a sort of "Free Vicki Taufer" campaign.
And to Kay, you still have "my" Arnold Palmer signed putter, but I think the twenty-year lease is just about up! It's another backstory - Kay outbid me on the putter at a PPA Charities auction years ago, and I've never forgiven her! LOL But this is a perfect example of how throwback images can take us back to some pretty special times.
So, besides this photo bringing back memories from nine years ago, it's also the perfect reminder of how much I appreciate the friendships in this industry. As sappy as it sounds, we really are a family. And, even with a few dysfunctional "relatives" here and there, we watch each other's backs and are always there to support each other.
Take the time to look back through your own throwbacks. It's a great marketing tool to share on your blog, but even if you don't share the images you find, take the time for a scroll down Memory Lane to appreciate your journey so far!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
"Nothing haunts us more than the dreams we didn't act upon!"
It's Throwback Thursday, but just before I started looking through old photographs this morning, Suzette Allen left me a comment on a post I wrote three years ago about dreams. As I read the original post, it was so relevant to today. I decided to share a different kind of throwback. Some of you will like it, others will roll your eyes and find it trite, but it's perfect for this time of year.
I'm heading to ShutterFest in a little over a week, and I'm going to be surrounded by a lot of young photographers with dreams. Plus, even more seasoned pros have dreams of what they hope the rest of this year is going to be like. With Spring seasonality comes everyone's mind's eye visions of how the year is going to play out; new ideas for business; new products to inspire clients, and the list goes on and on.
Even though I'm officially an old fart, I still think about what I want to do with my life. Many of you are focused and for years have known what you wanted to be when you grew up. Well, I'm one of those still struggling, but it's also what keeps me smiling.
Whether you'd call them my dreams or aspirations, doesn't make any difference. I wake up every day knowing the things I need to do, including finding time to dream a little. I look at my dreams and goals like one big file drawer loaded with ideas, but there's something that happens as you get older.
You realize you don't have the luxury of endless time to procrastinate - something you never really had in the first place. Some ideas you jump quicker than others. Then there are those dreams that are very personal versus simple projects you want to do.
By this time, you should notice that I use words like dreams, goals, aspirations and even ideas all the same way. They all represent things I want and intend to do, and here six suggestions to help you keep your dreams alive:
Last on the list - when you're chasing a dream, and it's not working out, just change course. You don't have to let go of the dream, only the path you've chosen to get there. Remember, dreams don't have expiration dates!
Most important of all, DON'T SHOULD ON YOURSELF. It's a lesson I learned from Sheila because at the beginning of our relationship I was "shoulding" all over the place. You know the drill - you do something, it doesn't work out and instead of putting energy into a new direction you whine, shrug your shoulders and say, "You know what I should have done?"
"I'll do my dreaming with my eyes wide open, and I'll do my looking back with my eyes closed."
Happy Throwback Thursday everybody!
One of the fun things about Facebook is the way we share images.
Turning back the clock to 2009, "Skip's Summer School" was the second major project I took on after starting my own company. The first was three weeks of doing portfolio reviews at Hallmark Institute, which was an incredible experience. However, that was a one-time project, and afterwards it was time to get things going with the core of my new business.
I wrote a little about it this past Sunday, but finding this video in my Facebook archives was a complete surprise. It was produced by Ron Dawson, an incredibly talented artist, and filmmaker. He was a presenter at that first Skip's Summer School, and this is a perfect example of what I love about Throwback Thursday.
While the video is posted on Facebook and certainly can be shared, I still called Ron to make sure he was okay with it. I haven't talked to him in years, and he gave me the okay through an IM and we'll hopefully catch up on the phone one day soon. Throwbacks bring back both memories and old friends.
The second component making this fun is sharing my message in the video. Nothing's changed in the importance of knowing when you're headed to burnout and the importance of recharging your batteries! After all, you do it for your gear before every event you photograph. You're never without the power you need to get the shot in your camera, but so often we forget about our hearts!
And then there's the third ingredient...memories. Molly the Wonder Dog loved chasing tennis balls and her reputation for catching them was legendary. She was only four years old when this video was made, and she chased them right up to the day before she died. That's over thirteen years of chasing, four chukits, and probably 30 cans of balls until a friend at a tennis club brought me a garbage bag full of balls that had lost their bounce!
"I love those random memories that make me smile, no matter what's going in my life right now."
Take the time today to wander through your archives and appreciate what you find when you look in the rearview mirror. While it's important to keep looking forward, there's nothing wrong with a smile and a look backwards now and then.
It's Throwback Thursday, and there's a great lesson that goes with the backstory on the image above. (Note: Apologies for the quality of the images in this post - they're scans from the original book since the negatives for the originals are long since gone.)
It's 1998 and Don Blair, and I decided to do a book together; Don Blair's Guide to Lighting and Posing Body Parts. I've written a lot about the project in past posts. It remains one of the most important and special projects in my career. It wasn't just a great book to help photographers raise the bar on their portraits but a testimonial to a group of extraordinary friends, the Four Musketeers, Terry Deglau, Tony Corbell, Don Blair and me.
Don and I chose to shoot all the images for "Body Parts" in Las Vegas using local models. Since the book was going to be introduced at WPPI in 1999 at the opening night program, we wanted to be able to stage tips in our live program from the book using the same models.
Terry and Tony came out to Vegas for four days to help us shoot. Remember, this is all pre-digital using Polaroid proofs for our storyboards and shooting everything on Kodak Portra. Well, Terry had an idea for the author shot of the book bringing body parts from a scrap yard into the theme.
After three days of shooting everything for the book, he headed out to a junkyard outside of Vegas. He found the perfect scrap yard for the shoot but then had to explain it to the owner. It wasn't an easy sell until he mentioned one of the authors was a famous photographer. Well, the owner of the junkyard asked, "Oh yeah, who?"
When Terry mentioned Don Blair from Utah, the guy lit up like a Christmas tree. "He did my senior portrait from high school in 1982!" That was all it took. We had carte blanche to do anything we wanted. He opened the yard for us on a Sunday morning, and with Terry's direction, he moved cars around along with the crane in position for the background.
While the image we eventually used for the cover of the book was Bambi Cantrell's on the right, the "Junkyard Dogs" had a two-page spread in the book. Plus, we loved the images so much, we later used them for some fun publicity releases over the next few years.
And here's my point; nothing is more valuable than your reputation. Never compromise on the quality of your brand because it's your shadow. And depending on which way you're headed, it's often leading the way as well as being behind you!
Don never compromised on his love for the craft, respect for his subjects or his passion for the quest to capture the ultimate image. Someone once asked him, "What's the best photograph you've ever made?" he answered, "I don't know. I haven't made it yet!"
But my most favorite memorable comment from Don was at a class he was teaching. We had a photographer who thought he could make a point about Don always having beautiful models who asked, "So what do you do when the bride isn't beautiful?" Don looked him straight in the eyes and couldn't have been more direct, "There's no such thing!"
Terry Deglau and Tony Corbell in action during the making of "Body Parts."
Throwback Thursday is all about memories. While, these images take me back to one of those wonderful times in my life and a milestone with my first book, they mean so much more. They're a reminder that nothing beats great friendships! It's what I love most about our industry, and it's why I almost always share author Jodi Picoult's quote:
" This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect."
Use Throwback Thursday for your own trip down Memory Lane or as content on your blog. Throwback images are a perfect way to remind "Mom" how quickly time is flying by, the fast kids are growing, and the importance of a new family portrait!
Happy Throwback Thursday!
PS Time to call Terry and Tony!
ClickCon was AMAZING!
It's rare that a first year conference has the power that ClickCon brought to the industry last week. Great speakers, a busy trade show and 1300 attendees loaded with a passion to learn and grow. Put the show on your radar so you know the dates for 2020 when they're announced!
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.