This is a Throwback Thursday post that really hits the time machine, taking me back to 2005. I get that you can't please everybody, but the response to this cover was one of the very few times in my career I had to deal with screamers.
The photographer was Damien Bredberg, and the image won him Editorial Photographer of the Year in Australia in 2004. Adding to the fun of the image and backstory is the fact that it was his father who was the model.
How many of you could talk either of your parents into that kind of role? I remember joking around with my Dad when the issue was published. He said he was willing but not on a scooter. He wanted a Harley!
The image and story was a definite staff favorite when it came time to decide on the cover for that issue. It made us all laugh, and represented an artist with a great skill set and sense of humor. The issue was published and within a couple of days I got my first angry call.
I don't remember his name, but he was from Arkansas and accused me of publishing porn! He screamed at me to cancel his subscription; that his granddaughter saw the issue and was embarrassed. Then he hung up on me.
But technology was on my side, and thanks to caller ID I called him back to get his name and address! I know you should never go head to head with an angry customer, but he'd pushed all my buttons. In all honesty, I was happy to let him go as a reader.
Then, a few days later I got a letter from a woman who also hated the cover. She tore it off the magazine and sent it to me with a note: "May the view from the back of this motorcycle rider be your just reward!" It took us a minute to realize she was referring to the obvious moon-shot.
I can only imagine the comments we would have gotten if we had shared this second image I found yesterday on the Vanishing Point website from a post in 2012. Click on the image above or below to for more of the story about "Scooter Man."
For years I had the "Scooter Man" cover shot as my last slide for the close of any class I was teaching. After telling the story of the people who objected to the cover, what I said back then is still so relevant:
Stop taking life so seriously and just have fun with everything you're doing!
If you're not smiling for most of your day as a photographer then you're doing something wrong!
Happy Throwback Thursday!