Twenty days into the year and already I want to recap a couple of victories: National news breaks and while a touch rusty, my work is very competitive with those on the scene. I contemplated the purchase of exotic lenses. My mind is now made up. The answer is, “Yes.”
The next week, International news broke. My goal is to be more of a commercial photographer, but I work with an agency in New York — and they keep calling. So, without a reporter or news desk to feed me information I headed down to Tucson to cover the news. With little exception, I was getting images that all of the “big” news agencies were getting. Easy. I know how to work a story and figure out where to go.
When President Obama came to town, I had no credential (denied), but managed to get in the door with a 400mm f/2.8 lens. You need to know this lens is as big as the transmission on a sports car. With no pre-issued credential, I got in with the rest of the media — and then decided that there were other places that would be more advantageous. I kicked the collective asses of more than 300 photographers — who all got the same picture.
As the dust begins to settle and I’m not traveling back and forth to Tucson, I found myself at the home of Fred Langhammer, the Chairman Estée Lauder’s Global Affairs. We were shooting for a German publication. Fred was a truly smart, warm and wonderful man. He seemed to be someone that many could learn from.
I think one of the things that sets me apart from many is my ability to walk into a situation and come up with an interesting plan within a matter of minutes. One of my colleagues said last week: “I didn’t know we could leave the media platform.” Neither did I. To get the job done, I have a personal set of rules: Do what needs to be done until someone says that I can’t do it that way. Be polite and make it look like you’ve stopped. Attack from a different angle and keep going until they make it so you can no longer do what you need to do. Don’t get arrested.
Back at Fred’s house, it would have been wonderful to have two or three assistants, makeup people, a stylist and others, but those luxuries weren’t available. Regardless of who isn’t there, the job still needs to be done and done creatively. My vision will always carry me through.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)