The Next Great Catalog Photographer

Victoria Secret is a catalog, ok. People who shoot women in bikinis, bras and panties for a living are not called fashion photographers.

Go (here) to watch the trailer. It was taking to long to load and bogging down the website so I removed.

Via, You Call This Photography? (here)

There Are 72 Comments On This Article.

  1. All That's Wrong w/ America

    Mr. A.P.E.,

    It must be a slow news day. Surprised that you’d both linking to such nonsense. It’s truly embarrassing. Yet one more thing to give photographers a bad name. Was surprised too, that Andrew commented on it. Vile like this is best left to lie in the sun, rot quickly, and fade away. This kind of value system is the LAST thing that young, impressionable student photographers should be exposed to. Cotton candy for the brain. Please, no one else link to train wrecks like this. Amazing how someone like that Russell James could watch his reputation plummet, in a matter of days.

  2. Caught the first episode…end of the day, the above poster says it right-on. Would love for VH-1 to pay me to follow me around challenging aspiring photog students to shoot attorney head shots with me all day, then fire one each episode when they fail to get the hair light consistent from brunettes to blondes, or a wrinkle shows up in a tie. Will submit the pitch to them tonight.

  3. It is fashion… just not good fashion. But it sells lot’s of panties.

    The thing is students have no idea how to pull that kind of production off. I really have to wonder what goes on behind the scene. I would love to the see the results if the kids were really doing the lighting & sets them selves.

  4. The producer pulls the shot together, the assistant and camera tech lights the set, the set dresser gets the scene ready, cue make-up, call the wardrobe stylist, ask the art director for direction – OK, now give me the camera … beautiful babe; luv ya.

  5. I thought it was pretty damn funny.

    These photographers sit around and get torn apart because most of them are no where near ready to compete in the professional world, that’s why they all look to be in their late 20′s or so and the only one that makes any sort of a living based on picture-takin’ is a wedding photographer.

    Though I think the concept behind reality shows like this teach a terrible moral lesson (you deserve a quick rise to fame), I have to admit, I enjoy so much to watch them fumble with every aspect of the assignments they get sent on, only to get told they failed miserably.

  6. What I am reminded of is how I felt when I was 20-something and was wondering just how did one “become” a photographer-the mystery of it, not understanding just how some people go to be where they were and everyone else had a 9-5. At that time the information, the guidance was much less available, the main route was assisting, and you had to jump through a lot of hoops and get lucky to find someone willing to mentor you. And even then, it took a lot longer to figure things out, a lot longer to make work, a lot longer to go from an idea to a print.

    So this is only a reflection of a google-mentality, if you want to know something, just type it into a computer. That kind of shortcut mentality and also the feeling now where success is the product of extra-ordinary risk taking (IPO’s, Idol, Sports figures, Venture Capitalism) and not the product of very-ordinary time consuming hard work.

    It is interesting that we now have an abundance of information sharing which is a good thing, however, I think it may dilute the reality that you can understand how to do something, what the issues are, but in the absence of actually making the mistakes and seeing the results, the wisdom is not there. I have recently started teaching part time and I see this “cognitive dissonance” all the time, the discovery that something that appears difficult is actually much more difficult than you could ever imagine, even considering how digital technology has made it much simpler!

    I also think that the the technological aspects of photography have become very intrusive and work against the kind of discovery one needs when starting out. The story I have heard is that Helmut Newton used to show up to shoots by himself with a shoulder bag and a camera. I am not discounting the need for professional tools, but the machinery of image making is starting to eclipse the purpose very often now. It is overwhelming.

  7. You do have to admit it – it is entertaining is a funny sort of way… like watching a circus… only difference is I could watch the circus many times… ;-]

  8. ugh. my friend told me about this show recently. i tried to watch it but it was nauseating. it’s funny because i really enjoy the other shows that are similar to this one, like project runway and america’s next top model, but maybe this one hit too close to home. i think it was too much like re-experiencing my first year of art school where everyone is bad and has no idea what they are doing.

  9. c’mon people! This is OUR junk food!
    Who didn’t love that Bosnian dude tell the male model:
    “Male MOdel! Down on your knees!” and “Listen to me not to her”
    I am MAN!!!!!!

  10. oh yeah…and I’m actually really curious who, out of all these people, will actually use their non-talent in a MArie Claire and VS spread! I mean, the editors HAVE TO pick one. Right?
    Can anyone say “Kill Fee?”

  11. @ YAP: It’s not fashion. It’s Lingerie photography or catalog photography. And, yes there is a huge market for this where a photographer can manage a massive crew and has very talented people working for them doing a lot of the heavy lifting. I have no problem with that just calling it fashion bugs me a bit. No one wants to own up to being a catalog photographer.

  12. I think Robert hit it on the head when he wrote about “very-ordinary time consuming hard work” . Maybe I am being a little judgmental but it seems to me so many of those contestants were more concerned with the “idea” of being a photographer, or what a real photographer is supposed to look or be like. They are all looking for “the shot” that will propel them. They appear less concerned with photography in itself. For the fashion competition there was very little talk of what the client expects and what are “must-haves”. In other words best practices. How best to show the clothes, the jewelry, the mood. It was all about “talent” and “vision” and less about methodology. That was my take on it.

  13. Overnight Sensation

    Robert Wright totally nails it, above, in the first paragraph.

    The misleading message that it sends young photographers is that, “Yes, I can just buy a 5D and have a career overnight”. It is so incredibly irresponsible. Ask Martin Schoeller, or Corbijn, or any solid young photographer how you get to have a solid career launched — and it’s by long hours, hard work, incredible dedication, shitty working conditions, and an intense hunger to learn the craft. I know I sound like some old curmudgeon Wilford Brimley by bitching about this “instant fame” phenomenon, but I guarantee you, right now at this instant, there’s some 20-something kid, trying to talk his grandmother into financing his “big move to New York”, where he’ll instantly be discovered from his fucking Flickr page.

    It simply does not happen that way. And that Russell James ought to be tied up and stoned by Australian orangutans for perpetuating this nonsense.

    As for the Helmut Newton analogy, yes, there will always be exceptions (or mythical stories) out there, but for 999 out of a thousand new photographers entering the market, it’s about hard work, years of learning, and yes, dragging around tons of unnecessary gear.

  14. Well I guess I have not paid my dues. I really don’t see anything wrong with the show, other than a few bad attitudes. I love photography and I would shoot regardless if I got paid for it. Maybe most don’t want to make it big but I would imagine secretly a few of the people here would love that type of recognition to “make it big” even if it is just financially and not face recognition. Like I said maybe I kinda suck?

  15. NOT a catalog shooter

    The Catalog business is a bear. When I started out assisting, I worked for a mean-spiritied cheap old bastard who shot everything on an 8×10 Deardorf and supplied his clients with “models.” It was ugly, demeaning and I learned a great deal about how that end of the business was run. I learned how to print, how to use large format and I learned about craft. I also learned I wanted nothing to do that world.

    It is a shame that so many young people feel that by having the tools and the attitude that they are somehow equal to to the people who put in the years of learning and sweat labor to get to where they are today.

    If I was teaching or mentoring, I would make every student shoot with an M4 with Tri-X to know how to be proactive and to be aware without being intrusive. Then they would shoot with a simple Yashica Mat to learn how to compose and make the space work. finally, they would go and shoot portraits with a 4×5 so they could not hide behind the camera or tools of the trade.

    Then, on to printing. Once they master these techniques and have some level of appreciation and humility, then they are ready to be behind the camera.

    The naive arrogance to think that attitude and tools means talent is a shame. Too soon will they discover that success requires perseverance, dedication and talent.

    Shame on MTV for another half-hour o the dumbing down of America.

  16. I was listening to Mario Cantone on Howard Stern yesterday, who is always a great guest and he was talking about the reality TV phenom. He mentioned how many times he has been offered to host a reality show and related hosting reality TV to being the best move to career suicide. He said he knows hes not a major star, but he has a credible career that he is happy with. Moral of the story, Russell James sold his soul on this one.

  17. APE: I’m still calling it fashion photography, it’s showing the clothes, or lack of. Very commercial, mostly sex, yep. I can’t comment on the show as I haven’t seen it, only the VS stuff that comes in the mail. Is it in the same class as editorial fashion? Not even close. Just as the those free health & computer magazines that are found in the lobbies of chain restaurants have editorial content but they aren’t really magazines.

  18. I tried watching this show and only made it about halfway through. What a trainwreck. I too hope my parents are not watching this and thinking that this is what I am doing.

  19. Photography is so much about the vision of creation in this area rather than the journalistic capturing the events. So many people are trying to make it in photography right now believing that it is an easy ride, that if things like this can be used to get head and shoulders above the competition, then go for it.

    The only thing that they’d better be sure of is that they’ve got the vision, the talent and professionalism to make the few people who will see the show, who actually matter, remember them … ’cause if they muck it up, they’re photographic careers will be forever ruined before they’ve even started.

    The only thing that concerns me is that the show is projecting the view that this is all that photography is. Me? I’d love to get these photographers, take them out to the Lake District, pack them off with a tent, sleeping bag, portable camping stove, sun rise/set compas, point them in the direction of the hills and say, “Get me a stunning sunrise.” Or to an open field and say, “I’ want a full frame shot of a wild rabbit.” Or … or … or …

  20. hey all
    had to watch the free episode on itunes. i love that real trashy reality stuff.i think we all knew it was coming.the show was fucking hilarious.ok lets not make this more than it is . it is a stupid reality show to be watched and made fun of. the thing that is wierd is none of the contestants talk about light or make their shot different by changing the light.

    what i dont like is as always it makes people think all photographers do is take photos of pretty girls at a pretty location. but it did just start. maybe ill buy the season on itunes.

    i hope they do cool things like
    give them a crazy art director or crazy publicist for a difficult celeb
    or bad location
    bad model
    bad assistant
    equipment failure
    make them wait around an airprt all day
    or god forbid make them have to help produce a shoot by being on the phone all day or dealing with a small budget for a big shoot

    maybe and i know this is crazy but have them shoot FILM

    do you think the infamous terry richardson will be on ?
    a photo editor u mad that they didnt pick you as a judge ? maybe you could make a guest appearence.

    love love the blog site thank you hope to meet you someday
    please post this so other photo editors will check out my site(new site coming soon) so i dont have to be on a reality show someday.

    please dont rip me apart because of my grammar or lack there of.

    thanks

    jonathan
    jonathanbeller.com

  21. In the beginning i made a “flowchart” for myself of what I thought it would take to become a National Geographic Photographer. This back in the day when they had those year long assignments and crazy expense accounts. It still is a very visible manifestation of what a photographer “is.”. And it was all I could imagine at that time. (ok, like yesterday..:)

    The idea was to enumerate the steps so that the task could be broken down into manageable pieces, so I started at the top-Getting hired. Before that was showing a portfolio at NG. Before that was knowing an editor at NG who would look seriously at the work, before that was crafting the porfolio, working on down to the basics like get a 35mm camera…it was that basic.

    It is funny to look at it now, a plan. When you look at the “outside world” meaning the world of everyday business, they always stress having a business plan, researching markets, doing a formal business plan about how income will be generated, etc. What strikes me is how far from normal becoming a photographer can actually be-the big thing is perseverance-ie; just how far down the rabbit hole can you go NOT working other jobs to the point where all you know is photography and all of your business peers are in photography and your resume is one-line-photographer. I think at that point you might be ready to consider being a NG photographer…which is not what I expected when I was starting out. Nothing is linear. Everything leads in an unpredictable direction.

    As much as I think these contestants are doing the wrong thing, I have to admire the risk taking, the calculation of notoriety of any sort being a good thing. Andrew Heatherington linked to the Richard Kern video and he was talking about his early days in performance theatre, where basically all he cared about was being sensational. There was no interest beyond getting noticed. So if all these contestants care about is getting noticed, then they are succeeding very well. And the chips will fall where they may.

  22. That little Robert Wright is clueless.

    Yeah, I guess it’s been a long road for my son Joey, so far — when he was seven, we sent him off to Paris to apprentice for Paolo Roversi. He had a bit of trouble standing high enough up to that counter, to load those pesky 8×10 dark slides, but once Paolo got him a stool, he took to it like butter on a biscuit.

    Then, much later in life, when Joey was eleven, he was repping Demarchelier for a while, but after making a few million, he got bored with that and wanted to get back behind the camera.

    Once Joey started sprouting pubes, he came to us and wanted to assist Helmut and TRichardson and MSorrenti and D’Orazio, so we bought him an around the world ticket, and waved goodbye.

    Yeah, you gotta pay your dues in this business. Nothing comes easy. Dontcha’ know.

    Now, our little Joey is a veteran, even at 17. Shooting jobs left and right. He can handle anything that you throw at him.

    And it’s all because, as so many people have noted here, he paid his dues, with years and years of dedication.

    http://tinyurl.com/2z35xl

  23. Thanks for ALL this wonderful wisdom and anecdotes. Looks like my journey towards getting an actual image printed is going to be a F’ing doozy. (Soph in College)

  24. …so Mrs Lawrence, what is the name of Joey’s Act?

    -THE ARISTOCRATS!

    AND that’s it folks! I’m here all week! Don’t forget to tip your Server!

    GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!

  25. scott Rex Ely

    I love this argument. It’s not fashion, it’s catalog. Maybe someone could go through some high end model agency books sometime and determine which shots are really “portraits”…..

  26. Chris (from many-a-posts ago)-I’m not hatin on wedding photographers, just making the point that only one of the photographers even had a job taking pictures. And his ridiculous, over the top, and retarded, attempts to be suave.

    Actually, if there are any wedding photographers that are that ridiculous (It makes a buck…long pause…or a few! hahah! yeah, retarded) then yes, I am hating on you.

    I really wish one of the episodes would feature nothing more than the photographers getting handed a disposable, that would be awesome…

  27. LOL @ Joey’s Mum, excellent! Though to be fair I think JL has worked damn hard to get where he is today so good luck to him…

    I wish I was lucky enough to be in the position these contestnts are turning up on set with everything already in place, no need to worry about stupid things like light meters, models not turning up and finding that the previous person in the studio has soiled the backdrop….

    I figure for the VS shoot with the “winner” (I think the first non-loser). They’ll get some underling to set up the shot in it’s entirity and have the contestant push the button a few times and hope they don’t totally abort the process…

  28. @jonathan beller – nice pictures but what your website does to my browser is perhaps more irritating than any site i have ever visited.

    [nothing to say about shit TV show.]

  29. This is classic, I actually sent an e-mail to be on this show. Opps!! Thank god they didn’t get back to me. “Fashion” or what ever they are shooting is not really my thing. Funny thing is that I went to school with one of the contestants, Ivan. We both went to Brooks Institute of Photography. I didn’t really know him but I know that he won some big photo contests while we were at school. I think the people at Brooks might have helped him get on the show. They loved him there. It is a shame that they make the show all about drama rather then the actual skill, talent and hard work it takes to become a photographer. Oh well…I guess it is fun to watch especially because I actually kind of know someone on the show.

  30. Jonathan -

    Two classic browser mistakes that seriously tick-off potential clients. (agree with Robert above)

    Copyright sign-in’s and taking over someone’s browser are no-no’s.

  31. I find Robert Wright msg perfect.

    I started 3-4 years ago and I’m still struggling to really know what’s my thing as photographer and to develop as a real pro.

    However, there are tons of incredibly bad talents making a lot of money.

  32. I thought it was kind of fun. I would watch it if nothing else was on and it was raining out. I do find it interesting that no matter what the problem is the solution is always to use 8 frames a second on digital.

  33. Yeah, the show definitely had very little to do with photography. It was mildly entertaining…but also kinda painful to watch at times.

    But what do we expect? This is a “reality” tv show on VH1…since when have reality shows portrayed things realistically?

  34. Bravo’s got one in the can … they tend to be a bit nuts. I’d imagine assignments like shooting NASCAR with a TLR. That would be fun to be on, if I could ever take the time off.

  35. Highlight of the episode (it’s free on iTunes and I was bored this afternoon):

    “How do I zoom in?”
    “It’s a fixed lens.”

  36. scott Rex Ely

    I found a quote from Art Kane today” My assistants already know all that stuff, why should I?”

  37. first time i have heard these comments. thanks for looking. like i said new website coming soon. i hope i didnt” offend anyone photographicly”

    it is still about the photography isnt it? thanks again for the comments

    jonathan

    jonathanbeller.com

  38. Seems these reality shows are only about fame, not whatever it is they purport to be about. And these contestants (and to some degree “the judges”) seem to be more interested in fame instead of photography, and skipping all the pesky hard work for a free ride to the top.

    Same could be said, I suppose, for the Idol and the Model shows, too. They really are tedious to watch.

  39. ok…Say you REAL WORLD working sloths were still pimple-faced soph’s in college? Aside from the obvious “Change Majors quicker than shit and become a priest”. Where would you whittle your digital course load in college…more Artsy?… more Technical?…or right smack-dab down the middle?

    and do I have to grow that free-flowing main like RJ and wear a belt-buckle-hair-fan attachment to amplify the “wind blown” effect while on a windless set?

    Do you have to go to school to learn how to toss the hair aside “Professionally”, like that?

  40. Ralph,

    “I started 3-4 years ago and I’m still struggling to really know what’s my thing as photographer and to develop as a real pro.”

    Does it ever really settle down at all (your definition of you as a photographer – defined that is). It seems to me to be a continually flowing “out of reach” – thing. Or moreover yet, for me, I continually catalog all these shots in my head I would love to attempt and I pounce on them when the opportunity presents itself…even if the chance to shoot it doesn’t appear before me for years.

    Should I just start drinking the hard stuff now, while I’m still in school?

  41. Chris Walters

    I’ll watch it, but I’ll despise it.

    I hope that “The Shot” doesn’t set off negative repercussions to the photo industry, that’s the last thing photogs need.

    Do you think that “The Shot” really could launch someones career? or will it chew them up and spit them out like the rest of the reality shows?

    I wonder if enrollment at colleges that offer photography degrees will increase because of the show?

  42. I dunno, but on my current “students” budget…that $100k would garner me some pretty damn fine glass….vice the Renolds Cling Wrap I’m currently shooting through now.

  43. TJ,

    I wouldn’t even go to school for photography unless you’re gonna go to a place like SVA or Art Center and take full advantage of the people and things you have access to there. Otherwise, you’re probably better off getting a degree in something like business, taking photo classes as electives, shooting in you’re spare time and assisting people who’s work you like.

  44. some dood is so completely right. I worked as a shooter through school to pay the bills, and I learned more from that then I ever did from school. Wish I’d have done a business/marketing degree more.

  45. This thread resonates with me in a few ways.

    First I am James Russell http://www.russellrutherford.com/html/ , not Russell James http://www.russelljames.com/ and some of the blogs have got us mixed up, showing my work, his quotes, my quotes, his site, etc. etc. until I had to look at my driver’s license and make sure I was really me.

    The second thing that strikes close to home is this year we we’re offered a segment on a different reality show. Though not the scope or host roll as Russell James’, it was a fairly large part of an episode where the host moderator comes into a “big time shoot” (their quotes, not mine) and tapes the whole process from start to finish.

    The thing that finally put me off, other than the all blaming typical Hollywood release, was at the end of the segment, the host would take my camera and shoot the session to really understand what it takes to be a photographer.

    I somewhat laughed to myself thinking if they really knew what it takes to be a photographer 85% would be unsuitable, or too boring for air play, then I somewhat bristled at the thought of someone taking the camera and “playing” photographer.

    Like most of us that do this for a living, this is not my job, or my hobby, or a vehicle for me to get noticed, it’s my 18 hour a day calling and as difficult and challenging as this industry can be, I respect the photograph too much to let somebody play at doing my work.

    As much as the lure of publicity pulled me and as much as it probably would have done no harm to get my name out in the general public, it just wasn’t where I want my life, or my work to go.

    At this point I should also say that I haven’t seen the show and probably won’t, for no other reason than I have to devote my time to my art and my business and that was the real reason I decided to stay on the back side of the camera.

    BTW: I should insert here that this is no implied disrespect towards Russell as though I don’t know him, I believe he’s a fine accomplished photographer.

    Given all of this it helps to cut Russell some slack. We all know this is a demanding and consuming business and it’s very difficult to turn down an opportunity to play on a large stage. For some client’s the host of a show like this would mean a lot, for other’s it may have the opposite effect, but in the end of the day it’s really difficult to judge anybody’s motives without knowing them first hand.

    Personally I try to keep my loyalties and energy on the side of the creative team; photographer, photo editor, art buyer and art director.

    If this type of program helps further our cause then I’m all for it, but if it makes it look like anyone can do this, then I don’t believe it will benifit any of us, because the last thing we want to hear from a client is that anyone can be a photographer.

    James Russell

  46. I’m happy being a photo j student.

    It’s not so much learning anything in the classroom (as I’m sure the photo students have all noticed) outside of the technical aspects, it’s practice. It’s instead of having to do a flow chart for homework, you go and shoot 10 rolls of film. Then, assuming you’re working as a photographer (which most should be by junior year in some way or another) go to work and take more pictures. Then, in your spare time, take some pictures. And, assuming you have decent faculty in the program, you get some extra crit on all of it. That, and it forces me to get off my lazy ass and do those pesky picture stories that I always manage to find excuses not to do otherwise, even though I always find myself happiest after a shoot for a picture story.

    I’ll take that over a flow chart, or whatever the hell it is that business majors do.

  47. Ummm…I like the show. If only because there are reality shows about EVERYTHING…it’s about time they had one with subject matter that I’m interested in. That being said, the show in unrealistic in that I think everyone is shooting with the same equipment and we all know we all use different things. AND in fashion photography, everything is touched up. These “photogs” are showing their work straight out of camera. I guess they are judging based on who can produce the best “raw” photo. But the idea that one of the people they chose composed a shot with a rod coming out of the model’s head is just scary. I think some of them are trying too hard to be artistic and it’s just not working. I’m curious to see what other assignments they get though.

    TJ… I have an intern every semester that works in my studio. My advice…take the technical courses. You need that foundation. But the creative stuff…either you have it or you don’t. Granted, it will develop (no pun intended) over time…but you can’t teach creativity. But no matter what, you need to know the basics of how the camera works and you need to understand lighting. I took classes and dropped each one once I saw the teacher’s work. Not the kind of work I was aspiring to do. That’s why they have to teach. Can’t make a living as a pro. And, by the way…I do make a good living shooting weddings and portraits. MOST of my living is from the portraits because I don’t do a ton of weddings. So if you’re good, you can more than live on it WITHOUT shooting celebs or fashion. I like to shoot real people.

  48. Hello! There’s a vertical grip n the camera for a reason kids!

    I should have gotten into insurance sales…

  49. Old Geezer here. I’m the older brother of Old Yeller. Funny how a post that started about a bad tv show ended up with a bunch of college students asking advice about their future. Well, pull up a chair, boys and girls, and let Old Geezer share some of his hard earned wisdom. I envision a list, of about a hundred items, and we’d have to stop at a hundred, because we’d never remember more than that. Anyone else over the age of forty can chime in too; I’m sure I won’t think of everything.

    1. In college, learn as much tech stuff as you can. This will make you more valuable as an assistant. Don’t just be a navel gazer with a 5D.

    2. In college, take business classes too. You don’t want to be one of those stoner kids that just reads and ponders life. You want to APPLY what you learned.

    3. In college, take as many philosophy classes as you can. Try to think BIG. Try to care about the world. Try to get a grip on the big picture.

    4. In college, take a year off and drive across the country, and camp along the way. Do it with good friends that are smart; not dumbasses that just want to get high. Bring some books. Bring some audio books if you can’t read.

    5. Make sure and take some acid somewhere along the way. Preferably in Monument Valley or Canyonlands. I know that sounds dumb, but everybody needs to do that once or twice.

    6. When you start assisting, consider putting away your cameras entirely for a few years, and concentrate on being a servant. Get into a servant mindspace. Be in a supportive role. Trust me, it helps. This is your time to be a giant sponge and learn as much as you can. It’s not your time to shoot. (Ok, maybe with your iphone, but nothing more serious than that).

    7. Think how you can be most useful to a photographer. That will get you hired, and keep you getting hired.

    8. Eliminate excess Drama from your life.

    9. Live beneath your means. Keep things simple.

    10. Be a good conversationalist. Be well read. No one wants to drive five hours with an assistant that doesn’t have anything to add to the conversation. And it better be better than how to make web galleries from Bridge, or something geeky like that.

    11. Keep your mouth shut around clients. Just be a good energy, but sure as hell, don’t offer ideas. The photographer has his own agenda, and he needs to work that out with the client.

    12. Don’t be late for work. And if you are, call ahead and let the photographer know. Don’t just show up thirty minutes late, especially if it’s on the way to LaGuardia.

    13. Be loyal.

    14. Go beyond the call of duty.

    15. Don’t order expensive drinks after the job, especially if it’s editorial. Be aware of the budget.

    16. Turn off your fucking cell phone during the job. Fine to check messages during lunch, when it’s your time, but don’t be sending text messages to your girlfriend, even if nothing is going on in the job. Trust me, even though you’re not aware of it, there is something ALWAYS going on in the job.

    17. Reread 16.

    18. Be prompt when submitting Invoices. Don’t bitch about photographers always paying late, if you wait twenty days before you Invoice a job.

    19. Be a sponge. Notice everything. Notice the way the photographer deals with the client. Notice the issues that the clients have, and be sensitive to these. You, as an assistant, are privy to a ton of valuable unspoken information; make the best use of it. Learn from it.

    20. Travel out of the country as much as possible. Learn how other people live. Learn that America is not the center of the universe, and learn that you don’t need your cell phone 24 hours a day. Again, be a sponge, about how other people live.

    21. Don’t show up hung over to a job. It’s just not cool. No matter how hard you worked the day before.

    22. Dress well. Doesn’t have to be Prada, but try to look competent.

    23. Learn your job. Learn the subtleties of a Profoto pack. Learn about the fuses in a Pro 7b. Try to learn CaptureOne, even just the basics of it. You are Support; try to know your craft. Even the geeky details. It’s the geeky details that’ll sometimes save a job. That’s when you’ll be the hero, and you’ll get an extra beer that night at dinner. (But don’t show up the next day hung over).

    24. Go to the Times today, and read the Norman Mailer Obit. Try to create your life to be half as interesting as his life. If you do that, you’ll be fine.

    25. Always order good Catering. That’s all the client really cares about. And make sure they get put up in a nice hotel.

    26. Learn as much technical stuff as you can, because Rule Number One is, the client doesn’t really care about your vision of the world. They care about their vision. If you show one thing in your book, chances are, you’ll be called for something else. So have a good grab bag of tricks, for those days when you walk into a beige conference room, and have to shoot a fat guy on the corner of a desk.

    That’s all that Old Geezer knows for now. Maybe someone older can write up another twenty-six.

    Good luck with your careers, young people. God knows the world needs another photographer. With SVA and Art Center and the like cranking them out by the hundreds, soon we’ll have enough photographers to handle all those big budget jobs that we all turn down.

  50. Definitely, Red.

    Handle your rent; handle your car. Handle your parking tickets. Nobody wants the Sheriff to show up in the middle of a job, with a bunch of parking tickets in his hand, asking to see the assistant. Don’t ask to leave early, “cause you gotta go pay your rent or your phone bill”. Handle all that stuff outside of work. Again, you are Support; you are not the star.

    And I forgot the worst one, #27: Don’t approach the client to “show him your work sometime”. It’s the cardinal rule. If you’re there on the job as an assistant, then be in the assistant role. Every client will ask you if you shoot, because they don’t know what else to talk to you about at lunch, but trust me, they really don’t care. They might care a little bit, but they don’t want to see your book. The right way to do it is — Stop Assisting, then become a photographer. Don’t approach a client when you’re on somebody else’s job.

  51. I thank you all in earnest with all that kick (_*_) advice…

    Old G…I’m going to go to Miami Ink and have that entire reply tattooed on my ass…just so when the shooter I’m assisting, give me that puzzling look…I can drop the tighty-whities to the ankles and point to the particular reference number.

    I , TJ – dumb-assed college student, offer my humblest thanks and praise for all these wonderful, battle-tested insights.

    Looks like I need to seriously think about appling #5 as I set out to get my ticket for the next Burningman Festival 2008.

    As far as #3…The US Navy flew me ALL over the world on your tax dollars(thanks for the 4 1/2 year vacation in Kailua, Oahu) and I’ve seen man at his absolute best and I’ve seen him at his most horrendous worst… The two biggest things I’ve learned from 16 years , 52 different countries and two wars @ 5,000 hrs of flight time…

    1 Men are fucking up this planet.
    2. Women are the answer to fixing it.

    Gotcha : More technical it is, while I’m a Stoooopid student.

    Anyone need a “Gofer” monkey…I don’t throw shit when I get upset and I work for peanuts?

    * quickly shows his big, red “I’m available” Baboon ass.

  52. 老老保守的人?

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  53. Watching that video is like watching a train wreck – but that applies to almost all of the “reality” programs on television and the internet. “Old Geezer” has got it right for all the students in the audience. Put away the laptop and pay attention!!