ImagePhotographers specialize. There are food shooters and interior specialists, sports shooters and portrait talents. Those that specialize develop deeper and richer talents and knowledge in their chosen area and are worth every penny it takes to hire. Don’t hire a food shooter to do a wedding or a wedding photographer to shoot the super bowl.

I know and have had the pleasure of working with some amazing talented shooters who knew food or gardens, architecture and sports, music or interiors as good as anyone. I have also known some wonderful photographers who, like me, are specialist at being generalists…shooters like my friend Gary Clark and the great Joe McNally.

So yes, I think of myself as a generalist. Most travel photographers become very solid at portraits and architecture, gardens and interiors and food and drink and lifestyle activities and so much more. 

When I began my freelance career a year ago after shooting travel for almost 25 years I wasn’t sure where my work would come from going forward. I initially guessed from the travel arena. But being off the road for the first time in so long has left me more content being home than I would have guessed. I expected after a few weeks at home I’d get a ‘jones’ to travel. It hasn’t happened. Not that I would object to a good travel assignment, just that I’m enjoying a more stationary way of living.
But if I’m shooting mostly near the home what work is there? So far this year has been busy. I’m blessed to have so many good friends and contacts who’ve put their faith in me. My goal when I started freelance was to build up the number of days a week I was working. I started with every other week and finally got to where I had a shoot every week. Lately it’s been two or three a week and I’m very happy about it. And the variety has been exciting too, playing to my versatility.
In the last few weeks I’ve shot:

  • bankers for a business magazine
  • A country store
  • A BBQ restaurant for a book
  • A Doctor doing medical research into concussions
  • A magazine ad for a stationary company
  • A Beard Award winning chef, his restaurants and food
  • A nursery plant collection for print advertising

And before this week is out I’ll have added

  • architectural shots for an engineering company
  • an attorney for a business magazine
  • an indie movie set
  • a story on repairing a marriage for a women’s magazine

And I’ve committed to teaching a week-long workshop on Travel in Charleston, spoken to a graphic design class at a college and started shooting a book on BBQ.

I’m trying to keep all the plates spinning and I’m having fun. 

 

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Losing Henry

Henry changed our lives. I know it was time but I still regret letting him go. Now 14, a brain tumor had all but eliminated any joy in his life.

Our last few years together were hard. Slowly our amazing once-in-a-lifetime dog began leaving us.

Henry had been my dog but so much of his care fell to my wonderful wife since I was so often on the road for work. It was an incredible amount of work too. As if I didn’t already owe her so much, I could never thank her enough.

What Henry should have had was 10, 000 sheep. But his life went another direction. We adopted this crazy border collie from the Birmingham Humane Society shortly before he turned one.

He’d been abandoned there twice. Being naive we didn’t recognize what were getting into. It was a learning experience for all three of us. Henry was lucky we lived where we could walk and walk we did.

I’m sure my wife walked him well over 8 thousand miles. He was walked at least three times a day 365 days a year. And the early, usually pre-sunrise, walk was near 3 miles. He kept us in shape.

He loved to ride in my 66 mustang. He loved Blue Bell Ice Cream. He loved going to George Ward Park to play disc golf. He was the canine Mayor of George Ward.

He was…

45 pounds of Sagacious, Steadfast Courage.

Big hearted, Stern and commanding.

Brilliant and didn’t suffer fools lightly.
Generous and calming with lesser dogs (and people)
An enemy of chaos.
Cat hating-water loving, hard working, ice-cream worshiping, highly observant but rarely playful.
Contemptuous of stupid commands.
Self aware reasoning and strategic
Protective and patient and absolutely the most handsome dignified dog ever.

Our deepest thanks to Dr. Arthur Serwitz and his great staff at Riverview Animal Clinic for the great care over the years. Especially for Dr. Serwitz kindness and compassion yesterday as he came to our house to help with Henry and ease his way. There aren’t words enough…

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Unexpected Career Change

I started this blog last week and have done two post so far. I wanted to document the technical and creative problems I’ve faced on a weekly basis as Senior Photographer for Travel for Southern Living Magazine for the last 24 years. Sadly, those first two post last week were from my last two shoots for the magazine as a staffer. Further cuts across parent company Time Inc came down to my level and our photo department was hit hard. It’s a shame but buying photos or even getting free images is a lot cheaper than staff and we were easy to cut. It’s the time’s we live in.

This morning I woke up unemployed for the first time since three weeks in the summer of 1974. I’ve made my living photographing. I’ve made a career out of something I love, something that satisfies me as no other activity can.

So the direction of this blog obviously has to change. Now I hope to keep it going as a document of my search for new directions, new outlets for my creative work. I’m without any clue how to bid a job, bill a job, what day-rates are, who’s buying or even what I want to pursue with my camera. I don’t even own my cameras.

What I do have is talent, energy, curiosity and creativity. Fortunately all that is portable. I also do have a good reputation with the many people I’ve been fortunate to work with and a lot of good and talented friends. I’ve developed a quality look and style of work shooting food, drinks, people, lifestyle activities, shopping and architecture…all the elements of good travel stories. Because what is Travel but where to stay, where to play, where to eat and where to shop. Within that arena you’ll find my work.Image, Ann Savoy-Louisiana Musician at home.

I’m frightened by the unknowables and anxious to move forward. But another part of my brain is telling me to take a short break, try not to panic and jump too fast.

I need a website, I need to organize my contacts. I need most of all to rest a little after spending half of every year for 24 years on the road in hotels, airports and rental cars. I need to spend time walking the dogs.

I have a chance to offer a fairly unique blog with this sudden life change and I hope I can keep it going. I hope you’ll follow me and check back occasionally. And if you have any photographic needs I hope you’ll let me know too.

Please share your thoughts with me.