The weeks leading to the review were excessively stressful. I had decided to clean the slate and only work with clientele that was on the level that my skills represent. Given my standing, it’s a high-wire act that could be considered self-destructive. However, I’m about fully invested in the concept of patterns: systems of thought and behavior. Behavior is not what people say, but what they do.
My preparation of bumping up my reel and portfolio with action/sports work went for naught so the evening before the event I mined through the archives and pulled 6 skateboard shots and color corrected them. I didn’t know who I was speaking with so I wanted to have a variety if I came across those who wanted “pure” photography. That actually is normally the case. Every branch of commercial photography wants something different and what you find in a portfolio review (as I’ve mentioned in other reviews) are reactions of personal bias (subjectivity), industry trends and company norms.
Someone will like what you have. It’s a given. The most evil troll has a troll at home that loves him/her. Now someone there might not like what you present. That’s about targeting. Even the best presentation won’t allow you to display your amateur pr0n images to a Nickelodeon rep for a good end. As I mentioned, I didn’t receive my reviewer list and Heidi (director of APA L.A.) was stuck behind a flipped over 18 wheeler with one thousand other Valley-ites so board-member Dennis Dunbar and I set up the facility (TBWA Chiat-Day) and greeted the early birds as best we could. Once, Heidi got there and Anthony Nex (APA big wig), I continued my volunteer duties before going to my first reviewer who had been late because of traffic also.
My book was mixed with all types of shots that I had sequenced. I was on a “fuck it” kind of mode by then because that really was all that was left with the lack of food, sleep, and limited time to prep. I had intended on changing clothes prior to meeting with the reviewers but they had already seen me moving shit around so why front?
Jenny Horn from Fox Photo Publicity liked my book for the most part. What I came to understand is that would be revealed in plain sight later is that entertainment people look at imagery completely differently than advertising people for the most part. They are used to certain types of photo manipulation that isn’t as readily reflected in other commercial photography. I’ve spent a lot of time in advertising/design houses so my aesthetic somewhat reflects that. Basically, Jenny Horn liked that I showed a range and a skill with entertainment personalities. Also, I should pop a few more celebrity types in the portfolio just for the sake of ease of viewing.
Denise Knickerbocker was a little bit cooler on what I presented. Part of that I’m certain was that I was getting a little weirder. I had my son’s Rey Mysterio toy with me to keep me focused because I hadn’t eaten in a couple of days because of my strenuous schedule. I did explain to her that I didn’t hear any voices from Rey… unless she did also. The main thing that Denise said was that some of the shots (conceptual ones) probably were too complicated in that it didn’t leave anything left for an ad agency to do. She knows it’s display of a skill/aesthetic thing but there is always the psychological projection to which you have to be wary.
Jigisha Bouverat & Rosie Ollero: I met them in that order and I’m grouping them because their thoughts were fairly similar. I’ve known Jigisha for about 3 years now so I already knew what she liked and what she had to say. She only dug the action/sports shots and mainly the volleyball shot that I threw in the night before hand. It’s still not on my site as I’ve been BUSY. She shot straight and told me that from her experience her former company (TBWA Chiat-Day) would never hire me on any I presented with the exception of a book full of shots as the ones she pointed out. Rosie was unimpressed by all shots. But I definitely wanted her to get to that point because that level of clarity is more important than a bunch of runaround. I’m not a kid and I’m not looking for a critique at a review. I’m going there to meet the people so I know what to present to them for business. As I had told both of them, “I’m made of steel. Shoot straight.” People ordinarily don’t believe that you dig the bottom line and I appreciate them for their candor.
Annie Hong and I were destined for increased weirdness. It was the last one of the day so I was hungrier and I had ZERO editorial images. She went into reviewer mode which I tried to stop by asking her personal work history questions. It was a tug of war but I think we made it out of there with our body parts in tact. She gave me her card after I asked for it which was all I expected from the situation. She said I was the strangest meeting that she had there that day. The cliché of saving the best for last may or may not be true.