Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Pointer

The idea really seemed do-able at the time: hire a prop stylist to create a three dimensional version of the "pointer" that appears on every computer, be it p.c. or mac. Take that prop out into the world and point it at significant places in America's dot com history. is the garage HP was started in, let's point it there. Oh, here is the dorm that the Yahoo dudes used to crash in...let's point it in there.
Enthusiasm was high, I sold the idea pretty hard to the magazine. We went forth on a blustery SF Monday to try it out. I was kind of having a blast: it looked surreal out in the world but it still seemed to make sense. Kinda clunky with the model trying to hide her body behind it, but I kind of loved the home-made d.i.y. qualities it had. It was dada-ist, so very San Francisco, and feeling like field day in art school, taking all this theory out onto the streets to meet the people.
I came home, processed the digital files, high-fived myself, and sent the magazine editors a note saying " We nailed it. You are gonna love it. "
Next day, bright and early I received a concerned sounding email from the photo editor, asking if there were other images I shot that I didn't send perhaps some without the arrow? Could we have a conference call at 2:00? At that point I knew this idea did not fly.Nothing had been nailed, no one was in love.
The one really rock solid thing I've learned is that once you are in the position of needing to defend an idea to a client/editor/subject, you really have already lost the battle. If the shots are not speaking to them, you really will never be able to talk your way out if it. And there is nothing more awkward than trying to explain a photograph. It either speaks for itself or it doesn't.

In the end, the conference call led to a better solution for the project: a path that maintains the spirit of the idea but approaches it in a less goofy and more elegant all is good and we are still plugging away on it, trying to work out the glitches as they arise.
Oh...but there is nothing that really feels the same as the spectacular crash and burn of an idea.


Anonymous said...

Know the feeling. We get into photography because we think we have a better more clever approach. When the client insists on their vision-- one you don't share--off goes the enthsiasm engine. You know your career has ended when the only reason you've taken the job is the money.

ThomasBroening said...

How much sunshine do you intend to blow up our ass? Instead of saying you had an idea for the story you really liked and the editor's weren't bright emough to get it you tell us this feel good story of trying an idea and it failing. But guess what? Its all good because you all came up with a solution that was even better!!! Great news! And then you all hugged on the conference call.

Do we need more hype and exageration in this business? Isn't the point of the blogs to inject some truth into this industry? Do we need a blog manifesto? A blogifesto?

Anonymous said...

i say this is brillant f--- the editor. f--- them

Timothy Archibald said...

thanks for all your responses...but anonymity isn't really necessary. come on....reveal your names, please!