In one of my earlier rounds of unemployment/temporary retirement/enjoying life, I was a photographer’s assistant or I guess you could also say, apprentice. “Apprentice” was more popular at the time because of the new Donald Trump show. Love him or hate him you have to admit the guy knows how to win.
Back then Craigslist wasn’t the force it is today. I ended up finding some old ad on a university website from some photographer looking for an assistant. I didn’t apply but that same week I went to a camera show and at one of the booths I saw a book for sale that was the same one the guy from the ad created. I looked at the book then at the guy and figured it must be the same person. What a fluke.
I went up and inquired about the ad and he said he was surprised that ad was still up. He told me to mail him my cover letter and resume. Mail? Should I wait at a phone booth as well to wait for your call? I ended up getting hired and would go to his place 3 days a week to do bitch work. You may have been thinking I was going to be prepping models and setting up lights but it was mostly going through his 200,000 slides, data entry and other miscellaneous tasks.
This guy was the real deal. He was a Getty Images photographer, won awards and would be called upon by tourism boards from countries all over the world. The farther you stray from your normal life the more interesting things you will learn. This 45-year-old guy who looked and dressed like your boring uncle had young, attractive women chasing him. I’m not sure if they wanted to get naked with him but they definitely would spend time with him. The guy lacked a personality but these women had no problems appearing to be interested in the conversation. They also had less of a problem taking off their clothes for him to photograph them. Girls like cute boys, and women like talent and success.
He didn’t have much interest in seeing his assistants succeed. In his defense it would appear that none of the previous assistants or myself seemed that eager. The way I saw it, he didn’t want to really help anyone too much because no one helped him. As accomplished as he was he wasn’t even close to being happy. He was always pissed off, stressed or depressed.
I was shooting slide film as well because it was very unforgiving which made it a good way to learn. He would examine my slides with a loupe on a light table and sincerely say that my photography was coming along fine. He was even going to put some of my photographs for sale with his work.
During that time because of the internet and digital cameras, everyone in the world became some sort of photographer. This discouraged me and I lost motivation. I never really wanted to be a professional photographer but I liked shooting cityscapes especially at dusk and those shots became way oversaturated. If digital photography never came around then who knows.
After I completed my apprentice hours I would help him out sporadically. It’s been several years since I had any contact with him. Last time was when I sold him 20 pills of ecstasy.
I’ve had minor success with photography. Some of my photos have been published. Most notably in a Lonely Planet book. I have a habit of losing motivation once I get a small taste of success. Since I have time now why don’t I get back into it? We’ll see.