Photos of Erica and Being Zen.
Sometimes I’ll do a test shoot with an agency and the agent, for whatever reason, disappears off the face of the planet and never gets back with me about which images they’d like me to retouch. I don’t know why this happens, but I’ve heard similar stories from other photographers, so I assume its not just me. This causes me no end of anxiety, especially for the first three weeks.
Week one I’m blowing it off all cool-like: “Maybe she’s busy, you know, or out of town, or they’ve got a trunk show this weekend. Or they’re casting for a commercial. I’m sure she’ll get in touch. I’m sure its fine. I’m busy, too. I don’t have time to edit them anyways.” Week two is harder to keep cool. “She didn’t like them. She hated them. Dammit. I should have used a stylist instead of dressing her myself. I shouldn’t have used that new lighting set up. I should play it safe for jobs like this. I haven’t heard from the model either. This is bad…” Week three I’m just in inconsolable wreck and I never get out of my pajamas. “I’m selling my camera on Craigslist.” By week four I’ve recuperated, I’m out of my pajamas and back to work and those photos get buried on the hard drive never to be thought of again. New jobs come up. New projects. And so on and so forth. Most of the time none of this has nothing to do with me, its just the fleeting nature of the business.
There have been times when I’ve never heard back, and then called in another model package some time later and they’ll attach a little note saying “We loved your photos. Thanks!” Or six months go by and I’ll get an urgent email that says the agent needs four photos retouched ASAP because X is going to New York and needs her book updated. Its all very touch and go. Hard not to get your feelings all wrapped around it. I imagine there are jobs where you provide a product or service and you have no emotional attachment to it whatsoever, but I don’t have one of those jobs. The lesson I should learn from all this is that I need to be a Zen motherfucker, and while I am a self-absorbed, Morrissey-listening, tofu-eating, delicate-ego-ed, sensitive artist-type, the rest of the world mostly isn’t.
I would love to hear your nail-biting coping tactics…feel free to comment below. Or, if you’ve gotten to the point where you turn in the work and give no fucks, I’d love to hear about how you got there, too. Be well, and check out these pictures of Erica. Makeup by Stephanie Brick.