Surfing the RAID

The innocuous Raid. It's all in there.

I have always believed that life is episodic. I can track different paths I have chosen over the course of my life. I made the choices, took the paths, and really have never looked back. Well, I’ve looked back with  gratefulness at having made those choices, or in some cases, having luck and timing make those choices for me. In my career I see the good fortune of having met and worked with Tricia Guild in London and because of her, learning the meaning of “style”, and becoming a valid interiors photographer. Then Anna Wintour in NY, as well as Lloyd Ziff when he was at House & Garden. And then there was Jim Sebastian, who taught me more about the logic and elegance of light than anyone I ever worked with before. His precision, tenaciousness, and rejection of the “good enough” attitude made me such a better photographer. There will be more about Jim another time.

I was looking through my RAID storage and it was like looking at a diary of the last 10 years. I have some older images in there, but mostly the digital images I have shot in the last decade. I saw my kids grow up, pets who have died, people I love age, and a long history of my work all via the RAID.

Laurie working on her cat-top computer, Nick&Liv 2005, Megan died in 2010, Cooper died in 2011.

But this isn’t about the stupid RAID system. It’s about a group of people who have turned up, unexpectedly, as I surfed my professional history. They are in every picture in one way or another. Ghosts, easily overlooked, hidden  in the background. Bill Stockland and Maureen Martel and their entire gang! They were on the front-lines of every job, battling, convincing, cajoling Art Buyers and Art Directors. Letting them know that I was the best photographer for their campaign, their clients, and, finally, their careers. I wasn’t always the best choice for the job, but in the S/M collective heart, and in my heart, I was.

In the late ‘80s, I didn’t have a NY rep and things were really rolling. The Studio dealt with the agencies directly, composed each portfolio of 8X10 chromes (ever see one? just beautiful) specifically to appeal to the job it was requested for. I was repped in Chicago by the legendary Bill Rabin, and with every job we did, he urged me to talk to Bill and Maureen about hooking up in NY. I resisted, he reminded me that times were changing. I resisted and told him that time is always changing, after all, that’s the nature of time! He persevered and I went to see Stockland Martel. They were just three people back then, Bill, Maureen, and Pamela Lockhart. Bill loves to sell and he worked hard on me. He stroked my ego, telling me he couldn’t strengthen my career, but he could broaden it. Get me jobs I was overlooked  for at that time.

I resisted, and politely said no. Now, my wife Laurie had told me back in her food stylist days, that she had met Bill at some shoot, and that if I ever wanted a rep, he and I would get along well. She said he was an old hippie, like me, and had the right approach. Well, little by little, Bill Rabin, Laurie, and Bill Stockland’s persistence got to me. In 1990 or so, we got “married”. What a marriage! We rode through good times and hard times, we agreed and we disagreed, we sometimes fought like crazy, we tried to follow the markets and adapt. They prodded me, sometimes with no result, to stay fresh and vibrant. I watched as they were on the forefront of the industry, changing from simply being photographers’ reps to a worldwide brand. That was both good and bad in my eyes, as I liked my individuality. When a photographer says he’s with Stockland Martel, it gives them sort of instant credentials in the industry.

Bill Stockland amidst the chaos that would become the new S/M offices.

So why this walk down Memory Lane? Because we got divorced this year. As in many marriages, we had grown apart over time. It was amicable, we all felt it was time. So after a period of  being single, I am now remarried! GREENHOUSE REPS and I are currently enjoying our honeymoon! It is sort of getting married again in many ways. First of all, I’m head-over-heels in love with them and their rooster. Beth Galton has been a friend of mine for about ever and she is  the best food photographer out there. Period.  Same with Marty Umans, except his food always looks like the perfectly timed portrait, which it is, often seeing the humor and irony in people.  Then there are the other folks who are busy setting the photographic trends other photographers will copy tomorrow. As for Robin and Gary, they are already legends in the commercial photography world, and Christine and Jennifer are hot on their tails.I have been given new energy by having new partners and new eyes. Gary and Robin are great to work with and we will be showing much new work, never seen before. This blog exists because of them, as well as my fledgling personal website. We care about each other’s future and I expect to grow with them, as I expect they will grow with me. A  new episode is starting.

So 20 years with Bill & Maureen, et al! All thanks to the urging of Bill Rabin. Great memories, we have been through a lot together. I have watched them change the profession of “photographer’s agent”. They have grown and responded to the changes in the industry, better than I would ever have done alone. We’ve laughed, argued, fought, made up just like in every “marriage”, and in the end I love them still (like in many divorces!). They are good friends and I wish them well.

A GREENHOUSE.

But that was then, and Greenhouse is now. We’re leaving on a honeymoon that I hope lasts forever!


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