Thursday, May 21, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover

We get a lot of unsolicited email from photographers and photographer wanna-be's; more than ever lately, since everyone is hurting. I do my best to respond to all of those who come to me directly and not as part of a mass emailing. I figure if someone has taken the time to send a personal note, the least I can do is send them back a quick response. On most occasions, I can judge the quality/professionalism of the work based solely on the note, through its content and its appearance. Large, clunky type? Sub par work. Dated logo in the signature? The same. Mention of an attached resume? Not ready for prime time. For awhile we collected the worst examples and displayed them on a wall in our office for fun. While it made us feel better about the quality of our own group, we ultimately decided the wall of shame was too mean spirited and bad Karma, so we took it down. Recently I received one that would have definitely made the wall. It was written by someone making a career change into photography out of necessity due to losing his former job. He spoke of finding his true self through his explorations into photography, and in uncommon honesty, told me details about his personal life that one wouldn't expect in an introductory letter, especially in a business setting. I figured, "This is going to be good!", totally writing off any chance the guy had talent. I used the link he provided to his "site"- a flickr page I believe (another giveaway that the work wouldn't be decent) - and began looking through the imagery. It was unpolished, yes, but my prior expectations were blown away by the potential he showed, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him on the pro-circuit in the future. Lesson (re)learned.

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