Friday, May 30, 2008
What's Your Vector, Victor?
When I was 17, I had saved up some money working as a busboy to spend six weeks backpacking through western Europe. It was the most liberating experience, much needed at the time. I took tons of pictures and kept a written journal through nine countries (which might get its own blog someday).
I've always felt the ultimate luxury was being able to transport yourself to some far off place to taste the food, see the art, meet the locals and feel like a foreigner. Lucky for me, my job takes me to places where I get to do just that.
Work-related travel for photographers is much different than travel for most people with real jobs. We're not traveling to open a new branch, source suppliers or close any deals. We are traveling because some client feels there is no one in that particular spot who can do the job better than we can. That's a serious validation of the service we provide. And in the internet age, when it's fairly simple to hire any photographer in any locale, I hope clients opting to send "their photographer" overseas continues.
A traveling photographer knows his job is not as glamorous as his friends think. Convincing a flight attendant that your carry-on is not actually 3x the weight limit, watching a clueless TSA agent smear his greasy fingerprints over your $2,000 lens and waiting in the baggage claim area with your fingers crossed is certainly no way to commute to work. One time, my assistant asked an American Airlines flight attendant for a pillow and she barked, "We have no pillows!" and once I was told, "since 9/11, we have no more magazines."
Did bin Laden plot to take away my in-flight reading material?
To keep a running documentation of these glamorous trips, I'm using a custom Google map of our work locations (not personal trips but places where clients have actually paid us to create images). The map will be continually updated as new travel is completed.
Once in a while, I am asked by a new client if I can work somewhere like...Ft. Lauderdale (about 15 minutes from my house). Now, I can just email a link to this map and they will see that my love for travel knows no boundaries.