So if you're reading this, you're dying to know what happens next. It's the same reaction when someone asks 'why did the chicken cross the road?' Everyone is curious to know why...
Well, you may be a little disappointed. I don't have a joke or punch line to follow. But, you might enjoy a little story about how I keep my day interesting.
I use a professional photo lab to process most of my prints. (There is a big difference between consumer and professional photo labs - these aren't grocery stores or pharmacies who also happen to have a consumer photo lab in their big box space. These are professional labs that complement my studio and field work. But that's a discussion for another time...or see/read more here!) Sometimes, I use a national lab for specific fulfillment needs but for the most part, I prefer using a local pro lab when possible. In these cases, I "drop of my film" and a couple days later, pick up my prints.
Of course, there is no film these days (usually...)! So, submitting a print order is done online - just like most of our modern commerce. We sometimes forget, there are people involved along the way, even in e-commerce! Real humans, real people! I was reminded of this recently...
When placing online lab orders, there is a spot for comments. This is useful if there are specific requests from the photographer, which isn't usually necessary... But, when it DOES master artistically or creatively, it's absolutely essential to have this option! You know, back to that "professional photo lab" thing! ;)
But, for the most part, my comments are blank because most of my portrait work thus far is pretty straightforward, lighting and color wise.
This felt boring...another boring step in a boring part of the creative process! So one day, I decided to have some fun. I wrote, "Why did the photographer cross the road?" in the comments section, just for fun.
Tail of the DragonA photo from our recent vacation to Fontana Lake, NC. I have the Tail of the Dragon on my bucket list - though I'm not sure if I explicitly stated "on my motorcycle!" After driving the 300 turns in this 11 mile stretch of mountain rode, I think I'm happy enough to say I've done it...even if by car, respecting the 15mph speed signs along the way! http://tailofthedragon.com/details/
And kinda forgot about it, quite honestly.
It was a couple days before I made it in for my prints. As I was handed the envelope with my prints, the clerk said, "The photographer crossed the road to pick up his prints!" - and smiled, waiting for my response!
I was startled - mainly because I had NO idea what he was talking about, having forgotten my secret note from the online order! Before my mind went (completely...) to 'this guy is a nutcase!,' I remembered my question! There was an awkward pause on my part...then I burst out laughing! It was a great answer, and he made be laugh!
Of course, I was glad he had an answer, because I didn't! I had just thrown the question out with no punchline, thinking "oh, these things never really get read anyway..."
Since then, every order has a one-liner or joke in the comments section. And even with that, I can sometimes fall into a routine - this is just a step in my workflow. Then I remember, it's a connection I have with a real person, who knows my name, who listens to my jokes - and sometimes even laughs. It's someone who sees ALL of my studio work - something I don't think my fiancé can claim! And, I picked this lab because it is a professional photo lab. So, they are a part of my professional and creative "team" - without their expertise, I couldn't do what I do.
On a professional level, I value my colleagues' expertise. On a personal level, the rapport we've built brings me joy - and some laughs! And all of this reminds me to look for ways to "be" in the moment, to connect with others, to be open to possibilities.
PS: The joke I found for today's order was "If you saw a drowning person and you were to choose between saving him or capturing the moment, what aperture will you use?"