NEWSLETTER FOR JANUARY 1986 Newsletter No 82
Whilst I was in St Louis, the Lisle Ramsey organization was running their National Youth Salute presentations. They had brought in teenagers that had been selected as Youth Leaders from many different states throughout America. These teenagers, spent 3 days together attending different programmes, visiting different factories, visiting different civic leaders. I spoke with quite a few of the teenagers, the afternoon that I arrived in St Louis, and they were all excited One girl, who was obviously very bright, and perhaps was one of the brightest in the school, had thought of herself as an oddity until she met these other 90 teenagers, who were all as equally bright, and it certainly gave her plenty of motivation, as if any person feels that they are different and they see nobody else like themselves, it can possibly lead to withdrawal and a desire to hide this difference.
There was a scholarship involved in this particular programme and the girl that won the scholarship was obviously a leader. Interesting to note, she was also a diabetic and had been working within her own community helping young children who were also diabetics.
The Youth Salute Programme is basically designed to recognize the future leaders in any given community and is a great volume builder for the various studios involved. We are looking at probably trying to get something like this running ourselves in 1987, and to build up to this, we will be looking at 1986 as a learning year and will possibly be leading a small group of people that are interested in this programme, to America to see it in operation in a particular area, possibly Tom and Etta McCarthy's studio in Paducah, Kentucky. If anybody is interested in following this particular programme through, please contact the writer.
Joseph Lust who will be in New Zealand for our February conference, runs a very nice smooth operation. He is based out of his home, and does 99.9 percent of his appointments on location. He has a very large area with a very high ceiling that he calls his study, and he calls it that for the reason that he does not wish to take photographs in this particular area, preferring the environment of his customer.
He does approximately 100 to 200 appointments a year, averaging over 1000 dollars per appointment, and seems to be doing very very nicely thank you very much.
His business is an extremely personal one, having many contacts with his customers, and it almost seemed to me as if he had been reading some of my newsletters with some of the things that he is doing.
Joseph's programme in February looks as if it is going to be an extremely interesting one, and I for one, am looking forward to it.
GROVES in HARRODS
Desmond Groves has a studio on the fourth floor of Harrods, and his camera room is extremely interesting. He has props and settings covering all of his walls. He can use, by shifting his camera just a few degrees, a different background, and consequently one could say that his camera room is almost like a Hollywood movie set. I was extremely impressed by the thought that had gone into it.
His photographs unfortunately were a different situation as none of them appeared to have even the basics of print finishing done, and I am sure that any of the studios in New Zealand that had attended a basic print finishing course given by any of the people that we have brought in, would have been able to do a better job and make his photographs look just that much better.
FINISHING - NEGATIVE RETOUCHING
It's an interesting situation that has evolved in England, and whilst I can understand it evolving in New Zealand because of our distance from the rest of the world and our population, I am at a loss to understand it happening in England. Some of the English photographers of 20 - 30 years ago, did extensive negative retouching, extensive print finishing like what was done in New Zealand. I would even go as far as to say that I would believe that the finishing in England of that vintage was of a higher standard than that of New Zealand. I always remember being in utter amazement as to what some of the old established studios could do in New Zealand, and it is obvious that this total skill was lost in England, when like in New Zealand, they made the change to colour.
To me it's amazing that somebody can exist in a high quality store like Harrods without the rudiments of print enhancement or print finishing, and yet charge the prices that are obviously charged to all of those people that can afford it. It is gratifying to know that we down here in New Zealand, whilst we may be as far as one can get from most places, our photography is of as high a standard as most countries anywhere in the world.
I visited with Charles Green, a photographer in the outskirts of London. Charles has a very high standard of work and had just a couple of weeks previously, received his Fellowship of the Institute.
I looked at his submission (they call it a panel) and I must admit that I was impressed by his high standard. I felt art-work would have made some of his prints just that much better, but as I've mentioned in a previous newsletter, art-work is not done to any degree at all in England.
It was interesting also to talk to Charles about the Institute and his comment was that you've almost got to be a Fellow within the Institute to be able to be listened to by the executive of the Institute.
I was to find this out for myself later at the APL Trade Fair when I was talking to some of the full-time executive on the Institute's stand, and I was horrified at the things that the Institute were not doing and the things that the Institute believed it should not do. It almost appeared as if it was a body to give members some qualification and a social organization.
Charles was telling me of his Fellowship, that it was a sort of double effort to get it. First of all his prints had to pass muster, and then he had to go through a personal interview. Either of these two could have cost him his Fellowship.
One of the questions they asked him was if he had done any print finishing on his photographs, which of course he hadn't, and in my conversation with him and others, it almost appears as if they're frightened of letting somebody get their Fellowship with the help of print finishing.
Of course, when one understands that when the executive of a body or the qualifications board of a body are unable to do a particular phase of photography, they're most reluctant to recognize anybody else who has that ability. This is my summing up of the situation and it's an unfortunate situation that people of that responsibility in any organization should wear such heavy blinkers.
In the various labs that I visited, I did notice that the technique of spotting that was done, was with Flexichrome dyes and brush into mouth technique. I couldn't help but smile when I recalled the comments that were given from the stage at a recent Auckland convention by an English speaker, who commented that "if the Lab puts spots onto a print, then it was the Lab's responsibility to remove it".
No doubt the lab that he uses, uses that technique for spotting, and I just wonder how this particular photographer's reputation will stand up when bacteria starts eating away at the surface of the prints that have been spotted by the lab. Hopefully his was one of the few labs in England that did not use that technique, but in my questioning of the labs, they were not aware, or had not even considered the bacteria in saliva doing damage to prints. Possibly in the cold English climate they may have been knocked dead the minute they left the person's mouth, but I wouldn't count on it.
I found myself one evening at 5 o'clock in a small town called Rugby, which is evidently where that sport originated. It was interesting to note some of the bumper stickers in this particular area which claimed "Give Blood - Play Rugby".
The following morning I visited with a local photographer who had a studio in the main street. His particular comments were the same as every other photographer I called upon, so for brevity I will summarize his comments.
On walking into his studio, I handed him my business card, introducing myself as "Ivan McLellan, I have a Colour Laboratory". At that point his mind must have turned off at his ears, because he did not hear "I'm from New Zealand".
His comments were "Boy, am I glad to see you", and he examined my card a little closer and at that stage he must have clicked with New Zealand, as to its location, and that's where I was from. Because his next words were "but I can't send my printing to New Zealand".
Evidently they have some problems dealing with their laboratories. They evidently cannot rely on post to get their work to the 2 or 3 good laboratories that they are aware of, and have to make do with second-best at a laboratory reasonably close to them.
In comparison to their re-orders, their 1st Run is extremely cheap, but it is not colour balanced.
Their re-orders, are accepted in the massive range of sizes we used to have in black and white, for example;-postcard, 5x4, 5x5, 7x5, 6x8, 8x8, l0x8, l0x10, l0x12,12x15, 20x16 and so forth. However, when they are ordering their reprints from their laboratory, they must order it as "all of negative". If they want any cropping done whatsoever, they are automatically onto the hand enlarged price list. The hand enlarged price list is some three to four times the amount of their "machine prints". If they want their machine prints matching they add 25% to their price list.
It was not uncommon to send 70 percent of the work back for re-makes. Most of the laboratories that I visited and going by most of the photographers' comments, the majority of laboratories appear to be more interested in producing work for commercial photographers or for D&P than getting involved with the portrait/wedding business.
I felt sorry and horrified at the same time for the conditions that the English photographers had to work under, and it also explained to me the high proportion of photographers in England producing their own work. Unfortunately the photographers that were producing their own work, their quality was no better and usually worse than those that were not producing their own work, and it was not uncommon to see photographs on display that had a very high red content or a very high yellow content.
It certainly does give a tremendous boost to one's morale seeing the work that is produced in other countries, and it would certainly give a boost to the average photographers' morale in New Zealand, seeing some of this work.
So, if you are an average photographer, with average ability, and you want a great boost to your confidence, visit some studios in England. It will do you a great deal of good.
and Energizing Relationships with Employees
This particular seminar dealt with the fact that there are basically 6 different sorts of people.
In one person could be a mix of 2 or 3 of these types which are...
Workaholics, which represents 30% of the population
Persisters, which represents 10% of the population
Reactors, which is 30% of the population and are 3 to 1 women
Rebels, which are 15%
Promoter-enterprisers which are 5%
and the Dreamer, 10%.
Not only do you need to know the different styles of people when you are dealing with customers but if you have somebody working for you you need to know the type of commands they find easy and it was brought out that you can talk to these 6 different types of people in their own individual way and the other people don't really take notice of what you are saying. This means if you are talking to a workaholic the other 5, if they have no characteristics of a workaholic, don't really bother listening to what you are talking about.