Perhaps it’s because of the time we hired a photographer who specialized in photographing children, and he made every one of the kids cry to the point where I had to take walks with the kids and their parents in order to calm everyone down. (We never used him again!)
And then there was a shoot on the roof of a wonderful studio in Brooklyn where the sun was so harsh I had to scrounge the streets of Williamsburg trying to buy up TONS of sunscreen products. (No easy task in a hood mainly filled with shops catering to Hasidic Jews.)
Could it be the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we would occasionally order with lunch (first checking on all allergies) devoured by adults as kids feasted on fruit and protein bars? And speaking of adults, maybe it is the parents and guardians at these photo sessions in a range of behavior running from ever so loving to ever-so-freaking-in-the-way.
Hey Jimmy… What about the time two years ago when you were rushed to the hospital with a glucose level in the 600 range, and the docs noted you should have been in a diabetic coma (I was suddenly and mysteriously diagnosed as a Type One Diabetic since that day) rather than in a romper room of kids being fitted with glasses?
Speaking of “fit” here’s a scenario for memorable duress: Take a handful of kids into an amusement park where the challenge of photographing them is ramped up by the fact that we have boxes full of eyewear in prototype and random sizing assortments needing to be properly fitted on barely formed bridges with young children that interpret your signal to take a finger and push the glasses upwards on their noses as a call-out to PICK their noses or poke themselves in the eye.
Notable verbal outtakes over these past 20 years from the kids at a shoot… “I HATE these glasses!” “I HATE glasses!” “I HATE that other girl!” “I HATE that man with the camera!” “I HATE that lady touching my hair!” “I HATE YOU!”
Our tack this year is a bit of a variation. The main feature is a detail-focused array of still-life photos by the ever-resourceful Ned Matura. The cover and the What’s Right Now page was shot by the ever-entertaining Stephen Mark Sullivan featuring the “wonder” of Ivy, Art Director Iris Johnson’s daughter. As our Parting Glance page attests, Ivy is no stranger around here!
• James J. Spina