Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The term multitasking dates back to the 1960s and is defined as “the concurrent performance of several jobs by a computer.” Sometime more recently we humans took on this process and, in an effort to makes our lives run more efficiently, started multitasking. We are proud that we can perform like a computer.
Talking on a cell phone is a common contributor to multitasking, and it’s easy to do. Anyone who has one is likely to use it without thinking twice. Sometimes three women will be walking down the street together but two are on their phones. The third has the courtesy (or lack of popularity) not to be on the phone, but has no one to talk to. Why don’t they talk to each other?
Recently, I went into a clothing store to shop for a pair of yoga pants and noticed that I was not among the majority of shoppers, those browsing while talking on the phone. Isn’t it hard enough to find what you want and in your size? Later the same day in a grocery store I overheard one side of a conversation featuring details of a fibroid tumor operation. Didn’t make me feel like planning menus.
Other abuses in multitasking are drivers performing other tasks like applying makeup or eating fast food, children playing hand-held games while spending quality time with their parents, or families watching movies while driving through attractive countryside. There are things to see outside of a car window; even graffiti and other drivers can be interesting.
Multitasking can even be dangerous! It occurred to me how unaware we are of surroundings, when I saw a report about safety awareness for women, suggesting that we not walk in a deserted parking garage while talking on a cell phone. And how many times have we all concluded a phone conversation in the car and realized we didn’t even remember driving?
The deadline for writing my book, “Photo Styling, How to Build Your Career and Succeed,” was a short five months. When writing on the computer or proofreading printed pages I went into another world where interruptions were very jarring. If someone asked me a question, the words sounded alien. But I was used to it - the work involved in styling fashions and products for photography takes concentration. When I’m at my computer processing stock photographs in Photoshop I go into a “zone,” and don’t want to stop and do anything else (especially paying bills!) until I’m done.
I am tired of the pace of multitasking. It feels good to do one thing at a time and know it's being done well. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old person, I propose the concept of monotasking. We should all find the time to try it - but not while doing anything else.
About the Author
Susan Linnet Cox is the author of “Photo Styling, How to Build Your Career and Succeed” a comprehensive career manual for photo stylists, published by Allworth Press, www.allworth.com. She also teaches career workshops through her site www.photostylingworkshops.com.
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Monday, July 27, 2009
Here’s how Cindy describes her next project: “I've got a fabulous shoot with an ad agency on Monday. As one might expect, it wasn't finalized until Thursday afternoon at 4:45 and the agency was closed on Friday (4th of July holiday weekend). Ahhhhh! I've been shopping, prepping, and experimenting with various techniques for three days. They want to do 11 shots in one day - including ice cream - and there's no kitchen, no sink, no range, and no refrigeration. It's going to be a very busy day!” With Cindy’s skills and positive attitude, I’m sure she will have a successful day – and love every minute of it!Afternote: “I finished prepping Sunday night at 10 pm, was up at 4 am and on the road before 5 getting ice, dry ice, and making a trip to the bakery for fresh pastries. (They didn't tell me there was no elevator in the building!) We plowed through the day without a break. I got home at 8:15 Monday night, and as I fell into a chair, exhausted, I realized I hadn't sat down all day except for when I was driving to and from the job. But Susan was right, I had a blast! I can't think of anything more fun than collaborating with a group of creative people. When the group energy starts flowing, the process of creating the image is very exciting!” And the client sent a note after shoot thanking Cindy for the wonderful job she did! Visit Cindy's Website: www.cindyepstein.comCindy is now enthusiastically helping Greb Bertolini, Lisa Golden Schroeder, and me with promotions for the upcoming Food Photography and Styling Workshop in San Diego, September 2009.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
One of the fun things about being a freelancer is the option of trading services with other independent people. I view this is an opportunity to help and network with others, in addition to being a good way to spend less cash.
Years ago I used to design T-shirts for my exercise program in Florida, Tuff Stuff. I managed to attend for months at a time just for designing a cool T-shirt for the instructors to wear. So when I was doing yoga this winter in my neighborhood yoga studio, The Little Yoga Studio, I got an idea. Maybe Maria Camacho, the owner would like to have great photographs of the products she sells. And we could trade.
Maria sells her own line of T-shirts and other great brands of yoga wear; also books, candles, and other yoga-related products. And she liked the idea. I enlisted Cedric Chang, my friend and former student, to help – he always likes to gain experience in the styling and photography world. One afternoon when there were no classes we met at the studio (actually the café down the street to get an injection of caffeine) and he played the photographer role while we both experimented with styling options and backgrounds. We had only three hours before the next class session so we had to use our time efficiently.
Here are some of the images we took that day, which are already up on Maria’s site, www.thelittleyogastudiosd.com and I will be able to attend classes as often as I want this summer!
One bonus for all of the San Diego photo community: while shooting there I realized what a great location the yoga studio is. I have art-directed and styled athletic wear on location before and it’s always a challenge to find a good gym or studio setting. There are no mirrors which make shooting difficult (too many reflection problems, both lighting and the crew) and the bamboo-style flooring and wood walls make a great warm environment. While the studio is not large, I know this would be a great photo location. And now the San Diego Film Commission has The Little Yoga Studio on file.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The current economy allows us a little more time to reflect and look around too. Many are using this “down” time to improve their skills and portfolios, as evidenced by the number of online students from around the world that we have at Photo Styling Workshops. Some are frustrated creatives investigating a new career in a creative field such as food styling, others are already in the field but feeling the need to grow. And if you are reading this blog you may be someone who wants to connect and communicate about our similar goals.
I hope to hear from other stylists about these thoughts and print contributions about the career from viewpoint beyond my own. And life’s anecdotes are always fun in the meantime.
Monday, July 20, 2009
On this 40th anniversary of the U.S. moon landing, I am reminded of where I was that day. I was in Pisa, thumbing around on my college Europe trip. On July 20th, 1969, I was with two friends I had met in a youth hotel in London, one a black guy from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the other, Manuel, a Portuguese guy from Angola. We had hit the road together and would travel for several days into Austria. On July 20th, we went into a gelati, an ice cream, news and espresso shop in Pisa and happened to see the American moon landing, live. A little later to celebrate, we took a pencil and wrote our names, a rebellion of graffiti, on the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The remainder of that summer was a flurry of news events coming from the U.S. There was the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland catching fire, the Sharon Tate murder, and Woodstock. What times!
But the 90s? What happened then? The era was only 9 to 19 years ago; maybe it’s too recent to have the right perspective. Here are some of the recollections of the 90s that were shared the other night:
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and 90210
Baby boomers trying to go straight
Getting back to normalcy
The first Iraq war
The last item, transition, seems to sum up the decade better than anything else. But that brings us back to the original question: What were the 90s all about?
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Until the day after I returned form my trip to Boston and upstate New York this summer. I had a sore throat. I felt like lying down! In two days it didn’t go away. How odd. After four days I went to a doctor; he said "it’s just a virus" but I knew that wasn’t possible. No diagnosis, disappointing, I just wasn’t right. My niece Janice (yes, the catalog whore) who is a physician, diagnosed me over the phone with the Swine Flu, H1N1. She had had it herself and the symptoms matched, exactly. Sore throat, coughing, weariness that just won’t go away, even the urge to whine about it. It was all reassuring but it still wouldn’t stop. What happened to my strong will and desire to triumph over illness with work?!
When I went back to the office and got an inconclusive (because it was too late) test I made a solemn promise to my nurse-practitioner that I would from now on, get a flu shot. I recommend we all do. This has slowed me down and worse, and I'm now in the fourth week! You don’t want to deal with it. Learn more from the NIH Website.
Friday, July 17, 2009
This is the new design of my friend Lauren, who writes the blog Wearing History. Lauren (aka Mrs. Lauren Lee Henline Maringola) sells vintage patterns and fashions made from them in her etsy store. I just love this photograph of her and I don’t think she could have styled herself any better! The hair, the makeup, bottle of Coke, and the classic car, not to mention the cute sailor suit could not be more authentic for the era she loves.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Before. Complete with water drip from the steamer.
Me, Susan, cutting some batting to size to add loft under the T-shirt.
Once the batting is under the shirt, I placed rolls of tissue paper inside to give the shirt those vertical ripples.
Adding a second roll of tissue. These can be finessed later. The tissue is maleable.
Our final shot. We liked the extra rippling since it's going to be such a small image.
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Friday, July 10, 2009
Watching the 1964 Beatles movie, “A Hard Days Night” it strikes us that it is a transition from the Beat era to the next phase of culture. Director Richard Lester, famous for the 1959 short film, “The Running, Jumping, and Standing Still Film” was in an unusual position of setting new standards in an era caught between the Beats of the 50s and the British Invasion. Collaborating with The Beatles, to create a new aesthetic style, Lester directed a film full of absurd wit and charming innocence. Lester later received an award from MTV and was recognized as the father of the music video.
Watch the trailer for “A Hard Days Night” which has recently been re-released. I love those guys!
Photo of Richard Lester, SalonPeople.com
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Once we have the laydown shot, Erika is going to work on creating a masthead for this blog. Will add behind-the-scenes shots along with the masthead avatar. Can’t wait!
What a stylist needs to bring to a job. All the tools in a photo stylist's toolkit for an everyday photo shoot, presented by Susan Linnet Cox, author of Photo Styling. This video is now on YouTube!