An election in my home state this weekend brought back memories of photographic assignments handled for government departments in a time long gone.
The difficulty of satisfying a visually ill-educated bureaucrat, negotiating with a very small advertising agency and their limited experience, managing an ill-considered budget and working with models offered up from the Departmental office and their friends was not a pleasant memory.
Yet another difficulty was the demand for the best and highest quality! Not a real problem to me, but when that request was translated into a demand for 5×4″ (12x9cm) colour transparencies, it takes on a new realm of difficulty. The concept of a larger film format is well understood, but my people direction skills were better resolved with medium format (6x6cm) film. In particular I was happy with a Hasselblad camera where I could quickly reshoot shot after shot. Not as easy, nor as fast even with a self cocking Sinar P using a mechanical shutter.
Some really dated concepts are clearly on show when you see a pipe smoking gentlemen clearly illustrating a concept for a state government department. Not a problem at that time!
And of course the difficulty of reproducing these photographs after all this time is compounded by the need to scan from the unders and overs of the transparencies remaining after sending off the best shots to the client.
Unders and overs are exactly that. The transparencies that were not perfectly exposed – and as such not worthy of sending to a client. Current day photographers may not have worked with the constraints that transparency film gave to photographers of that time. Expose correctly or throw the result away!
My final memory of the assignment was the worry by the client that any “supposed” married couples illustrated would be wearing wedding rings.
To hell with cigarette/pipe smoke!