Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Finding Opportunities in problems

Tired and packing up

We had just completed a long day of shooting business situations in an office in downtown Buenos Aires for our stock photo collection. We were all tired as we began to pack up our equipment and various props…and attempt to return the office to the condition it was before we started.

My young Argentine stylist was putting a large hourglass back into its box when she slipped. The hourglass plummeted to the floor and the glass bowl shattered. She was distraught over the breakage, so I told her not to worry, I would take care of everything. “What could it cost”, I thought to myself.

Language difficulties and repairs

Back at the prop house (still in Buenos Aires), the manager insisted that I had to return the hourglass in original condition. Oh boy. Let me interject here that I do not speak Spanish particularly well. My argentine assistant told me I speak Spanish “Like Tarzan”. Do to language difficulties I ended up hiring an assistant for an entire day to help me track down a glass blower and have the hourglass repaired. By the time I got the hourglass back to the prop house I had spent ten times the rental fee of the hourglass.

An impromptu shoot

However, back in my temporary apartment after the shoot, having nothing better to do, I set up a make shift studio (using light stands, a Profoto 7B with a couple of heads, and a black velvet cloth I always take with me on location shoots) and shot the various components of the broken hourglass (the wooden frame, broken pieces of glass, and sand). Then, on my laptop, I was able to create the accompanying image of an exploding timepiece.

Concept stock photo and the last laugh

In a way, I got the last laugh. Had we not broken the hourglass this image would have never been created. This conceptual stock image has more than returned the cost of renting and repairing the prop, and will keep on returning income for the foreseeable future!

Whenever something unexpected happens (note I did not say bad….just unexpected), look for the bright side. See if there is some way to turn an apparent misfortune into a positive experience. Most of the time I bet you can!

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