Monday, March 7, 2011

[FIND] Investigations - Photos and Freebies

This past weekend, I submitted to an afternoon of fun and photos. Mark Tucker, one of the best known and most widely respected photographers in Nashville, asked to spend an afternoon photographing a private investigator while working. While an actual ride-along would have risked exposing confidential information, a staged surveillance wound up being a fantastic way to let Mark make pictures and allow the two of us to chat about the work.

I think, and I hope I'm not talking out of school, Mark has been trying, like most of us, to get his head around the idea of creating content for free, giving things away. We did not discuss this while on our photo shoot, but it was on my mind. Mark is an exceedingly talented photographer. He's used to being hired for a job and making amazing photos for commercial use. He is one of the few people left who still knows how to make a perfect image on film, not relying on post production photo-shop to fix problems.

I can say that he made me, a not so easy to photograph person, feel special for an afternoon. There's something about having a photographer create images of you. The photographer, by the very boundaries of the process, must focus on you and you alone. It's an incredibly intimate process, ripe for discomfort. In mark's hands the camera does not seem like a tool or a weapon, rather it seems to...well...just not be there.

Mark is working on a new project, a sort of narrative/photo essay for his blog. It's a product that, to paraphrase Mark, stands the chance of being unconsciously devalued simply because it's on the internet. I see the point he's making, it's not lost on me. I too struggle with trying to figure out how to (forgive me) monetize all production.

But as a leader, a connector in his market (all markets are conversations), Mark is poised to be the one people talk about. Hugh MacLeod says that we should own the conversation. "Conversation ownership isn't rocket science. ...the higher up the food chain/social hierarchy you go, the more likely they're talking about you and not about somebody else."

The takeaway: Simple, Mark Tucker spent an afternoon photographing me. We shared an intimate little chunk of time. Mark made me feel special. I offered Mark a glimpse into my little world. It was a social exchange, both giving and both receiving. The real value, though, is that I will brag on Mark and his work and Mark has provided me with exposure on his blog. We continue the conversation ad-infinitum. Basically, by starting his project, My Day With, mark is taking title to the conversation.

I hope you will take a few minutes to drop over to Mark Tucker's blog and check out his work.

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