Many years ago ,I started as a photo assistant in New York City. The photographer I worked for, Steve Nichols, had been the 1st assistant (top dog) at a major studio in the city. Then he opened his own place.
Luckily for me I got the job as assistant..
At that time, I was loading Hasselblad backs, processing, printing, spotting, sweeping and getting the best photographic education of my life. Truly.
This was one of the most exciting jobs I’ve ever had. Pay was not the point, but here I was .in a real studio…working on real stuff, handling the real gear.
Someone just asked what the pay was: well I made way under $100 a week and spent a bunch on transportation and food.
I’ll never forget asking Steve what type of photographs he took for himself. He hesitated and came back with “Damon, I’m in here 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. This is my business I don’t shoot anything for myself.”
Well, he saw the look of amazement, disappointment, and bewilderment rush across my face.
Steve knew what I was thinking. He told me” Oh I know. I came to this with a love of photography too. But it’s my business now.”
Those words stuck to me like glue and never left. Yes, I was young and naive. And that wasn’t the last lesson I had in the world of photography. Oh not by a long shot.The next came not so many years later.
More at a later date.
Now Steve was very gracious with his teaching and he doled it out in proper proportions. Letting me use the darkroom on a Saturday was the best. Previously I was putting a red bulb in my bedroom and hoping I got all of the light lights covered with blankets. And didn’t spill the odiferous FIX when dumping back into the jug.
My spotting (retouching the dust spots) lesson came in the guise of making 50 prints for a singer friend of his, and fixing my mistakes in the prints. Everybody’s a winner!
And this equipment I was handling! Wow. I couldn’t believe it. I would’ve swept that studio TWICE a day for the opportunity.
Oh wait..I did.
You know what? I’m still good friends with Steve. And it’s been a very long time since I swept his studio.
Anyway……….. This site was created to serve the photographic community. All of it.
Who better to serve than those who serve others. THE PHOTO ASSISTANTS of the world! (was that too heavy-handed? Corny, ok)
On my last trip to NYC ,I met a whole bunch of assistants and it reminded me of my roots. It has changed quiet a bit as 1st assistants become digital techs, and specialization has come to the mix.
But I love these folks. Anything we can do to serve them is our pleasure.
This evening I received a copy of a newsletter from PhotoAssistant.net.. They are currently in their 9th year.
Honestly I put aside another couple of articles to do this one.
If you are a photographer needing an assistant, check it out. If you are an assistant looking for a gig or support, check it out.
And to all of the assistants out there…tell us how we can help: job lisitings, running avails, whatever. Support photoassistant.net, and let us know how we can supplement.
If you have a story to tell, let us know. You may end up on the front page of photoinduced.com.
Cheers to you Steve. And Thanks. I still have some of your prints.