4.24.2016

Cleaning up the studio and setting up for next week. A (almost) weekly tradition here for the last 20 years. Why should this week be any different.

I couldn't help posting this as I love all the intersecting lines and the oval.
Of course, I could never have a creative conference in here; it's too bright!

 When I moved into my current studio space nearly twenty years ago is seemed relatively spacious. Nothing like the East-of-downtown space I left behind but uncluttered and of a good volume. The walls were white and the ceiling was high and the studio was about 20 feet from the kitchen in the house. The nicest part was going from paying an exorbitant rent of $2,200 per month to, basically....free. 

But one habit didn't change; I'd work through the week, going from job to job, and changing gear to match the parameters about as often as most obsessive people change underwear. By Friday of most weeks the floor, and other horizontal spaces in the studio, were covered with spent cameras, props, lenses, abandoned coffee cups and bundles of extension cords, running hither and thither. 

The floor from my door to desk generally looks like an obstacle course by Friday at "closing time." Unless I'm working under a tight deadline I try to ignore the mess on Saturdays. That's the day of the week when we do our longest, hardest swims in the mornings, have lunch as a family, and generally get the shopping and external stuff done. In the evenings we try to do anything but work...

By Sunday, right after the morning swim practice and coffee, I'm ready to get back in and straighten out the mess. Well, it's not that I'm very motivated to do this but I know that if I don't get a jump on it the rest of my week will be.... trying. 

My new downsizing fad hasn't been visited upon the lighting gear (yet) and I was sorting framed art all of last week, so the studio looked like some mischievous giant had turned the space upside down, given it a good shake, like a Snow Globe, and then set it back down again. I looked at my schedule and realized that I'd booked a day and a half of studio still life shooting early in the week, a day of fast turnaround post production, followed by a Thurs. shoot that would involve location still photography and studio based videography (against a white background). I needed to get organized. And that's pretty much how I spent today. Studio Dog was unamused and refused to step into the studio, demurring simply because it was the "weekend" and the cock of her head at my request for company made clear that, in her mind,  some things are just not done on balmy Sunday afternoons. 

We take delivery of five high technology products on Monday which all need to be photographed from multiple angles by Tues. At the end of the day the products have to be repacked and turned over to Fedex to be overnighted home to their masters. I'll spend Weds. grinding out beautiful clipping paths and other wise dropping out backgrounds. Since the products are all black I will spend (too much) time dust spotting in PhotoShop as well.

Since I won't have time to clean up the studio on Thurs. (the shoot starts early) I wanted to try and bring enough order to the space now; up front, in the hopes that I can spiff the place back up on Weds. evening.

Most of the people I talk to who are not in the advertising or imaging businesses don't seem to know that so much of our time is spent doing mundane domestic tasks, and very little of our time is spent casting for high fashion underwear models, or sipping Cuba Libr├ęs on tropical beaches. When I mention the time we spend "refreshing" the studio they are shocked, presuming, of course, that all the drudgery is done by my entourage. I would love to pretend that it's been years since I've had to load my own memory cards into cameras and that my assistants make sure the cards are formatted but....we're well into 2016 and I've yet to hire any other assistant than Ben. And since he left to go back to college around the third week of January... well.... let's just say I wear multiple hats.

The only saving grace of doing the cleaning and straightening myself every week is that I've learned by muscle memory and reflex to put everything back exactly in the same place from which it came. The monolights get packed with the correct sync cords and the right reflectors. Extension cables go back into the cable bag. Etc.

I'm sure some efficiency expert out there has been bar-coding their gear and scanning it by way of running inventory, but I think that may just be a little bit too organized. At least this week, with all the other camera gear gone, organizing the Sonys in the camera case was much easier than it's been for years.



4 comments:

Jon M said...

Who stole the handset from the Cisco 7900 series IP phone? :-)

Kirk Tuck said...

Hi Jon, I was walking through as they were still setting up their offices and bringing in gear. I'm sure it was in that box I saw just outside the door. You know, the one next to that box of melting Popsicles. The one over by the typewriter ribbons...

Ralph Aichinger said...

Might be a trivial comment, but the missing handset really irritates me here. Makes a detective story out of a slick business shot.

Jon M said...

Oh...ok. I thought someone might have wanted it removed for photographic reasons.