As a young photographer, just out of college and idealistic enough to believe that my love of music was enough to have a career as a music photographer, I loved to look at books by established photographers. The first book I remember spending a lot of time with was “Photo Diary” by Lynn Goldsmith. This chronicle of her adventures with musicians on various shoots from the mid-seventies to the late eighties hooked me and I loved it. The stories are insightful and allowed me a glimpse into a world I only dreamed about. One story that has stuck with me over the years involves Bob Dylan and an assignment that she received in 1976. Lynn tells the story better than I do so I will use her words here,
“But I never really experienced what it meant to be a professional photographer until I got a call late one night in 1976 to come down to Secret Studio to photograph Bob Dylan and Bette Midler. I grabbed my cameras and hopped in a cab. I was so excited I started talking to myself, saying over and over, ‘I’m going to shoot Dylan, Bob Dylan!’ The driver heard me and pulled over. He told me to get out of his cab, he didn’t want to drive ‘no assassins’.
Many photographers use this term ‘shoot’ to describe the act of making pictures but in today’s world it is best to change the verb under certain circumstances. This morning I received a similar call and an assignment that makes me very excited. When I step into the cab and head to the airport on Sunday I will only say, “I am off to Hawaii to photograph the President of the United States, Barack Obama.”
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