We just updated our cellular plans at the paper and each photographer had the chance to pick out a new cel phone. There were a bunch of free models as well as some nicer phones if you wanted to pay a premium.
Watching our photographers choose phones was a lesson in personality.
The thoughtful perfectionists among us did a lot of research into the most reliable, best reviewed phones and picked the top-rated model.
The photographer who gets texts all day from his girlfriend looked into a model with fold-out keyboard.
I joined a small group who ordered the new chocolate phone (the LG VX8550).
All week I was asked why I chose that model. There is no real answer. There was no feature that sold me. In fact, I can’t even tell you what features this phone has. My decision was style over substance.
Simply put, it was the coolest phone available. And I don’t even care if it works or not.
p.s. Apple’s iPhone wasn’t an option.
There was a lot of talking to do before I started photographing the family we covered in our story on suburban polygamy. We had to work out some access issues, especially regarding the family’s privacy. We agreed to not use their last name and that we wouldn’t reveal the city they live in. Then there were photo issues.
For example, who could I photograph? Two of the three wives agreed to be photographed, one did not. The husband was out of the question. It was essential to the family that his identity not be revealed. But he did agree to have unidentifiable parts of his body photographed. This little bit of access allowed me to incorporate the father of this family into the coverage, even if only as a symbol.
Before I started shooting, I needed to know how to handle photographing the children. The father gathered all of the children who were 12 or older. He explained what we were doing and let each of them decide whether or not they could be photographed. He went around the table, asking each one. I crossed my fingers, hoping for the best.
First teenager: “No.”
Okay, one down, I thought. Maybe the next one.
Next teenager: “No.”
OK, let’s hope this turns around.
Next teenager: “No.”
As the no’s continued, I realized I was watching dominoes fall. In the end, only one of the teenagers agreed to be photographed.
I assured the kids I would respect their decisions and keep their privacy, but from that point on the teenagers avoided me.