Taking Pictures

by John Waco Jr July. 16, 2018 510 views

These are just some of the 19th century industrial warehouse building we look at to turn in a studio and a modern extended family dwelling. The 4,736 sq. ft. residence is subdivided in two on the ground floor and internally connected to create two side-by-side dwellings which have separate main street entrances for different members of the family.

front side studio

front side studio

family side

family side

to big

to big

to day it still looks the same

to day it still looks the same

My wife, Ann, and I established our photographic studio in 1958, and I have to admit that it was a steep learning curve in the beginning. Taking pictures is only a small part of the professional photographer's business. There are a multitude of other things that need to be addressed to make your company successful. And, in a fiercely competitive market, in which anyone can buy a camera and call themselves a professional photographer, your experience, credibility and business acumen will be stretched and challenged in the early days.

The job as a Unit Stills Photographers was my first work for Warner Bros Studios in Burbank. I would take stills includes close-ups of the actors and crew, wide shots of the crew shooting the action, this work ran side by side with my studio work. Choosing an area of photography to specialise in is one way of distinguishing yourself in a crowded market. In the early days there is little option but to take every job going, even if you are not so familiar with the subject matter or conditions. You say yes to any inquiry that comes your way for any budget. Most photographers do this until they establish their name and reputation. Working as a Unit Stills Photographers for Warner Bros Studios in Burbank, my subject matter was all the actors and actresses they would have me around at their birthday parties for their kiss and at weddings etc.. If there was anything going on in Hollywood I would be there with my camera private or public I would be there.

An agent called me. He introduced himself, said he represented Famous Artists Corporation, a medium-sized, but very exclusive, agency that was extremely particular about whom it represented. No featured players, only stars and big directors. The agency was owned by Charles K. Feldman, considered on a par with Lew Wasserman as a great agent and creative thinker. He also produced a few pictures now and then. Much of his power derived from lengthy and close friendships with Darryl Zanuck and Jack Warner. The day I got a call was from Al Rocket, Feldman’s lieutenant and the one who kept the office running when Charlie was out of town. Feldman had seen some of my work. The agency was interested in me. Charlie Feldman, Rocket said, was in town by the end of the week and wanted to meet with me. From that day I always had work I never looked back.

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