Suddenly, for the first tie since graduating Parsons, I found myself sleepless in the City That Never Sleeps, New York. Without a plan, I had just quit my job at Universal Studios. I was living in a 480sq. ft apartment in Chelsea that I shared with my girlfriend and one of her friends. It was tight, but heck, we were young and the TV show Three’s Company was still popular at the time, so I was the envy of many a male friend. Little did they know that what their imaginations had conjured up never took place. But, let them think what they want. I digress.
Rent and utilities needed to be paid. Food was still a necessary evil, so I needed to find work. I decided to keep networking ( a term that had not yet been coined) with my previous employers and co-workers in the hopes that something might materialize. I visited every studio in which I had either worked, or stepped foot in over the past two years. I dropped in at the commercial labs where I had, as an assistant, always taken the days exposed film for processing. After all, this is where I might accidentally run into my next job. Stores where assistants were sent to pick up seamless background paper and other sundries needed for a shoot was another place I would frequent. All of this kept me in the loop, but was not enough to pay the rent. I needed a JOB.
A small clearing on the horizon appeared in the form of a woman I had met at Kit DeFever’s studio. She was working for a publishing company and needed someone to shoot the cover for a new book they were bringing out, a “romantic” novel. You know the type. Every cover looked like a scene out of Gone With the Wind. A studly looking character in a half torn white silk shirt with puffy sleeves was holding a busty young damsel in a 19th century gown in a “dipped” position. And to top it off, the photo was to be used merely as research material for a painter who would be producing the actual cover illustration. But did I care? NO! A break at last!
They say it’s not what you know, but who you know. At this point in my career, that was so very true. After my successful photo shoot for the publishing company, I found myself with a foot in the door. Not with this publishing company, but with a magazine called Guideposts, who’s founder was Norman Vincent Peale. It turns out that the model I used for the book cover, was also a graphic designer who worked at Guideposts magazine. And she just happened to be responsible for hiring photographers to illustrate the stories that were running in the monthly periodical. This turn of events provided me with a steady source of jobs. Enough to pay the bills and buy food. Not enough to get rich, but again, I was still young, living and working in Manhattan as a photographer. Over the next 2 years or so, I did a variety of assignments for Guideposts magazine, such as shooting Kathy Lee Gifford during her performance at an Atlantic City casino, and then a backstage portrait, or a portrait of Martin Sheen for the cover, during one of his short breaks during shooting of a movie on the upper West Side. Mixed in between were many much less glamorous assignments, but professional gigs none the less.
Life was good at least for a little while longer.