The Ones That Got Away…..

I hafta remain pragmatic about what I do and who I do it for, because while I strive to always photograph my subjects in the most artistic and intelligent ways, I know that often what is best is not necessarily what is right for the job at hand. It’s hardly news that photographers constantly bitch & moan about how their images rarely get shown properly, but the simple fact is that most guys like me (if they’re doin’ their job right) come away with so many great situations on a typical shoot that it’s inevitable that something has to end up on the cutting room floor…well, if there was a cutting room floor any more! And it’ll still tear me up inside, but I understand that due to the restrictions of space and editorial integrity, what sees ink more often than not is not what I would print if I lived in a totally ‘Brad World’. Oh sure…perhaps I should be sticking up for artistic integrity and all that, and if I lived in another time, I might even pitch a fit and go to war over how I feel my photographs deserve to run…Hell, back in the day, Eugene Smith repeatedly quit Life Magazine whenever they would even as much as crop one of his photographs, but last time I checked this wasn’t exactly the Golden Age of Photojournalism…..and even he came back to the fold once he calmed down!

I was thinkin’ of this because of two recent stories I did for Barron’s…the first was the story I did on Stephanie Pomboy…allow me to show you what ran…..


(full-size image here…Stephanie Pomboy)

…and then there is the one that got left behind…


(full-size image here…Stephanie Pomboy…bigger)

Hey…I get it! I absolutely understand how Barron’s might wanna run a photo where she looks ‘pretty’ instead of ‘edgy’, or how the final choice about what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’ may be decided by seemingly arcane parameters…..but I still hafta hold my fire sometimes. It came up again this week with another Barron’s shoot, this time with the CEO of Bristol-Meyers/Squibb…

What Barron’s ran…


(go here for the full-size image: Barron’s – James Cornelius)

…and my pulled-back select…..


(full-size image: Mr. Trent’s Pick)

Again…I get it…really I do! My select is crying out for a full-page treatment and even though my choice may better fit the dark, somber theme of the story, I know it’s a hard sell to show an image as pulled-back and airy as this when you’ve only got a quarter-page of real estate to plant the photo in…but it still hurts like Hell, and even after all this time, I still complain and fight for more! And even though both of these shoots were for Barron’s, I’m not piling on them…in fact, of all of my clients, they usually are with me 100% when I suggest a select…it just happened that my two most recent examples of this kinda thing fall on them…..but when you get right down to it, my portfolio is littered with photographs that have never been published. I’ve actually shown my book to editors who have assigned the images in the book who ask me who I shot them for! That’s when you really feel the knife twisting between your ribs…when six months after the fact, the guy who didn’t use a shot tells you it’s way better than what actually ran…

And I’ll just keep smilin’…’cuz no matter what…..we still had fun, right?!!