I’ve kept this to myself for many years, now I feel the need to get it off my chest. What better time to come clean than just before the holidays and the start of a new year? My very first paid photography gig was photographing children with Santa Claus.Yes, that’s right, don’t make me say it again.
I had just graduated from high school and got a job as a salesman at Malloy’s Cameracade in Mt. Pleasant, PA. I was a good salesman, real good, I had Nikon F2’s, Canon AE-1’s and Minolta SRT’s flying off the shelves. I enjoyed the job and was told by my boss that I had a future with the company if I wanted. I thanked him, but told him I wanted to be a photographer and I planned on going to art school in the fall.
One day, just after Thanksgiving, The Manager of the local grocery store, Foodland, came in to the store and asked my boss to recommend someone to take photographs of his customer’s kids with Santa. My boss pointed to me. The job paid $50. Not having any real negotiating skills at the time I accepted his offer. Remember this was the late 70’s, by today’s standards that’d be about $5,000.
That was then, today he would have just posted the job on Craigslist, offering no money but saying things like, “It would be a great addition to your portfolio” or “Wonderful opportunity to network with parents who could hire you to photograph their children during other special occasions.”What a difference a few decades can make.
I shot the job, got a check. Not only was I paid but I also got face time with the “Big Man” himself, I even sat on his lap and told him what I wanted for Christmas. I have a picture to prove it but it’s for my eyes only. Santa did not disappoint, that year I found a Canon FTB under the tree on Christmas morning.
Happy Holidays to all.