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This chapter is from the book

Stand in Front of More Interesting Stuff

  • “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”

My friend and colleague, Jim Richardson at National Geographic, has simple advice for anyone who wants to become a better photographer: “If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.“

So, what could be more interesting than a bunch of Munchkins?

You know, the original Munchkins. Somehow Life magazine got access to the last living Munchkins. The magazine had no idea how to shoot them. So I put ‘em in flower pots. My editor told me I was a sick bastard, but hey, in The Wizard of Oz they pop right outta the garden, so I figured, why not?

I hauled in 300 pounds of topsoil to the rental studio. The studio people were reeeeeally pissed at me. Not only did it stink, topsoil got everywhere—like the cracks in the wood floor...the white wood floor. We were up until midnight with vacuums trying to get it out.

So the Munchkins pull up in this limousine. I meet them and we ride up to the seventh floor, alone. We get into the elevator and the door closes. I look around and, honestly, it was kinda creepy. I was trapped in a confined space with a bunch of Munchkins. I mean, I got an active imagination, and I started thinkin’ about them turnin’ on me, their little faces gettin’ all mean-like and their lollipop-guild voices saying, “Okay, let’s have the wallet, sumbitch.”

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