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Tell ’em Anything

There have been magazines and editors I have wanted a job from so badly that I told them anything they wanted to hear, agreed to just about any sort of expectations, just to get the work.

I mean, once you get the job, then you can work out the details, right? Details like, how to shoot it.

I had an appointment with an editor of a big picture magazine I was crazed to work for. I was a young photographer, sitting there, making conversation, and trying not to appear desperate. She was holding all the cards. I was ready to agree to just about anything. Although she was a terrific editor and great to work for, she had an exterior Teutonic iciness that could make you think you were standing at the Gates of Mordor instead of sitting in a picture editor’s office.

“You look like outdoorsman, yes?” she asked in heavily accented German. “Yes,” I gushed. “Absolutely. Live in a tree house, drink rainwater, and eat bark. Yep, it’s the outdoor life for me!”

“Good,” came the reply. “We have a story about fishing you would be good for. Do you like to fish?”

“Oh, yes.” More gushing. “My dad used to take me fishing. Love it. Fish all the time.”

“Good. We will call you.”

I walked out of the office embarrassed and panicked. Her assistant picture editor was sitting outside her office. She knew me pretty well and had overheard the entire conversation.

“You don’t know shit about fishing,” she said quietly, not even looking up from her paperwork.

I put my finger to my lips and slipped out of the office. I didn’t get a fishing story, but I got a story about the Sicilian puppet theater, much more up my alley.

  • “Tell ’em anything. Just get the job.”
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