My goal over the holiday was to purge things in my office that I haven’t looked at in two years, let alone touched…sort of like a spring cleaning, but in the middle of winter (as such, in sunny Northern California). A very real, very serious clean up to start 2014.
One of the things I came across were my Rolodexes from my days as a photo editor; mostly for Time Warner--but other places along the way, too. I remember my first job as a photo researcher, taking my cues from my more experienced colleagues, and grabbed a Rolodex from the corporate supply closet.
I recall being filled with so much excitement that soon I would actually know photographers – and enough of them to fill up a bunch of blank white cards on a little tiny rail system, under a plastic tinted cover.
My oneRolodex in time eventually turned into four of them as I built my collection of photographers/collaborators. There was even an art to keeping/organizing the Rolodexes. One whole Rolodex was just for stock agencies, another was for agents/reps and the other two were simply alphabetical by photographer last name. If I had met them in person, and was the beneficiary of an actual business card, I would staple that to its Rolodex counterpart and inevitably it would peek out of the top, changing the overall alignment. It’s a shame that business cards don’t have the same special meaning.
Photo editors were only as good as their Rolodex, and I made sure to build mine to be as valuable as possible.
It’s been over 10 years since I did any full-time editing work and have only cracked open those Rolodexes for posterity--or to look up a photographer whom I wanted to come speak to my photography class at the Academy of Art (and all, thankfully, were very willing). There were some doozies in my Rolodex: from the most famous of shooters, some of who are now no longer with us, to emerging shooters who came to me for their first job (and I would only hope today that they would take a call from the likes of me).
As much as I am fond of my Rolodexes, and are proud of what I built inside them, it’s no longer that relevant to me and my photographer life. For those I currently keep track of, websites are easily bookmarked or blogs/twitter feeds are followed.
Before taking these bulky things out to pasture, I picked a handful of cards from folks I had the pleasure/honor to work with, even if in the most remote sense, and a few that I aspired to work with, if only I had the right type of assignment to give them.
Looking at them and thinking of my past, I typed a few of these names into Google to see what they are up to now. Some seem to no longer be in business; others are thriving – a real trajectory from the good ol’ days.
I promise that I’ll continue to make good use of the space that has been freed up by this passing of memorabilia.