Getting Screamed At is a Good Thing

It helped me, without a doubt. At the time, I was working at a full-time assisting job in NYC.  The photographer, who shall remain nameless, was a very successful fashion and beauty shooter.  And, as I learned soon enough, had a reputation as a screamer.  He was always, it seemed, yelling for me, or anyone, to get this lens or that body or that filter or that reflector or whatever.  Who knew what he was going to want next?  Not me, that was certain.  And yet, his yelling and screaming did help me as an assistant, and later as a photographer.

Strictly for self-preservation, I would try to guess all the things that he might need at any moment. And if I could, I would have them in my hands.  It didn’t stop his yelling, but it made it a lot shorter in duration.  Made me calmer, too, as a result.  What I learned was to try and see the scene, the job, the moment, through his eyes and not mine.  When I concentrated on doing that, I had a much better sense of what was going on in his head and what he might need.  It even allowed me – discreetly, because he was a indeed a screamer – to make suggestions that might help him.  I still don’t remember the yelling fondly, but I certainly do value it as a learning moment.

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