Three Fools & Gloria MacarenkoMonday, March 05, 2007
I have observed three fools in action over the years and when they finally give up there are many more of the type to occupy their place. These fools have the ambition to:
1. Publish and or edit a magazine, tabloid or newspaper.
2. Start an art gallery.
3. Open a restaurant.
It was quite a few years ago that Urban Peasant, James Barber had to withdraw from his Commercial Drive restaurant venture Arriva. He was losing his shirt. But he went on the record in a magazine article, how the experience had not turned him off. He asserted that when the opportunity rose he would start a restaurant again.
Dianne Farris once told me that she had not only mortgaged her house away to keep her gallery going but that she was also painting herself into a plumbing corner as the bathrooms did not work. But she was going to press on with her dream.
I think it is the dream that keeps these three "fools" going. You have an idea, and reality (with its instant satisfaction) can be quick in coming if you publish a weekly or a daily. I have been privy to conversations between publishers and editors where the former would swear a no inteference policy so as to keep an editorial independence. And I have seen these promises disappear as "service" peaces became the norm for keeping a magazine afloat.
As a photographer I have been promised more times than I can possibly remember, "This is a new magazine and we can only afford this much, but as soon as we become more successful we will pay you what you are really worth." I have seen young photographers, illustrators and freelance writers be given "photo" or "writing" credits instead of hard cash. I have never had the heart or the gumption to tell them that money will never come and photo credits are not proper collateral at the bank.
But would be gallery owners, restauranteurs and publisher/editors keep passing by my horizon and for the latter I am almost never able to say, "No," when asked to help out for little or no money.
Could it be that I am a dreamer, too?
The prospect of seeing a magazine with my cover photo has always been an exciting delight. My latest effort is no less a delight. It was about a month ago that experienced editor/art director Bob Mercer told me he had the project to re-brand the most horrible (my word) magazine in Vancouver.
He said he wanted to turn around Vancouver Lifestyles Magazine (now called VLM)and wanted bold b+w covers. Best of all (this is how he lured me in) he wanted me to suggest who was the person I would want to photograph the most.
My answer was an easy one. I photographed the luminous Gloria Macarenko assisted by my secret weapon of so many years, stylist Maureen Willick.
When the magazine appeared last week I could not believe, that just for once, the spread looked better than I had imagined it.
I can only hope that editor/art director Bob Mercer's dream comes true.