Architectural Photography
Suffice it to say that one home I photographed belongs to a woman highly successful in a field she has chosen and has loved doing ever since she was in her teens. She reached the top of her field besting out others not just once but multiple times and is internationally known. She then chose me to photograph her home.

If in case you did not get the gist of what I just said, allow me reiterate. Picture me and my camera in the cavern of an elegant home one-on-one with a highly successful personality being asked to take pictures of her private home. At the same time she curiously asks about my photography and, indeed at times it seems, even about me as a person. In life she has reached pinnacles that very few had and yet takes a chance on me -- a beginning professional -- and treats me as an equal and appreciates learning new things from me. And that was just the beginning of how humble, kind, and very connected-to-the-world she was.

Initially I did not know who I was talking to. She called on the phone asking about my years of experience. I gave her the honest answer which was just a few months for just one client. I asked her about what was to be photographed but found her response vague. Only later did I realize that she was perhaps being modest. Because, really, for me to understand the full implication of what was to come she would have to say something like, “Put it this way, you’ll be walking into the home of Kobe Bryant.” I’m sure she’ll protest when she reads this very likely out of humility, but over-the-phone, sight-unseen that was the only way I would comprehend what I was getting into. It was a large home in a secluded area. You can imagine my shock then when, expecting to walk into a rusty old barn, I instead drove into a long driveway and this beautiful home loomed before me. I had to shore up some nerve just to raise my hand to knock on the door.

We introduced ourselves and I initially went about photographing her home unsupervised. Later she joined me and we talked while I took photos. Only when I came across magazines in her home with her on the cover did I get a sense of who I was conducting business with. I will still have to explain copyright issues (she owns them), delivery of images, invoices, and whatnot later so again I had to shore up nerve knowing now who I was talking to just to sound calm and collected when we eventually discussed business at the day’s end.

Before departing, as I made my way for the front door and she was walking beside me, I asked, “Sorry I can’t help but wonder, am I in the presence of someone great?”

She looked down and with a slight smile said, “I have had some success in my career...”

She continued to say more but having heard my answer I interrupted her saying, “I’m sure you’re a lot greater than what you say.”

In a later e-mail, she added she also “had some good fortune along the way”.

When I started doing architectural photography, I expected to take pictures of beautiful homes and perhaps learn art and history along the way and a thing or two about their occupants. But I never envisioned conversing with the occupants themselves. Certainly not on a level of equal terms. And getting firsthand insight into the life of a famous person accomplished beyond most people’s wildest dreams and who in her own humble words “had a little success in doing what I loved” -- and then in my mind gauging where I’m at and learning from her that with a distinctive blend of humility and pride nothing is beyond reach -- is perhaps one perk of the job that I had not foreseen when I dabbled into this business of architectural photography.

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