Thursday, September 17, 2009

Imagine Magazine August Coverboy

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon 'em."
-Shakespeare Twelfth Night (II, v, 156-159)

Imagine my surprise, while on a shoot last week, when I received a call from my actor friend Amanda asking me if I had seen the August issue of Imagine Magazine and did I know I was on the cover? No, I did not know this! I said, juggling a tripod, camera and a perilously thin iPhone between my ear and shoulder.

Yes, I do receive Imagine Magazine: It's a regional industry tabloid covering the film/TV and media production industry in the Northeast. Amanda and I had both signed up (somewhat unwittingly) for home delivery subscriptions at the "Imaginnaire" Awards Gala at the Regattabar over the winter -- though it's available for free at newsstands and movie theaters around New England. Yet, August was one of those months, that between traveling and working, I hadn't taken the magazine from it's mailing envelope. I resolved to unwrap it as soon as I got home, like a child on Christmas morning.

And still, I couldn't figure out how I got on the cover. For all my mucking around in film/tv/media in these parts I didn't think precisely now was the time I would be granted the coveted cover shot (an honor more regularly reserved for the much more lovely Christy Scott Cashman). No editor had contacted me, no interview scheduled, no portrait session shoot showing me gloriously in situ in my ramshackle edit suite or peering confidently from behind my HD camera.

I deduced it must have been a candid shot at an industry event of some sort. In this digital age there is usually a gaggle of vaguely credentialed photographers (myself included) prowling around snapping pictures at any "industry" event.

At any rate, I wasn't about to argue with the recognition, but I still saw a potential pitfall. Amanda, I said, that's amazing, thanks for telling me, but I'm in the field and can't look now, just tell me the one important thing, do I look good!?

There was a pause. A longer pause than I was expecting, but I was also distracted by the work at hand so it only vaguely registered. You're drinking coffee! Amanda said with a heightened cheerfulness that should have been a warning sign, but in the heat of the moment only served to distract me from the fact she had avoided answering the question entirely. Wow! Drinking coffee? Amazing! I wonder where it was taken?
I could feel the phone shifting perilously in gravity's pull. Well thanks for the info, Amanda, but I really can't talk right now. I've got to go. Talk to you later! I hung up and pocketed the iPhone before it could slip to the ground or worse into the yawning sewer grate that always seems to be nearby every time I try to use it without hands.
I finished my shoot buoyed by the idea that these folks had hired the August 2009 Imagine Magazine cover subject and didn't even know it (yet!). And, that that little something extra that I bring to each shoot was now being recognized and quantified in some tangible and public way.

Even if it was just: Me, drinking coffee, on the cover!
I reasoned I must have been captured sampling the espresso at some recent confab looking sufficiently debonair to represent the whole of the New England creative class (at least for the month of August, an admittedly slow month). Things were looking up!
When I got home from the late shoot, I made a beeline for the pile of unopened mail and ripped open the mailer to reveal my career-making cover shot!

This is what I saw:

Get this man an attitude adjustment...or a better cup of coffee!

I looked like someone had put a giant dose of vinegar in my coffee. Or at the very least, like I had swallowed a bug; a perhaps nutritious, but not particularly tasty bug, in the previous gulp.
(Regardless, I swear I was enjoying myself that day!)

Imagine Magazine, August 2009, in the wild

So my moment of glory was anything but... Still, after the few moments it took for the anti-climax to soak in, I actually burst out laughing at the absurdity of it; by myself, alone, at 1 am -- laughing out loud, remembering Amanda's diplomatic evasiveness and the near perfect reversal of my own minor visions of grandeur!

Fortunately, I'm the least noticeable person in the shot and everybody else on the cover looks great, including cinematographer Brian Heller, who's explaining camera mounts for cars during one of Rule Boston Camera's excellent Learning Labs, which was the true (and worthy!) subject of the cover.

And, while I enjoyed my momentary illusions of grandeur, I'm not going to lose sleep over the sad reality of it, because, to take another tip from the Bard:

"What's gone and what's past help
Should be past grief."
The Winter's Tale (III, ii, 223-224 )

(Photo: Chris Maggio/Imagine Magazine)