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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Adversity in Advertising

My ad hoc product photos of the java that Friend Fred got for us reminds me of my intro into the truth of advertising.
Note I did not say "truth IN advertising".
The fall of 1977, after the Dread Dormomoo and I were wed, I found myself in need of A Situation. Mind you, this was early in the Carter Years, and the economy was already on a downturn. I found work as a photographer for a local NC variety store chain, both in-store family portraits, and the home-office product photographer, where I used a Polaroid back on a view camera. I took shots of the various specials featured in their newspaper adverts. Toys, paper towels, kitchen gadgets, all fell under the baleful eye of my apparatus.
Though I was considerably wet-behind-the-ears, I fell into the routine and style fairly easily, and my boss, Charley Sauls, kept feeding me product. Came the week when we featured towels and washcloths, and I felt I was ready for anything!
The store, "Wood's" was, again, a small regional discount concern, like a Dollar General without the charm. You could buy errr, inexpensive items there. Almost all was of US manufacture, but often it would be the "cheap" line, or even seconds. Caveat emptor.
So it was with the towel line. The washcloths were thin, almost see-through, but I dutifully folded them, stacked them (the store motto was "We stack it high, and sell it low!") and took the shot.

When "Cholley" saw the photo later, he took me aside and gently admonished that it was insufficient, and so went to the studio with me to show what must be done. See, I had taken the washcloths, folded each, and stacked them for a 3/4 shot. He took the cloths, and folded TWO together, then, two more, and two more, and again, until we had a fat stack of terrycloth fabrication, turned with the fold toward the camera (I had gotten THAT right). He took note of my moral discomfiture at the fraud, and said "We're not being dishonest; we just want them to look as good as they are.Thick and thirsty!"

Apparently terrycloth loses ten pounds when photographed.
I was not long for that particular gig. I continued with the portrait work, and learned much of how not to raise children, but those tales are for another time.


Michael W said...

"We're not being dishonest; we just want them to look as good as they are.Thick and thirsty!"

"We're not retreating, we're just attacking from a different direction."

Not complaining, mind you, but you've been a busy little bee recently.

Michael (haven't had to work in a convenience store, praise God. But did a few years in a call center, which I wouldn't wish on an enemy.)

The Aardvark said...

Given the Current Events, Ah figgered to give y'all summat to do!

Now THAT'S funny. "(B)ut you've been a busy little bee recently."
The store portrait business was "Busy Bee Photography".