Regardless of the clarity and depth of information on my website, or how expansive the collection of images at philipbourke.com, every now and then I will still have to put up with some flaky couple who show complete lack of respect for the quality of my work and the unique perspective of said photographic work. I find it incredible that every now and then somebody will want to meet me and the entire thing is a bloody farce. The idea of having a website with so much information is to weed out timewasters, but every now and then one or two will slip through the net.
Thankfully the majority of couples who visit my website will inform themselves quickly and get a very good impression of the person behind the images, and these are the only people I want to work for. But I have had the misfortune to sit down beside some people, not many mind you, who have done nothing to get an idea of who I am, and it seems they don’t care. These people in general haven’t got a clue what makes a good image, they put all photographers in a pot and that is as deep as it gets, and that is a worry.
The following is based on a True Story
This is the strange, strange case of Mary & Joe (I’ve changed their names).
I’d received an email from “Mary” (not her real name) and she asked to meet me for a consultation. I mentioned that I was very busy, and to put her off I said the soonest I could meet her would be five weeks down the line.
“That’s Fine, We’ll see you then”
I thought, “She seems enthusiastic! Five weeks?” I assumed that over the next few weeks she and her fiancé would probably check over all the galleries and read the extensive FAQ section on my website, do her homework on me, check out my facebook page (with tons of work) and it should be so very clear on how I operate, she was definitely looking for a documentary wedding photographer, right? Should be a good meeting, because it usually is.
So I was happy enough to meet for a consultation, because if a couple want to meet me it is generally to pay a deposit to secure their date and make that booking.
So the evening arrived.
Mary & Joe came to the door, I opened it, she was looking at her shoes and he looked at me like I pissed on his shoes. Right away to me it looked like his mind was already made up or perhaps what he lacked in personality he made up for in some strange pseudo arrogance. I had a fair idea of where this was going.
They came in and sat down… quite far apart from each other I may add, and the entire moment felt uncomfortable.
I suppose somebody better break the ice…
Me: “Just pick up a book and browse through. If you have any questions with regards any image then I will talk you through why I took it or why it works in sequence with another image”
All this information was already on my website and step by step it pieces out exactly how I operate, my portfolio is also extensive, and includes work not seen on my web page, couples are always excited by this. Well, nearly always.
So, they picked up a book each and seemed to go through the pages at a right speed, never taking time to view any image or give any picture the respect it deserved, they were interested in me shooting their wedding, right? So this was odd to me.
Lots of silence.
Me: “So, ah, what were you both looking for regards to your wedding [photographs]?”
“Ya, a disc”, she repeated
I could see this was going nowhere, and why were they here?
Me: “What I mean is, what were you looking for with regards the images? Style?”
Mary: “Well… Good pictures, y’know”
Jesus H, this was tough!
Him: “None of the Fucking messing stuff [some mumbling, his eyes straying up to the Jack Donovan painting which hangs over my fireplace, a look of confusement] Are you telling me there is no structure to the day, AT ALL?”
I thought: “That was funny, did he just swear…?”
I really wasn’t sure what was going on here, it was obvious we were on completely different planets
Why should I structure your day? I just take photographs.
Me: “Have you viewed the galleries on my website, and more importantly, did you read the FAQ page?”
Her: “Some of it…”
Which actually meant none of it.
So why where they here?
Me: “Do you have an idea of how much you want to spend?”
Him: “About €400 HAHAHAH…”
Her: “No… God…tsk…[rolls eyes unconvincingly]… Joe!”
EH? I had to think fast, time I bit the bullet, time to abort mission….
Me: “OK, I’m not sure that you both know what you are looking for, what I do or why I even do it, I can only work for couples who completely understand what I do and how I do it, it’s a concept, and….”
But as I am mid sentence he blurts…
Him: “Ya, but no structure to the day? AT ALL?”
Now, he’s getting real boring.
Even though they are right in front of me, I decide to throw a curveball
Me: “…yeah, I think you should really go to my website, study the images, study the FAQ and it will tell you every thing you need to know, and you will then decide if I am the correct person for your wedding or not”
[Looking at my watch] “I think we’re done…”
She: “Thanks for your honesty, Philip”
I smiled politley, I closed the door gently
It was the most irritating seven or so minutes I ever put down.