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Life Before Photoshop: Pacific Bell

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Look ma, no Photoshop.

I shot corporate and advertising photography spanning a forty year career, and most of those years (the dark ages) were spend without the help of Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, and the plethora of plug-ins one can find shopping on the internet; if ones needs help that much.

In fact, Adobe was a type of house in the Southwest part of the US. Thinking back, I can also remember when there weren’t even computers, and as they came into being companies were quick to include photography of their new (freezing) computer room to go out to stockholders in the form of annual reports; to assure them that they were on the leading edge of technology. It’s amazing to think that my maxed out iMac27Retina is probably as powerful than the entire room full of giant machines.

Most of my fellow photographers that take my online classes with the BPSOP, and take my “Stretching Your frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet became photographers during the digital age and have no idea that you can actually “make” good photos before clicking the shutter.

A million years ago, right after the dinosaurs disappeared,  I was shooting an advertising campaign for Pacific Bell, the California based telephone company. I was sent to three locations: Nameless, Tennessee, Remote, Oregon, and Home, Pennsylvania. Three very small but real places spread across the US. With me, I had a phone booth a wall phone and a phone that was mounted on a stand and placed where people could drive up to it.

Before I left my studio, I had a sign made up to look like it was a sign you would see on a road stating the miles left to a particular town or city; in this case Home, PA. I had an idea in mind so in case I found the right location, I would have the prop I needed.

Using my Sunpath coordinates I found just the road I wanted where the sun would set just to one side and down the road apiece!!

We set up the sign and with a portable generator, lit it up.

I remember it missing something and was going to put the rent car driving away from the phone, but at that moment an Amish man drove by and saved the day. As Eddie Adams once said, “When you get lucky, be ready”.

I know that in today’s world, the phone and sign would have been shot in a studio, and the back end of the Amish buggy would have been bought from some stock agency and added after the fact.

I consider myself very lucky that I started out in the film days when you were able to use your head and imagination to solve problems… in the camera where it was fun instead of in front of a computer.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my workshop schedule at the top of this blog. come shoot with me some time.

Keep sending in those photos and questions to: AskjoeB@gmail.com, and i’ll create a video critique for you.


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