During the course of this project I expect to encounter (by one means or another) about 10,000 people. That might sound like a lot but I don’t really think it is. So far I’ve probably come in contact with at least 1,000 people and things haven’t really even started heating up yet…Or, let me put it another way, if I don’t encounter at least 10,000 people I really haven’t been doing my job. Let’s face it, it’s going to take a lot of word-of-mouth on this issue for people to gain awareness of our sad metric predicament and I’m hoping the 10,000 folks I come in contact with will help start a social ripple effect.
I have to say that so far it has been my pleasure to encounter these individuals. I’ve come in contact with some who are very supportive of the project and have offered to help me—and already have helped. (And hopefully you know who you are because I’ve said “Thank you.”) Sure, I’ve run into a couple of anti-metric types as well and that’s to be expected.
Allow me to share one of my recent positive encounters. Due to eventual publicity and other needs, I decided it was time to have a new photograph taken. The last one I have was so old that if I used it, it would have been akin to false advertising. I actually had a couple of different sets taken a few weeks ago, and one of these photos is now attached to this blog. At the recommendation of a friend, I also had a couple of head shots taken at a place called Pixel Images in Santa Fe, New Mexico, not far from where I live.
When I arrived, Anton, the photographer, greeted me, allowed me time to prepare myself and started taking the head shots—in reality passport photos. He also allowed me to see what he was doing so I could let him know if they met with my approval. They did. During the course of our session I told him about the project and he related to me that he is currently the only photographer in Santa Fe who can take photographs with metric dimensions as required for international passports. (Part of that whole “we’re in the minority” [5 percent] of the world who DON’T use the metric system. It so ridiculous.)
We also got into a discussion about Millicent, my metric snail logo. Anton decided that Millicent really needed a last name. By the end of our session (which didn’t take very long) he had come up with the idea of using “Gram” in one of various spellings (Graham, Gramm, and Gramms, etc.). Brilliant. While I haven’t decided definitively that Gram will be Millicent’s last name, it certainly is food for thought. (A quick search shows there are some other Millicent Grams out there, please don’t confused them with mine.)
So that’s just one example of someone who I might not have met had it not been for the project. I expect there will be many more fun and interesting encounters in my future and I’ll share the best ones with you. But, just be aware that as the project ramps up and I get busier, if you contact me and I don’t get back to you right away it may be because there are another 9,999 people who are trying to get my attention as well. I will, however, do my best to be responsive.
The promised sidebar
Many years ago I had a conversation with a photographer who was also a coworker. He complained to me that he would take people’s portraits and then they would complain that he had done a bad job. In fact, he had done a great job but people just didn’t really know how they appear. If anything, my recent photographic experience was proof that he was correct. When we look at ourselves in the mirror it’s usually for a particular reason such as to comb our hair, brush our teeth, apply makeup, shave, etc. And we don’t really look at our whole countenance. A professional photograph forces you to do just that.
While I’m starting to get used to seeing myself as I currently look (it was quite a shock at first, I can tell you) his advice and my recent experience came together in mind. He said everyone should have their photograph taken at least once a year so they can see themselves as they really are. I now think that’s good advice. While I don’t know if it’s as critical when we’re less 40 years old, I think the older we get, the better the advice it becomes. And since Anton only charged me $15 for what was, in essence, a passport photo, I think it was well worth the price.
By having a photograph of ourselves to consider each year we can, hopefully, adjust to the changes age brings upon us and, if necessary, make some adjustments—but hopefully not radical ones. No one likes to age but we can at least attempt to do it gracefully and with full recognition that it is happening.
So, if you happen to be in the Santa Fe area and need a passport photo (metric or otherwise), are looking for a wedding photographer or just want to see a decent photograph of what you look like now, go see Anton. He’ll light you beautifully. And tell him Millicent Gram sent you.
Pixel Images, Inc
197 Paseo De Peralta (In DeVargas Center)