Illustrating textbooks – an enlarged fly or mosquito, leaf, butterfly, horse… Or Making Photo Illustations that sell… by ‘Ole Jack.
Bob..you have my permission to exploit me…’toot my horn’…any way
you desire ala the lens luggers (what a name!)…sez ole jack, the viking.
And I learned that Editors of publications need pictures, if they were made in a certain way, and they would pay for the use of them — Photo Illustrations as Rohn Engh refers to it. I liked that idea of getting paid, as I had been looking around to find a way to make some extra money – it actually became a career change. So, my purpose grew into a professional endeavor, and I became motivated to learn how to make those pictures more like what editors needed.
That journey carried me into many different areas, and associations with others in the same field. And that’s when I met Jack Swenningson, now my dear friend and fellow VIKING… We would meet over lunch and circulate pictures around and talk about ’em. And now that I have moved away from Florida, and with the help of the computer, Jack has been sending me some of his early creations.
That’s when I learned some surprising things about Jack’s photography. Now, he was doing commercial and advertising photography and I was in the editorial field – so those are different fields, right -WRONG!
I asked Jack if we could show his images and maybe if he could comment about them. Here goes…
Hi ….my friend, wonder if you ever got this one ,,,,,it is just one of my best examples of my ‘set-up’ publicity photos for st.pete and florida, back in the ‘boom’ days, about 50 years ago, where I certainly went to great lengths to do a good job!..jack.
THE STORY: (for photography buffs)
Below are two photos showing the before and after aspect, done over 50 years ago, BEFORE DIGITAL with film cameras, so everything in the view had to be put into the scene by hand, no manipulation or enhancement, and generally one or two shots got the shot as color slides were expensive for young jack doing freelance advertising for St.Petersburg and Florida. Ah, the Boom years…everybody had work, the economy was thriving, and jacks creative idea mind was “luring” the ‘damn Yankees” down by the droves by sending his published pictures up North. One of jacks model home building accounts wanted some shots of some nondescript models with front views but jack saw better possibilities in their back yards on a waterway. Many people have asked him just what IS A SET-UP PHOTO? Well to get the general idea (some call it fakery) read below….
The idea was to MAKE a picture out of NOTHING there! Jacks idea was to enhance, make glitzy, more enticing the photo by inserting some of his numerous “props” that he carried in his station wagon. Every item you see in this picture was put in place by jack to wit…chaise lounge, red towel,
bowl of waxed fruit, table, human models (for the glory of it all!) fishing poles, dead fish bought from the local fish market AND the cruiser at dock by the owner, a friend of jacks! The red towel was always a trademark of jacks, red calls attention. To sell St.Pete & Florida you added families and drama having fun outdoors in Floridas glorious sunshine! About the fish pictures, publicity wise, jack made friends with a black proprietor of a fish store and heard him say to his assistant one day “heah come dat white boy
again asking me to leave de head on and gut the fish!” Jack had no time to catch fish, and after awhile got fish for nothing supplying him with finished publicity photos of his fish! It would be unlikely to come across a picture like this , good enough for publicity, and ready for a shot, so young jack most of the time, HAD TO MAKE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING! Jack did the same “enhancement” to all other sports like fishing…beach…golf…boating…family life…etc, etc, the photos winding up in Northern newspapers, brochures, billboards, beckoning the “Yankees” to come down to live, and jack was partly responsible for this. “Love those Yankees, jack was one of them!) Now jack is asking a question…
“Is this picture TIMELESS (over 50 years old) and could it be used again today?…sez ole jack, 95.
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