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February 07, 2006
So, Mac, Where ya been?
Filed in: Current Affairs, Photography

I've been getting variations of this question for a few weeks (where the Sam Hill, where the heck, howdy stranger, smoke signals please) along with very nice expressions of support - especially from the dear Scribalistas.

Here's my 'splainin'. (I can't be too specific about everything, please forgive)...

In the first week of January I finally received confirmation (for sure, really gonna happen) that I was going to have a visitor from overseas who is really important to me and my little company.

A couple of days after receiving this news I woke up in the middle of the night - wide awake - the little homonculous that lives inside my brain screaming at the top of its lungs: "You have to do something with the office!"

Now, we've been at the same office location since I founded my firm about 18 years ago. We're pretty used to the conditions, but I'm realizing that I'm going to be entertaining a billionaire.

So, here's what the space outside my office door looked like:

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Note that the entry into this room is open (no door).

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And it's really more than a bit of a mess. That's my office door opening all the way to the left. Please note that I opened the wide angle lens all the way to get as much of the rooms as possible in each shot - the angles and straight lines often won't work out in these shots...

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Here was the hallway from my office entry to the front lobby.

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Here's the front lobby looking right from the entry. Those prints are by my photographer friend Bob Runyan. I like Bob a lot, but I'm thinking that it's my turn to display some work after all these years.

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And looking toward the entry from the hallway (we had already removed plaques from the wall at this point - that's why the wall looks pretty beat up.)

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This is the conference room - just past the lobby. Another original Runyan triptych - a lovely large format shot of Wizard Island in Alberta. I had something else in mind.

OK, so when I came to that early morning, I had about three weeks before VIP visitors were showing up. I decided it was extreme makeover time.

During the day I ran my business as usual. In the evening, I contracted painters, a general contractor to remove the door from my office - to create an enclosure for it in the adjoining office and refininsh my door opening - forming an 'annex' to my office for an additional meeting space, spent uncountable hours at the frame shop, commissioned printing of some of my best photographs - some significantly large, built frames, bought and installed track lighting, bought furniture, hung pictures, and delegated as much as I could to a couple of my stalwart admin people (I could not have done any of this without their wonderful assistance.) I worked about 20 hours a day on preparations for my meetings and preparation of our space and pulled three all-nighters in the process (I really am too old for that :)).

I had my vision of what I wanted to do all along - but I'm not sure that all of my employees caught it until the very end.

Here's where we ended up:

The room next to my office (the first two photos in this post) became this:

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That's a 44 inch wide by 66 inch high wide format print of one of my favorite photos that was very meaningful in the context of the meetings I had scheduled.

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The entry to my new office space now looks like this:

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The hallway between the lobby and my offices:

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The hallway behind the lobby and to the left of the conference room:

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The wall behind the lobby:

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The lobby from the hallway in front of the conference room:

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The lobby from the entry door:

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And finally, the conference room main treatment:

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This mural is 42 inches high and almost 15 feet long - it is one contiguous panorama - perhaps you recognize the place if you're a regular visitor to my site. This picture is very meaningful to me and to a couple of my visitors (I knew for sure) and provides an incredible 'window' into another place and time.

When I told my main guest that I had commissioned this work specifically for his visit, my voice cracked with emotion. When he thanked me for doing it, his voice cracked as well. That experience was most satisfying.

Just a good environment does not insure that business meetings will be successful. There's no substitute for good preparation - having good materials and presentations ready - knowing the audience as much as possible - understanding as much as possible about the power dynamics of the group - and having good control of the overall schedule.

The schedule for the week involved flying around the country for a few days and then returning to the Pacific Northwest for some concluding meetings.

On a scale of 1 to 10 - the week was an 11.

I dropped the last visitor off (we ended up with 7 folks!) late Saturday evening - the day before the Super Bowl last Sunday. I really haven't come down since.

Oh, here's the main wall in my office now:

Dsc_00710022

I need to get some track lighting up in here. Currently, I have a couple of shots from the Valley of Fire in Nevada displayed.

Oh, yeah, in the bottom right hand corner, that's yours truely with my friend Arnold back before he had any political aspirations (at least that he was talking about). Yes, it's true. I'm taller than Arnold. And, at one time (a few years ago - and well after his career) I was built more than he was. Now I'm old and fat - but he is too :)

Anyway, my friends, that's what I've been up to for the last month. I'm glad I survived it - and I wouldn't want to do it again. Soon, too soon, I must fly across the great western pond to the Far East again.

Cheers!



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People Pulling

You have my deepest empathies. I did the same a few years ago for our 85th anniversary.

The results must be so satisfying, and what a fantastic way to display and be surrounded by your own photos. Very nice!

EMCEE: We need 85th anniversary pictures! Thanks for the nice words.

Posted by: Diana at Feb 8, 2006 1:48:06 AM

It looks excellent! Those photos just look stellar on the walls, with the lighting.

EMCEE: Thanks Carin! Get well!

Posted by: Carin at Feb 8, 2006 5:13:35 AM

"the little homonculous..." So demon posession is your excuse? You'd need that to get all of this work done! Truly though, outstanding job. Your photos look fantastic all over the place. And that mural?!?!? WOW!
>^..^<

EMCEE: Er, you mean not everyone has this little guy that lives just behind the eyes and is always awake? *Looks left and right sheepishly.* Really though, thanks for the kind words. Really gratifying to hear it from a master photographer!

Posted by: jan at Feb 8, 2006 5:29:02 AM

HOLY COW! Mac, that looks BE-U-TI-FUL!!! It is so warm and so prestigious, at the same time. GREAT job - the artwork is breathtaking!

Your absence is excused (this time).

EMCEE: Thanks Shell! And thanks for the excuse from class too - I won't abuse it :)

Posted by: Pie Shell at Feb 9, 2006 11:03:15 AM

Wow, Mac, good stuff, buddy. The mural in the conference room is astounding.

Now get yer butt back to ST where you belong!!!!!!

EMCEE: Thanks Scott. Hey, watch that whip thing!

Posted by: Scott P at Feb 9, 2006 11:46:35 AM

A month well spent. The pictures really do look like windows, don't they? Amazing stuff Mac.

EMCEE: Ana! Thank you - The pictures really are like windows to me - I remember each place - when it was, where it was, what the weather and the light were like (even the lens, aperture, f-stop - but I won't mention that - I'm not THAT geeky :) ).

Posted by: Ana at Feb 9, 2006 5:44:41 PM

Wow. Just wow. That mural makes me wish I had a wall long enough to mount something like that.

EMCEE: Hey Nathan. I thought maybe you'd venture some Super Bowl wisdom. Liked your sentiments over at Pajama Jihad. Thanks for the nice words.

Posted by: Nathan Azinger at Feb 9, 2006 5:54:06 PM

You can never go wrong with green paint and wood. *wink*

EMCEE: Now here's a man that understands! Who ever said I'd never learn anything from you Craig?

Posted by: CraigC at Feb 9, 2006 6:25:06 PM

You're far more than "a chip off the old block."
A proud Dad. Mac, Sr.

EMCEE: Hey it's my Dad! Great to hear from you. Folks, my Dad is in his seventies and just had quintuple bypass surgery last fall. He has played basketball at lunch time most every day for as long as I can remember. He had a brief hiatus after heart surgery but is back out there playing with the college kids again. I haven't played an actual game of roundball since I was about 30. So don't let him kid you. He IS the block!

Posted by: Dad at Feb 10, 2006 8:36:52 PM

Let me guess - your guest of honor is from Argentina, right? (Just kidding). I would send you a coupla original prints, but you'd just put bats on 'em and stuff. . .
Seriously, Mac, wonderful concepts artfully realized. Congrats!

EMCEE: JWebb! One of my very, very fave peeples! Great to hear from you. I'd be honored to have some of your work because it is some of the best I've ever seen - really! I only mess with digital pictures :) Thanks so much for the kind words!

Posted by: JWebb at Feb 11, 2006 6:51:14 PM

I am so impressed! Makes me really wish I could be there in person. So now you can add, to your many talents, interior decorating and out-of-this-world art/photography.
I don't spend lots of time here, 'cause whenever I do, I could camp out for way to long and neglect my family! :)

EMCEE: Hey li'l sis! Thanks so much for stopping by! I'd love to show you the new office digs - all y'all have to do is trundle on up here any way you want to get here. Folks, my little sister, beyond being a brilliant musician and expert in the French language has raised an entire football backfield that will probably play together on a national championship team in the near future!

Posted by: Leigh Ann - Alabama Sis at Feb 11, 2006 7:09:26 PM

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