Over the past 20-plus years with BASS PLAYER, Art Director and photographer Paul Haggard has accumulated a shelf full of broken cameras and some dusty memories. He will recount some over the next few columns until either he can't remember any more, or they fail to be interesting— whichever comes first. Photograph from October 2008
Over the past 20-plus years with BASS PLAYER, Art Director and photographer Paul Haggard has accumulated a shelf full of broken cameras and some dusty memories. He will recount some over the next few columns until either he can't remember any more, or they fail to be interesting— whichever comes first.
I AM A CHEAP BASTARD. ASK ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME. During any decision-making process I enter into, my internal financial fuzzy logic first filters through a robust cost-analysis mechanism in my brain. This mechanism—constructed over years of miserly experience, through countless trials and errors, trepidation, abandon, poor choices, confliction, and pound foolish penny-wisdom—is more a patchwork of semi-baked layers of obfuscating quasi-reason than a sound system of rational thought.
For instance, I always search for the cheapest gas, often driving excessively out of my way to find it. I invariably bring my lunch with me from the darkest reaches of my refrigerator—the older, the better—thereby saving perhaps five or six dollars with only a mild health risk. Mold could be good for you, it makes penicillin, right? It goes on and on.
So only fittingly, this demented system carries into my professional world as well.
I have a stack of gear cases which I lug around with me from shoot to shoot. They contain lights, and stands, and clamps, and wires, and cameras and lenses and duct tape (although I have had the same cases for decades, so most of the duct tape is wrapped around the exterior surfaces).
And I always prepare for travel shoots by first reconnoitering the location in relation to the airport, and this time, without exception, as usual, I knelt before my framed photo of Larry Page and said a solemn prayer of thanks for the invention of Google Maps. So prior to my shoot with Justin Meldal- Johnsen in 2008, upon finding that Nine Inch Nails would be rehearsing in a massive soundstage just two blocks away from the Burbank Airport, my mind reeled with delight at the profound convenience of having to traverse only eight or nine hundred yards of Southern California to reach the location. Can you imagine this rapture?
My flight landed, and I heaved my beaten cases off the baggage rotunda and placed them lovingly onto a device which I have come to regard as my aluminum soulmate: the airport Smarte Carte. This device has saved my aching back on more occasions than I would like to remember, and on this glorious day with the money-grubbing cabbies eyeing me, I wheeled my load in the bright sun past their cab line of greed, down the sidewalk, out the front drive of the Burbank Airport, and out of sight down the street in the city where absolutely no one walks anywhere.
I arrived at the door of the massive building minutes later, having saved what very well could have amounted to a seven or eight dollar cab ride ($8.25 with tip!) and wheeled my soulmate into the cavernous hall where Justin met me, looked me up and down like he was deciding whether to shake my hand or take a couple of steps backward, and finally asked, “Dude, did you, like, walk here?”