My father always told me to shoot every job as if I was shooting a cover assignment for Rolling Stone. Even if I was only getting paid $25 for the job. I always try to do that, Sometimes the subject thinks I am crazy.
One time, the Minneapolis Star Tribune asked me to accompany a writer to meet, interview and photograph Meryl Streep. I showed up with a Hasselblad and lighting equipment. For a newspaper assignment!! She thought I was crazy, but went along with it.
I once saw a television special on the beginnings of Motown Records. Berry Gordy hired a group of people to make his young stars act and perform “properly.”
He hired a choreographer to teach them how to hold a microphone so that the audience could see their faces. He also hired an etiquette teacher to make sure that the artists behaved properly at interviews. She formed what became known as “Motown’s Finishing School.” This was one of the industries first Artist Development Departments. As Smokey Robinson said, “It didn’t matter who you became during the course of your career. Two days a week when you were back in Detroit you had to go to artist development. It was mandatory!”
The woman who ran the department used to say “Do not confuse me with your parents-they are stuck with you. I am not!”
Her name was Maxine Powell. She passed away this week at the age of 98. An era has come to an end.