Archive for November, 2010
Out on newsstands this week you can check out this profile piece on Robin Li, the billionaire CEO of Baidu. Baidu is the reigning king of search in China and my images accompany Brad Stone & Bruce Einhorn’s story here:
You can also download the PDF of the whole story here: Robin Li – Baidu – PDF
The Oct 23/24 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal features some of my Shanghai images in the ‘Insider’s Guide’ written by friend and talented writer Andrew Yang. You can check it outline here: http://on.wsj.com/byL41d or see the full print layout as a PDF here: Wall Street Journal – Shanghai Insider PDF
While on the theme of service, I wanted to let folks know about Central Studios (http://www.centralstudios.cn/) in Shanghai.
Opened in the last year by Rodney Evans, a very talented photographer in his own right (and a friend to boot), the studios are located just blocks from Xintiandi in the heart of Shanghai. Whether you need equipment rental, studio space, or production help, Rodney and his team will sort you out.
Central Studios recently kitted me out for a video shoot and made sure that I had all the equipment that I would expect to get in NYC.
Next time you have a shoot in Shanghai give them a shout.
I was recently at the sublime Four Seasons Tented resort in Northern Thailand and it reminded me of the first time I had ventured there for work a few years ago (this most recent time I was there off the clock).
At the time the resort had just opened and I was shooting for Travel + Leisure’s hotel issue. In fact one of the images ended up being used as the cover.
If you have ever stayed at a Four Seasons you know that in response to any request they will always say “Certainly.”
“I would like a unicorn to deliver my low-fat extra-hot latte with the morning paper. And if you could arrange for a full moon that would be terrific.”
So on this particular shoot one of my light meters (I always carry two – redundancy!) decided that it was no longer interested in performing its core function. So I had a very dead light meter on my hands.
I popped the light meter open (this one had already gone for a swim in Australia once upon a time and been revived with a de-ionized water bath at a marine research station on Heron Island) to see if I could see anything that was obviously broken.
And lo and behold it looked like some solder points had cracked. Given that we weren’t exactly in downtown New York (the tented resort is located in the Golden Triangle on the border of Burma and Laos near Chiang Rai) I wrote it off for the rest of the shoot.
Four Seasons engineering staff weren’t having any of it. They absconded with my light meter and I went back to shooting. But not for long.
Soon enough my light meter returned, working perfectly fine, with all the contact points flawlessly re-soldered. Amazing.
“Can I have my light meter fixed and re-soldered along with that latte?”
I use my gear in a fairly abusive manner. Whether it is shooting in -50C in Mongolia while riding reindeer, or hauling bags through blistering heat and desert dust I need to know that my equipment won’t fail.
Invariably however, after repeated beatings things do start to wear down, fall apart, or develop their own special quirks.
I have travelled all over the world with my Think Tank Airport Security v 2.0 (http://www.thinktankphoto.com/products/airport-security-v2-roller-camera-bag.aspx) and the wheels finally decided that they had had enough with the relationship. Rolling the bag had become decidedly less smooth, even when I wasn’t piloting it over rocks and cobblestone streets.
So what to do? I was on the road in China and though the bag was still serviceable it was definitely a pain.
One email. That’s all it took.
That one email led to a new set of wheels being shipped to China for me to replace in the field.
Cost to me? Zero.
Result? A very happy customer who will continue to buy their products because of the service.
In spite of my earlier statement about needing to know that my equipment won’t fail I know that equipment does fail. And when it does you want a company that stands behind their work and will sort you out.
Service. Service. Service.