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11-08-2009, 11:33 AM   #1
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“A Funny Thing Happened to Me In the Camera Store”

“A Funny Thing Happened to Me In the Camera Store”

Just wish to share this little story with you that you may find interesting…

I want to shake you ALL up…I never studied photography…I never wanted to be a photographer. I studied architecture and played drums in a punk rock group. I literally fell in to photography by ACCIDENT..Everything I learned was by experimenting. I was such a bad photographer when I started, that if I got lucky and took a good image and was asked to replicate it I couldn’t. In fact about one year in to shooting, I was asked by Sears to shoot an advert for them based on an image in my S–tty portfolio. The problem is that I didn’t have a vocabulary and I didn’t know how I did what I did in the first place, so I couldn’t replicate what I did. I must have lost about 50-60 percent of the clients I shot for. I would get a great fluke shot and wow them with it. “Hey Ben, we want that! “”GULP “OK” and I would think, “OOOOPPPPSSS Sorry, ummm, I can’t recreate it, I don’t really know how I did that!”

But the good thing was this. I did stuff that nobody would even consider doing if they were taught what and what not to do. One of my techniques that I and perhaps a few people around the world at the time were doing but not aware that we were at the time was the following.

One day I walked in to a camera store in Toronto to ask advice from the sales people who happen to be Ryerson Polytechnical School (Photography) grads now called Ryerson University. They knew all the technique, which I had none of. I asked them for a certain emulsion for doing, if I remember correctly “Cibachrome” or development for slides. They kind of giggled and said, “Here use this and this and this”. I said OK I will…Well lo and behold, they gave me the wrong stuff that became what is now known as cross processing that got me in to L’Officiel, Elle, etc. I was on exposition at the Arles Festival in 1986-7 presenting my C41 stuff with Mondino, Satoshi and Nik Knight. I was known for “THAT” technique.

Well, about five years later I went to Toronto to visit the family. I was being published everywhere. I mean everywhere. I needed some photo stuff and walked in to the same camera store “Toronto Camera” at the time on Yonge Street and there were two of the guys who sold me the “WRONG” stuff.

Well I walked right up to them and said “Thanks for your advice. Do you remember a little joke you pulled on one of your customers? You know, ah you need this stuff for that type of film?” “ahhh yyyeeeaahhh maybe, sort of …WHY?”

“My name is Benjamin Kanarek,” “Your BBBBeeennnnjjjjjjjjammminnnn KKakakakkanarek?” Yeah…”Wow”
I said “I want to thank you for giving me the BEST wrong advice I have ever gotten in my whole life!”

I walked out of the store with a huge smile…

Because of that advice I shot some very interesting Ad Campaigns.

Benjamin Kanarek Blog “A Funny Thing Happened to Me In the Camera Store”

The Interview is here:

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Last edited by benjikan; 11-08-2009 at 01:27 PM.
11-08-2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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I have always believed that our Creator has filled our path with Easter Eggs for us to find. Sometimes the mean kids steer us to them but they are still the blessing they were meant to be for us, and in this case, for the world as well. Keep looking in the nooks and crannies for all the Eggs you have yet to find.
11-08-2009, 12:10 PM   #3
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Ben, your story fits well with my motto that I would rather be Lucky than Smart!

Thanks for the story.
11-08-2009, 12:18 PM   #4
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Can't keep a good guy/girl down!
Great little story. It wouldn't have mattered what they gave you, you would still have become Ben Kanarek. Rob says it all - God's at work in all of us, and gives us all we need. Even when it was intended for wrong by others, it turns out for good.

11-08-2009, 12:20 PM   #5
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i guess this store no longer exists now?
11-08-2009, 01:16 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
i guess this store no longer exists now?
LOL...I think it still does. Was on Yonge and Queen Street's. You had to have seen their cockiness, when I asked for their advice. They were really out to "F" me up. The home coming was a real laugh though. I had been a photographer for perhaps 1 year and had my studio for about six months when that happened. Was still really wet behind the ears. I can still remember what the counters looked like. All the chemistry. A very different mind set at that time. No photoshop. Dodging and Burning masks. Hand, brush retouching. Knowing how to overexpose enough to kill skin flaws if that was your intent. Using 1/4 to1/2 blue correction gelatins to whiten the skin to reduce acne spots. Having the BALLS to use slide film. Knowing how to read a Polaroid and judging clip tests...Ahhhhhhhh...I love DIGITAL!
11-08-2009, 05:02 PM   #7
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Serendipity favors those that can recognize something good and/or unique when they see it. That makes the difference between it being merely an accident.

I wonder how much business those jack-a$$ beat themselves and store out of.

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