Employee of the Month

Well, I’m glad that week is over. It’s not often that I get myself in a no win situation, but I was pretty close to one this week. It was really a time where there were an incredible amount of deadlines and no way to meet all of them.

And just when I thought it was hopeless… my friends showed up to help… in a big way.

In the middle of an afternoon panic attack, Jillian Ann called looking to get some advice from Billy Buddha. Quite frankly I didn’t really feel like I was in any position to do anyone any good at that point. I mean I was barely functioning. But I did my best and apparently what I managed to tell her helped her figure a few things out and she seems in a much better place today. After a few minutes of advice from a slightly damaged Buddha, she turned the spotlight on me and I told her I felt like I was in the process of failing at any number of things on my plate at the moment because I could not keep up with the demands on my time, both self imposed and from external forces. She tried to talk me down and told me to let go, even of some of the things I loved and that gave me joy, just to concentrate on what really was going to slip through my fingers if I didn’t take care of it.

I’m not even sure I agreed with her, because it would have meant cancelling a shoot with Morgan that we were both looking forward to. But it was good to have a friend to listen and support me.

Shortly after that, Heather stopped by and must have seen the look of panic on my face because she immediately offered her help before I even had a chance to fully explain what was going on. Heather does all the color correction and retouching of my images once they get to the printing stage. Chances are, if you see an image of mine on the website here that is less than perfect, she hasn’t touched it yet. There’s been so much work to retouch, we’ve had to prioritize.

One of the deadlines I was wrestling with at the moment was getting the prints made for my upcoming exhibition at Echo Gallery next month (more on that later). I’ve been very diligent about not letting things get to be last minute, but it has taken a lot longer to decide on the number of photographs and pick the show than any of us anticipated. I knew that I was going to make huge prints and that I was going to make them from digital files scanned from the original film negatives. Heather had already completed the color correction and retouching, but the printing was going to be a different process that what I usually do for gallery prints and I hadn’t even chosen a lab to make tests with. It was now less than 30 days from when the final framed images needed to be delivered to Echo to be installed. Time was running out and I really did not have an hour to get images to the various labs to begin making test prints.

Heather pretty much took control of that part of my world and by noon the next day, she had been in communication with a lab in San Diego and had electronically sent smaller versions of my photographs to make tests using the various papers we could choose from for the final prints. Amazing. Heather wins the Billy Sheahan Photography Employee of the Month honors. Here she is, moments after saving the day. See how calm, under control and aDORable she looks!

Over the next few days my great friend Ryan kept tabs on me, really making me feel like I wasn’t alone. We haven’t gotten to see as much of each other as we’d like to lately, but as is usually the case with good friends, when the chips were down, she was and is there. Thanks Grrrrrrrryan!

My Manchester friend Monkaey checked in from across the pond, with her usual ridiculously sane take on things. Even though she’s thousands of miles away, I can’t help feel her support like she was right in the room next to me.

And of course Morgan, who manages to be so many positive things to me all at once, took me out to dinner after a particularly grueling day and helped me put all of the stress away for a few hours, so I could finish out one last day, Friday, without completely losing my mind. And when it came time today to go over what we were going to shoot, we both took a few minutes to decide if the day might better be used to repair ourselves rather than keep up the pace that was surely unhealthy for both me and her. Even though we have a lot of work to do in the next few months, we gave ourselves the day off.

It’s tough to cancel something that gives me as much joy as our time shooting together, but I think we both knew that the pictures would be better with clear and rested heads. We’ll pick up next week and I’m sure we’ll make incredible images.

So yes, sometimes when I feel like life is crushing down on me, I forget to ask for help. I’m a very fortunate man who has such amazing friends who apparently don’t need a bat signal to be there for me. Thank you all!

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