Funny Pictures as Stock Photos
It took me a long time to first delve into the creation of funny pictures. Almost fifteen years into my career, to be exact. A big part of that evolution was the advent of the digital world and Photoshop. As a matter of fact, Photoshop came along at a perfect time for me and opened up a whole new world. It was early 1990 and my business had hit the wall. It was like someone turned off the faucet. 1989 was, at that point, the best year I had ever had. I could barely keep up with the assignments! But our economy took a dive and my business went along with it. One of my clients went from a staff of 24 to only five people in a six-month span of time.
Who was going to hire me, and why?
With all that time on my hands I took a hard look at my business. Who was going to hire me and why? My answer was that not too many would hire me. My book wasn’t even interesting to me. But one thing did interest me, combining images. I began to combine images using in-camera duping. The difficulties of that process got me looking at this new development in the pre-press world, digital compositing. When I checked into that the proprietary systems were prohibitively expensive. And then came this new program called Photoshop. I didn’t have any money, but I traded some stock photos to Adobe for a copy of their new program, and used my income tax money to pay for an apple computer. The rest, as they say, was history.
Pics of flying pigs and heads buried in the sand
It wasn’t long before humor began to creep into my Photoshop work. A funny picture of flying pigs came within months of my starting to work with Photoshop. Shortly after that came a fun image of raining cats and dogs. The humor showed up not just in funny animal pictures, but also in humorous people pictures as well. In one such shot I created an image of myself, times three, and in each case, with my head buried in the sand and my butt in the air (what was I thinking?).
Eventually I created a stock image of a cat with a huge grin and a canary feather protruding from his mouth. That fun little picture got me a contract with a greeting card company and my own line of greeting cards “John Lund’s Animal Antics”. Soon we were selling over a million greeting cards a year!
At first I was uncomfortable getting complements on the funny animal pictures. I wanted to be known for serious work. But it began to dawn on me that people were truly appreciating what I was doing. I get e-mails from all over the world from people thanking me for bringing humor into their lives. A week after 9/11 happened a United Airlines flight attendant sent me a letter thanking me for giving her fist smile since the twin towers tragedy.
Appreciation on a weekly basis
After twenty years of photography I don’t ever remember anybody thanking me for creating images…and here I am suddenly getting appreciation on a weekly basis. How bad can that be? Now, of course, I have come to terms with it. As a matter of fact, few things make me feel as good as seeing a smile spread across someone’s face when they first look at one of my images. As a matter of fact, when someone chuckles at one of my images I know I have a winner. Even today, I created a funny image and sent e-mail the image to my brother while I had him on the phone. When I heard him laugh I knew the image was successful.
It took me fifteen years of shooting before I found my stride, a combination of photography, Photoshop and humor. I create funny images of pets, funny photographs of business concepts, and, yes, the occasional serious shot too. And I’m laughing all the way to the bank!