Extreme-ly Tired Photographer
Reporting a story on extreme-job holders is a lot like stalking the Tibetan yeti. Like the abominable snowman, these elusive and fast-moving creatures leave tracks — BlackBerry messages in the middle of the night, enigmatic voice mails before takeoff — but are rarely encountered in the flesh.
Many of my interviews for "Extreme Jobs" (page 54) were rescheduled multiple times to account for client emergencies, disrupted flight schedules, time-zone challenges, and the like. Others took place at odd hours — Sunday mornings, late at night.
But the difficulty of my job paled next to the obstacles faced by our photographer, Rebecca Greenfield. To snare a photo of indefatigable banker John Bishop, Greenfield had hoped to visit him at the office. But the Citigroup executive's days were constantly crammed too tight to allow the hour she needed for a quality shot. So the two hatched a backup plan: She'd shoot him at the airport at 5 a.m. on his way to Houston. Then various crises intervened, keeping Bishop in New York. So Greenfield tried again, repeatedly, finally capturing the 31-year-old workhorse hunched over a laptop in his East Village apartment (left). "I ended up shooting him at the rather reasonable hour of 7 a.m.," she says, "but he had been in the office until 2 a.m." That was before Bishop put in a 24-hour work weekend, finishing just in time to catch the end of the Super Bowl. -Linda Tischler
Birds of a Feather
It all began one morning when my editor stopped in the hallway and informed me, somewhat cryptically, "We need to get the chicken." Turns out, he wanted the costume that was featured in Burger King's Subservient Chicken campaign to be used in the photos accompanying this month's piece on Miami ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky ("Ruling the Roost," page 70).
Easier said than done. A breezy call put in to Katie Kempner, CP+B's ever-helpful, always-cheery PR rep, produced an uncharacteristic groan. "We'll have to get the costume here from Los Angeles . . . but . . . well, I'm sure we can work it out," she said.
The next thing I know, Fast Company's intrepid new photo editor, Sarah Rozen, is on the phone to Stan Winston Studio (the Hollywood special-effects gurus behind Terminator 2 among many others) talking first-class plane tickets and a costume handler. Let's just say, this chicken doesn't fly easily.
The feathers needed a special berth in the cargo hold on a round-trip flight from L.A. to Miami and a professional handler, who himself required a first-class seat, a rented SUV, and room and board for the night. Apparently we got off easy. Normally the costume also requires hiring (at great expense) a male to wear it who is exactly 5-feet, 9-inches tall. As luck would have it, Joey Maldonado (right), from CP+B's mailroom, fit the specs perfectly and turned out to be a great sport about the whole affair. -Ryan Underwood
A version of this article appeared in the April 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.