When Everyone Else is Wrong

When I first hired Melanie, my Las Vegas manager, we spent time together.  I’m afraid I photograph, um, different than anyone else — and I had to un-teach (forgive me photography school teachers) the institutional bull shit.  Rule of thirds? Really!?

I had to teach real skills, like how to take the camera OFF automatic and put it on manual.  How to use flash as fill, rather than a primary light source.  How to forget TTL (for those not into photography, that’s geek speak for automatic flash), and learn to control the light by hand.  
Translation:  how to control your photography equipment, rather than it controlling you.
“But you shoot differently than anything else I’ve read,” she said in frustration one day.
“Uh, huh.  I know.  Not my fault everyone else is wrong.”
We’d just shot a job for a regular, annual client, My Matrixx.  In a weird way, that shoot was a precursor for what I do for Honda:  at that point, the biggest green screen I’d ever erected, in back of a hot car. We took the participants in the car, then put the entire image against the Las Vegas strip.  The victims looked like they were cruising down the famous strip in a Lincoln.  (Or was it a Cadillac?  I don’t know, I can’t afford either.)
I was training her that day, so, I took Melanie for an early dinner after the shoot.  Where did

we go?

Why, Hooker Sushi of course.
We were sitting having a lovely meal.  Mel hadn’t experienced anything much past a California roll, so I was taking her on a tour of my favorites.  When, oh yeah!
“Here’s your money for this shoot.”  I’d hit the ATM on the way.  All $20’s.
Melanie turned five shades paler. 
“Not here!”
“What?  What’s wrong?”
“They’ll think I’m a hooker.”
What?  A clandestine wad of $20’s being passed under the table from a single man to a single lady?  Really?  Who could ever make that mistake, at my favorite Hooker Sushi restaurant?
And, so, another life lesson learned.  It’s not what is reality — a gay, married, photographer having dinner with his new manager and paying her for a hard shoot — but what LOOKS like reality:  A spiky   haired punk dude having brunch with a hot chick in Las Vegas’ known hang outs for healthy late night hooker eats.
Isn’t what you THINK you know always MORE interesting than reality?  
The first My Matrixx photo shoot.  Yes, that’s the car from Entourage.