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Now Open? Planning that trip to CUBA?

May I suggest committing an afternoon to the Partaga's factory in Havana.

I sailed there in the Havana Cup Regatta, with my good mate, Michael Brown (pictured with me, right). While at the factory, some King Abula Malula from some African country came in right after we arrived. His entourage wanted the place cleared out, so they could have the place for themselves. We told the interpreter we'd oblige, AFTER we finished our cigars and beers.

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Ad

Here's a photo of a photo of an ad.  The latest for agency Burrell in Chicago. Carl Koestner was the Art Director, and also took this picture of the enlarged ad hanging in the agency. big-adPHOTO: CARL KOESTNER

Winners - Graphis Photography Annual 2014

I took time away from entering awards - all of them - for 2 years. I just stopped entering the things. Entering is time consuming and expensive and frankly, for a while there, I wasn't certain how valid any of the competitions are with the web explosion in this particular medium. But, the 'classics' have endured, and I consider Graphis a classic. Three images will be in the 2014 Photography Annual Book. One earned the Silver Award ('Ritz-Carlton', top left). It's nice to be in the company of some really great photographers. All the thanks go to the clients that give me the opportunities.    

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Al, the Great and Powerful.

My whole life, I've never been one to hold fine details in my head. Years, names, historical facts, baseball stats, they fascinate me, but I don't prioritize them high enough, to be front and center. I would rather remember every detail of the bioluminescent waters I saw crossing the Gulf Stream  while sailing to Havana. I'm visual. This little flaw of mine, made my chances of making good grades unfavorable, which did bother me a whole lot.

Less day-dreaming, more details, I used to think. Be smart. But one day my attitude changed on the spot, and I was put at ease. I saw a poster, the standard and classic, 16x24" paper poster (I can't recall where it was hanging). It was a bleed, black & white photo, a headshot of Albert Einstein. At the bottom, in seriffed type, was his quote, "Imagination is more important than wisdom."

Unabashedly I can say the 'motivational poster' motivated me. If Albert Einstein thought my imagination was a vital asset to the world, then that was good enough for me. I charged forward, with my desire to think the way I wanted to think, and let my imagination go wherever it damn well wanted to go. 

I let go. 

Now days, I have it both ways, I have a tsunami-sized store of those fine details. Name it. Any subject; I've got the facts. Did I change my way of thinking? No, I've got an iphone and wikipedia.

Be patient, the quality will get better.

"No one cares about quality anymore." I heard that line three times, in a span of three days, from three different people in regards to commercial production. You hear it from the old producers the most. They're the ones crying over their late night beers in the sports lounge at the Holiday Inn Express, dreaming of the days when they were yakking it up with Billy Joel in the elevator at Shutters. 

But I don't believe it for one second. It's confusing, for everyone-still. Brands can't keep up. The focus is on followers, likers. You got them, now you have to keep them happy and entertained 24/7. Ever hear dead air on a radio program?  

On the other end of that, you have to consider how slow the agency and client are moving on their decisions to put every little thing out there. Only the entire world will see/judge it.... I'll admit, it's been a while since I was an agency man, so I ask, what is the approval process for a Coca-Cola Instagram?

As the portals become more robust, better resources and more money will be put toward them. It'll be tough for some big brands, but eventually they will stop rationalizing their amateurish media as "organic" and "real", and grow up. 

It's inevitable. Human nature is on our side, an innate desire, for better.

The bowling ball-sized pill we creators have to swallow is, that truism the old producer sitting at the bar always preaches, "Time, budget, quality; pick two."