Saturday, June 25, 2011

Travels during my career

I have had a long, exciting career in the commercial art and advertising fields, and have been lucky to have worked for clients that have sent me to some very exotic places, countries that one might not visit normally. On the maps, the orange dots represent vacation trips and the white ones represent work-related trips.

My first great trip happened in 1958 when I was art director on the Chevrolet account at Campbell Ewald advertising agency in Detroit. Chevrolet wanted to show their trucks and cars performing on very tough, almost impossible roads. They found that some of the worst roads were over the mountains between Argentina and Chile and decided to send us down there to take photos and to shoot TV commercials. When we arrived in Buenos Aires we were unable to get the previously shipped cars and trucks off the ship as the dock workers were on strike. The agency told us to stay, so what would have been a two week venture turned into six weeks. We finally were able to get the vehicles and get on with our photo shoot over those wild roads, it was quite an experience, to say the least.
When my wife Jeanne and I got married in 1965 we had a great cruise planned, but it was canceled for repairs on the ship. We then decided to go to Suriname for our honeymoon. Suriname is on the top of South America between Guyana and French Guiana, which we also visited. French Guiana is the location of the infamous Devil's Island.
I've also been on plenty of photo shoots in Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California. Most of these were for art directing the photography for various automotive brochures and catalogs that I had designed.
I've also traveled in the Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp as well as the Florida Everglades, even camping out there. Puerto Vallarta is another place I have vacationed many times, a great place.
I had a travel agent client, Transcontinental Travel, that I did a lot of work for and instead of getting paid for my efforts, I chose to take airline tickets. Some of these trips included France, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, and we often traveled first class.

Transcontinental Travel planned to open offices in Cairo, Beirut and Damascus and sent me there to take photos of the area for future brochures. On one occasion in 1973 my wife and I were in Luxor, Egypt when the war broke out between the Arab countries and Israel. We were immediately brought back to Cairo where we were waiting to leave the country. At 3.00 AM our hotel notified us that buses were ready to evacuate us. We were driven across the desert to Benghazi, Libya. It was quite a ride which included a long border stop to enter Libya and later a harrowing ride through a wild desert sandstorm. We had no diplomatic relations with Libya at the time, but the U.S. sent an ambassador there to help us get accommodations and a flight out of Libya in a few days. Finally we were put on a Bulgarian airliner which flew us to Rome, a relief as we thought the Libyan government might have held us hostage.
For Transcontinental I traveled to Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya.

I had another great client in Michigan, the Premier Corporation. The Advertising manager was Jim Donahue, who I began working with at his art studio Allied Artists in 1947. He sent me on a trip to Japan to photograph the unloading of cattle that Premier was sending there. I flew over on the cattle-loaded cargo aircraft and they sent my wife over on a regular flight. I was seated in the cargo hold with the cattle and it was kept very cold, the pilots felt sorry for me and invited me into the cockpit for most of the flight. When we arrived I took photos of the unloading, which took a few hours, then I met Jeanne and we had a wonderful two week vacation in Japan and we even spent a week in Hawaii on the way home.
When I freelanced in Detroit I used to get called in to work on premises at McCann Erickson in New York on client presentations for a couple of weeks at a time. On one occasion I found out that McCann was looking for an art director for their Sao Paulo, Brazil office. Jeanne and I were thinking about moving out of Detroit, so I immediately applied for the job. I lost out to another Detroit art director, Bill Gilmore. At that point, we decided to move to Paris. I lived and worked in Paris, France from 1977 through 1983 and one of my best clients was the Lintas advertising agency. They sent me to work at their offices in Vienna and Madrid, sending my wife Jeanne along also. They also sent me to teach their staffs how to render comps and storyboards in their Jakarta and Singapore offices and even threw in a trip to Bali as a bonus. These trips all made it worth dealing with the outrageous deadlines that are part of this business.

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