Remember your past.

This is a good lesson overall for life, but I’m speaking today specifically of your professional past. When news breaks, or you meet someone new, ask yourself how you are connected to the news or the person.

One day when I was working at Apple, I was in John Santoro‘s office. John is an accomplished photographer and at the time was iPhoto product marketing manager. John had several interesting photos on the wall including this one:

one of his good friends was married to Kim Cattrall at the time
one of his good friends, Mark Levinson, was married to Kim Cattrall at the time

But there was one picture that really caught my eye:

Clinton and Lewinsky by Dirck Halstead for Time
Clinton and Lewinsky by Dirck Halstead for Time

I asked Mark about this one as I obviously remembered this one when it was cropped for the cover of Time.

The story he told me was very interesting. The photo was by his friend Dirck Halstead, the editor and publisher of Digital Journalist. John told me an an abbreviated version of the story that Dirck published on his site.  Here’s one of the most salient points from the story as told by Halstead:

“I have a theory that every time the shutter captures a frame, that image is recorded, at a very low threshold in the brain of the photographer.  I have heard this over and over from photographers around the world. It doesn’t matter if the photographer saw the processed image or not.  These split seconds, as the mirror returns, are recorded as “photographic lint” on the mind of the photographer.

When the photographs of Monica Lewinsky, in her beret, on the lawn of the White House, emerged in February of this year, I KNEW I had seen that face with the President. I had no idea when, or where.

When I take photographs on assignment for TIME covering the White House, which I do every third month (nobody could do it more), the pictures first go to the magazine. They have first-time rights on the photos. Once they have gone through the take, and pulled a few selects for the TIME-LIFE picture collection, the take goes to my agent, GAMMA-LIAISON. They then comb the take a second time, and pull their selects. Eventually, the take comes back to me, and resides in my light-room until I sort through it again, then send everything to the University of Texas, which is where my archives reside. Because I am busy, I only get around to sending the pictures to Texas about every 18 months.

When the Lewinsky story broke, all these organizations started to go through their files, and found nothing.

I hired a researcher, and she started to go through the piles of slides in the light room. After four days, and more than 5,000 slides, she found ONE image, from a fund-raising event in 1996.”

What’s this have to do with today?  Today the news broke that John Edwards confirmed an affair with a woman hired to work on his campaign. The media was scrambling to find pictures of them together.  Guess where they found one?  Scoble. Yes, Robert Scoble, the Scobleizer. The ubiquitous tech blogger.  While working at Podtech he was one of many bloggers invited to travel with the Edwards campaign early on and among the many pictures he took was this one:

Rielle Hunter and Senator Edwards on his Campaign plane in 2006. Photo by Robert Scoble.
Rielle Hunter and Senator Edwards on his Campaign plane in 2006. Photo by Robert Scoble.

Scoble has a great post on this up now.  The lesson. Remember.  Think of that shutter in your mind that Halstead mentioned.  And when you meet someone, or news breaks, go back in the archive in your brain and see how you’re connected.


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