CRUISE – Community wins

16 May

As I read through the blogs of these past two weeks I cannot avoid noticing a certain negativity attached to them. The life of a cruise photographer is filled with trouble and strive, and most of my colleagues seem to stay in it only for the money. But cruise life is not the ghastly black-and-white picture that you may see painted in my writings. Otherwise I would have left some time ago. So today, instead of disputing additional perils, I shall focus on one of the things that keep me here: the cruise photo community.

Old and new industry at Dublin, Ireland

Cruises offer a variety of positive angles, one being the beautiful view.

Most cruise passengers are repeating costumers. A cruise can be an exciting adventure or a relaxing form of luxury travel. Either way you get to explore a big boat with thousands of passengers, and you visit a new town every other day, without the troubles of packing, checking in, or confining yourself to a smelly car seat for five hours. The cruise is a great way to travel, and I access this fine experience for free! That already is a marvellous point to get a job aboard.

Today we are anchored in Southampton, England. And although this is my second visit to this town (and I was not impressed the first time around), I still have a nice long walk around town. Four other members of our department are shooting passenger portraits on the gangway this morning, so I feel obliged to enjoy the spare time that they don’t have. One day we will be in a port where I shoot Gangway, and they have the time off; I would be disappointed if they spent that time asleep.

In a way, these are the challenges that bind us together as a team. No matter why we chose this job, or what our communication problems may be, we all are plagued by the same crappy manager, work with the same photo-shy passengers and outdated equipment. I know; those are terrible reasons to form a team. People should be bound together by their common interests, not by common enemies. But what worked for the Avengers also seems to project well into the realm of cruise photography. It is due to our common challenges that the members of the photo department cooperate, teach each other, and slowly seem to form a semi-coherent team. We all have to work hard for it, and we never get credited for our efforts, except by each other. But every day we collaborate a bit better, and we generally excel at our duty. We need one another, and our common efforts make this department a place that the passengers fondly remember.

Cruise Photography during embarkation

Cruise Photography is a rough job, but in a way those many challenges bind us together.

As a team we overcome various cruise challenges such as unwilling passengers, hostile managers, and stressful schedules. We all work towards a common goal: creating photographic memories, mostly for passengers that don’t even know yet that they want those memories. Only together we succeed. As team members we feel that our efforts are valued, and our labour is worth more than just a flimsy paycheque. As in life, so in work – community wins.

PS.: I updated the Southampton photo gallery with some fresh images of British architecture from between the great wars. Click here to view.

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