Cruise life dispelled

7 Jun

It’s another sea day; with yet another coming up tomorrow. Oh, jolly me!

I am supposed to pick up the printed photos from the laboratory at 8:50 A.M., together with Lolek and Bolek, our comical Macedonian photographers. There is little surprise among the team when I appear in the Photo Gallery a quarter past nine, without photo prints or any sign of our Macedonian layabouts. A short while later Lolek and Bolek actually appear, along with the merchandise, and our department starts its delayed business of praising and selling passenger photos.

Photo Gallery aboard the ABC RypMeOff

The Photo Gallery is normally full of passenger portraits, and a few passengers trying to take pictures of them.

The immanent lack of any professional attitude among half of our team members never ceases to fascinate me, and I am not surprised that it caught over to our photo trainer Vito. Not only is Vito void of professional advice today, he also lets us wait for half an hour in front of the photo lab before telling us that he cancelled today’s training session.

Well, we do meet Vito once more during our fruitless midnight meeting, where he has some crucial final advice for us: “remember, you are all good. More or less.” Well, thank you, infamous trainer who uses photos from other photographers without acknowledging them. Your officer-salary is well earned, since you seem to put in as little effort as the white-shirts with the colourful shoulder pads. (There are at least three officers aboard who have literally only one job – walking the hallways, and answering questions from passengers. I shit you not!)

I do feel more knowledgeable about photography than I did before Vito’s training, so he certainly sparked some improvement in my art. But I think I could have increased my proficiency at this job, had I been able to shoot this past week, or if Vito had put in more of an effort to approach every photographer individually.

That the opinions of our managers differ markedly from Vito’s ideals is not helping either. Not a day goes by without them telling me to walk around the Photo Gallery, pick up folders of pictures, and study the poses and cropping of the more experienced team members. That would be alright, but I cannot pick up a single folder without one of the managers hawking over my shoulder, and expressing his disagreement with the photos that I currently look at. Those unhelpful approaches are usually followed by an unsubtle hint that I should focus on the gallery, help the passengers, and prevent them from steeling pictures.

Goemon5 aboard the ABC RypMeOff

This is the kind of portrait we are not allowed to shoot. It differs too much from the norm.

When am I supposed to learn anything on this job? I rarely get to shoot, so I rarely get to practice what the manager preaches. And when I do shoot, I am usually assigned to a lone spot somewhere in a corner, so that no other photographer can possibly look at my work before the day is done.

And so I walk and talk, and stand around all day in a relatively uncreative environment, with repetitive music, grumpy hotel guests, unprofessional coworkers, and little to look forward to beyond French fries, and a warm bed. Living the life, eh?

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