Well, I have had a couple of days now for my new reality to sink in.
I think that there must be stages because I certainly feel like I have had 2 already. The first stage was elation. I am retired.
The second stage seemed to be sadness and nostalgia. I am retired. I am no longer a graphic designer. I had a wonderful career. And now it is over. There is a certain sadness to that. I worked very hard at my career. I went back to school at one point and received my certificate in graphic design. When I first started my career in publishing it was as a photo researcher. In those days, photo research was very different than it is now. There were many independent photographers and photography companies. You had to contact each one individually with your specs. If you needed an interesting shot of a tiger you contacted Animals, Animals. There was Image Bank, Stock Market, Norbert Wu, and so many others. If you needed something really specific you contacted some of the more well known Athenaeums.
Now, everything seems to be owned by Corbis.
In those days there were no electronic images. You had to fax your specs in to the photographers and they would send you slides. Sometimes hundreds of slides. When you received the slides, the first thing you had to do was log them in. That consisted of photocopying both the front and back of each and every slide. They were usually in slide sleeves so that you could do multiples at once. But still it was intense. Sometimes you spent all day photocopying the slides. Then you put them in folders and drawers, labeled with the book, chapter and designer. The designers would come and take the slides and choose which ones they wanted. When they brought them back they were no longer in the same place they were when you gave them to them.
When they finally chose the slide or slides they wanted, and it was time to send the rejects back, you had to first put everything back where they were when you originally got them. It was like giant jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes when a project was over there were literally thousands of slides to organize. You had to make sure there were no lost slides. Each slide had a value of $1500. So you didn’t want anything to be lost.
Now, all the photo researcher has to do is go online to a place like Corbis, pick out a few lo-res images, and show them to the designer. The designer picks one, the researcher orders it and a few minutes later the hi res is downloaded. No photocopying, no lost slides. So much easier.
I will miss my career but I will embrace my new life.