Graduation. May and June are filled with ceremonies and celebrations marking this milestone. Whether you have it all mapped out; moving on to college, post graduate degree, travel or have a job lined up, or- like most, face What Now? – Congratulations! You did it! How awesome for you!
Enjoy, revel, and read on.
Recently I spent an evening with longtime friend Nadira Husain of Manhattan Partners Media and her beautiful family. We met up at Prince Street Project Space, the site of Adrian Buckmaster‘s exhibition LEWD in downtown New York City. The evening continued at a nearby restaurant to celebrate her work with Adrian, her daughter Tara’s graduation earlier that week from Pratt (now a fellow alumni!) and Nadira’s birthday.
Not atypically, the conversation at the table was about Tara’s plans now that she has graduated. What now? How do you take what you have learned and apply that into a job or career that may not be what you had planned or expected, but none the less, your unique path?
how to be Here, get There.
Nadira’s story of her work as an agent and representative to several photographers with beautiful books to her credit, including An Embarrassment of Riches:Photographs by Adrian Buckmaster is a lovely example of doing that just.
I asked Nadira how she met Adrian and found herself in the line of work she is so passionate about. Here is her response.
After I graduated from Rutgers (University) I faced the famous question, “Now what?” I was offered a job at a mens’ clothing manufacturing company, so I took it. But I wasn’t happy there – it was too boring. One day I was at The Tunnel watching a performance by Cissy Houston when I saw a very cool and sexy photographer. I approached him and asked who he was shooting for, he said, “Vanity Fair.” (Magazine)
For the next few months we kept running into each other backstage at various concerts. He was a professional rock ‘n’ roll photographer and I was trying to get my foot in the door. One night while at an Eric Clapton show he asked, “What are you up to these days?” I said, “Nothing and everything.” He said, “My agency is looking for a part-time file clerk.” Without missing a beat I said, “I’ll take it.” It took several weeks before I was called in for for my interview, and then, a few days thereafter I started with Retna, Ltd., the premiere stock agency at the time for music photography. It was world renowned for its vast collection of images of various genres of music.
I began as a part-time file clerk. Two months after I began, the in-house photographer’s agent went on holiday for two weeks. While she was gone her responsibilities shifted to me. During this time I booked 12 jobs for the photographers. The Friday before she returned my boss asked if I wanted to work full-time, and be a photo agent. Two months later my counter-part left.
How did you meet Adrian?
Eventually I began repping, and developing relationships with photographers, or their agents. Adrian Buckmaster fell into the latter category. It was through his agent that I got to know him, but just a bit. Our real relationship began in 2005, when after my kids began to emerge as little people the age old question “What now?” began orbiting around me once again. In due course I reached out to him.
What is your relationship with him now?
Since 2005 I have looked after him. My role is that of an agent-manager. From vetting to negotiating to seeking out opportunities I work alongside him. Any artist-agent-manager relationship is like a marriage. Adrian and I have been wafting in and out of each other’s lives for a bit shy of 30 years. We have had our moments, however those have been far and few. The larger part of our relationship is built on respect, regard, open and direct communication. And implicit and absolute trust.
I often think about the ways we move through life, not in a linear fashion but in such a way that looking back are a series of points that guide us to the next-
if we pay attention- and trust. Being bold, curious, and proactive always helps. After all it was on a train platform in Metuchen, NJ many years ago that Nadira and I first met when we were both in visiting our parents; she from Canada and I, from Hawaii!