Matthew Vasilescu had the graveyard slot. He was last on a long list of photographers given a 5 minute slot to shoot Harrison Ford. The actor was visibly tired after a long day of ‘pressing the flesh.’ Matt had a small window to get in – get a shot – and get out. The previous interviewers and photographers were clearly awed by Harrison’s star power, and treated him accordingly.
But Matt doesn’t play that game. Matt turned up as a person, not a photographer. Instead of whipping out his camera and shooting like a triple espresso-infused paparazzi maniac he starting a conversation. He spent over half his allocated time finding out a bit more about the man behind the star. He asked about his family, how his was finding Sydney, how his day had been. He made a connection from one human being to another.
He took a few shots and was done. He thanked Harrison for his time and said he’d got some good shots and made to leave. But Harrison stopped him. He asked if he could see the shots. He was impressed. He said “you’ve taken the least number of shots of any photographer here today, yet you’ve captured the best images.” He asked Matt to send him the images, because he had captured a really good likeness.
So what happened and what can we learn from it?
My take on Matt’s story is simple – be yourself and others will open up and be themselves too. Drop the professional façade and show people who you really are, and magic happens. What Matt did (and does on a daily basis in his photography business) was to turn up and treat Harrison Ford as a person. Not a living legend of the silver screen – but another human being. He spent time to connect and to look him in the eye as an equal. And Harrison responded by giving him an authentic, honest and relaxed shot – one that Harrison actually wanted to keep for himself.
And you can see the resulting shot on Matt’s website.
It’s a great reminder to us all – to be ourselves in our own businesses. To show up as a person, not a suit. And to treat the people we work with in the same way. Just remember that the next time you bump into Harrison Ford.