This is a post I have waited a long time to make. Maybe it’s because it involves reliving all the speed bumps and set backs affiliated with this project, or maybe because I knew that making this post about it would be the final step and bring it to a close.
Either way, let me tell you the story of the (insert expletive here) boxes.
When I graduated college around this time a year ago, I was just finishing up my co-op placement in Toronto and was going to be heading home to Newfoundland for the summer. I left Ontario so excited for the future with plans laid down to move back to Toronto to pursue my dreams full fledged in the fall.
While home I began brainstorming ways to get in touch with photographers and studios in Toronto to get work in my field. I knew I had to do something completely off the wall and push myself creatively. After endless hours of research, I kept coming back to this incredibly inspiring idea by Clint Davis. I loved the idea of a box, a package, a present. So I ran with it.
One of the biggest driving factors in my work is the simple act of embracing a feeling. Embracing the heartache, the happiness, the perseverance and the things that make you, you. I could think of no better way to demonstrate who I was as a person to perspective employers than to hang myself upside down in a my shed by my ankles.
A few months ago, I posted this behind the scenes video:
This shoot was quite possibly one of the more hysterically funny shoots of my life. With the aid of my parents hoisting me upside down, I frantically tried to pose while the self timer clicked away. Just as a side note, when blood starts rushing to your head, everything is hilarious.
The resulting image was the beginning of what was about to be a much more involved process than I ever imagined.
The premise of my idea was simple: I was here to help and wasn’t afraid of doing some crazy things.
I was going to create a set of boxes that opened portrait style with the above photo on the inside. The front of the box was going to say “You Will Do Anything For The Shot” and the inside would read “Let Me Help You”. The box would contain a handful of things like a mini portfolio of my work and a resume.
Pretty simple stuff.
I had no idea the challenge it would be to create the most basic foundation of this idea. The (insert expletive here) boxes.
I looked up all kinds of shipping websites and postal services and box-making-businesses and it was seemingly impossible to find a manufacturer who made a box that opened in a portrait rather than landscape style to the dimensions I required. It took me a while to accept the fact that I would have to custom make these boxes myself. Designing the template for the boxes was tedious as it had to accomodate 5×7 images, as well as an 8.5×11 resume, and the inside panel with the image attached to it.
The boxes then had to be spray painted black with three coats on the inside and outside to give it a polished look. From there, the outside of the boxes had to be painted with the words You Will Do Anything For The Shot. I anticipated being able to make a stencil with a Cuttlebug, however the dimensions of the box did not match up with what was available for the machine we had. Which meant the lettering also had to be manually cut out. The letters were too close together to be able to simply paint over the stencil, so each letter had to be traced and painted in by hand. The mini portfolios were mounted to provide stability and a quarter inch border. The final touch was a small bottle of hand sanitizer with the quote The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty on it.
You know when you have an idea that you know is going to take for-freaking-ever but you don’t care because you’re so excited about it, it’s worth it? That is most certainly what was in the case with my resume. I decided to do a photoshop-style resume with every panel and tool in photoshop representing an element of my qualifications.
It went through a few drafts..
Due to time restraints and problems with printing, I was unable to use it in the boxes. But good gracious, what a learning experience.
Every element affiliated with this idea had it’s own set of hurdles, but at the end of the day after all the sweat, blood and tears alike shed over these little cardboard messengers, I am still proud I saw them to the end.
The boxes may be one of the more bittersweet projects I decided to do. 8 months after the beginning of taking on this idea, they were sent, and I moved to Toronto. I’m still trying every day to figure out where all these things in my life are leading. Sometimes it feels like I’m stalled out on the side of the road, but then there are mornings like today, where I can’t sleep in even if I wanted to because there are so many wonderful things in the world to pursue, to dream of and to work towards.
*** I would like to note that I would never have gotten anywhere near the end of this project without the infallible support and help from my amazing, amazing parents.