This month our featured photographer is Arnie Zann, a Libra born on September 25th! As with many Libras, Arnie is naturally charming, a great communicator, and a class act with a resume to match! He started out his 45-plus year career shooting for LIFE and Time, and since then Arnie has traveled the globe creating stunning images for numerous corporate libraries, private museum collections, galleries, major magazines, and more… I first met Arnie and his wife Margo Pinkerton a while back in 2007 when I went down to North Carolina and participated on a panel for their local ASMP Chapter. Margo and I then combined forces and presented a program together at the Miami Ad School later that same year.
Between the two of them, they have nearly eight decades of combined experience, but they did not come together until later in their lives, having both had prior marriages and children. I, for one, am so happy that they did find one another and combine forces because they fit together so well. Zann and Pinkerton Photography became early Chatterbox clients and we worked together on editing and creating a new website. But with these two, it always felt more like a friendship than simply business or work associates, [and since that time, a lot has changed!]
For many photographers and the industry as a whole, business was hit hard when the recession hit in 2009. Many of us had to reinvent how we made our living because either our income changed completely, was de-valued in some way, or disappeared altogether. So by the time I featured both Arnie & Margo in my newsletter in June 2010 [when I was showcasing photographers who work in pairs or husband & wife duos], they were already heading in a new direction because they could no longer depend on their corporate clients and licensing their images as stock. For them, a lot of the fun had gone out of the business, because clients were adopting an “It’s good enough” attitude and no longer demanding perfection because of shrinking budgets and other restrictions.
Remember I said that Libras are great communicators; in fact all Air signs need to communicate and make great teachers, so this new direction they chose was perfect for this duo. With Arnie being a Libra and Margo an Aquarius, they are both Air signs; therefore they value the same things and share an innate ability to communicate. And not only are they interested in intellectual and artistic pursuits, as Air signs they also need their space and freedom. Combine their experience, their love and passion for photography, teaching and the need to travel, they did what made the most sense and expanded Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures, a business that started out in the early 80s as adventure trips featuring photography. Arnie and Margo had both been teaching and speaking at seminars for years, and yes, Margo is the Barefoot Contessa, so I guess that makes Arnie the Barefoot Count?
And one of the reasons for the success of this current venture is because they love what they do and are truly doing what they love! It has now grown into their full-time occupation, and they have a blast. Students who travel with Arnie and Margo will be guaranteed excellent sharing of their expertise and knowledge, fantastic locations, a lot of laughs and good food and wine! Libra is after all the natural host of the party, able to exhibit “grace under pressure”, while the Aquarius is the most social sign of the zodiac! These two are charming people who can make anyone feel comfortable – and that’s what Arnie certainly does, he makes you feel welcome.
When I was emailing them for images, I asked, “When do you leave town on your next trip?” and they responded with, “Leave town? We’ve been on the road since late July and will not return home until early-mid October! We are in Colorado for a week visiting one of Margo’s daughters. After that, we will be on the road, heading back to New England for New England Fall Foliage, stopping with Arnie’s kids near Chicago en route, then home via DC where Margo’s elder daughter works for the White House.” And that pretty much sums up their life! So be sure to visit both the website and blog. Louisa J. Curtis