After a most promising and invigorating Skype conversation with the director of the photography agency I will be prospectively working for, I was eager to meet the highly-recommended man on the ground. The owners of this company, a Scottish woman and her French husband, operate from London. Another young French man, the same age as me, is responsible for running the company on the ground here in Mexico.
He called me Sunday, “We’ve made a reservation for lunch at a stunning beach,” French Photog informed me. “Would you like to join us? Can you meet me at 1:30?” More of a rhetorical question… who could turn down an offer like that?
When we arrived at Al Cielo, a relaxing complex of palm-thatched roofs, two other photographers – husband and wife – were there, excited about purchasing some new plant arrangements that someone had left for sale. The plants, which included the exquisite orchid and bromelia, were artfully mounted upon driftwood. “They produce their own nutrients,” the husband said. “They don’t need any soil or water.”
The husband is a fellow Gringo from Atlanta, GA. He has managed to build up quite the reputation, and now, couples from around the world seek out him and his wife to book them for their wedding. He is responsible for introducing “underwater photography” into the wedding photography package. I call him Wonder Boy. His wife, a striking Mexican woman from Guadalajara, is the Photog Beauty…
We sat at our white-clothed table, claiming the table with the best view of the sea that stretched along the small, protected cove before us. We ordered starters of sashimi, swordfish carpaccio and a decadent salad along with Chardonay as we began to chat and learn more about each other. The pure zest for life these three possess was most refreshing to drink in. They were all young and notably successful; yet still down-to-earth, appreciative and excited about the rich, sweet cherries life seemed to be hand-feeding each of them. That along with a passion for photography was our common ground and as we progressed on to our entrees (I shared the freshly caught fish of the day smothered in sea salt with French Photog) we swapped stories, dreams and ideas in a pure, bubbly excitement. We finished lunch on a most sweet note with espresso and a complimentary crème brule and coconut cream dessert. The photog couple was good friends with the restaurant’s owner.
After lunch, the sea beckoned us. Equipped with masks, snorkels and fins we dunked below the waves to observe what might lie below. Web-like plants gracefully swayed among massive brain-shaped coral. I watched an entire school of fish as it hovered in a protectiveoverhang of the reef, the fish rocking with the underwater rhythm of the ocean like one body, one unit. Further and further our fins propelled us, until we reached the rock outcropping of one side of the cove. On the way back, I lagged behind the others as two tropical fish wound around the reef before me, sucking up bits of algae. In length, they stretched from the tips of my fingers to my elbow and almost equal to that in height, yet they were both pencil thin. Their cool purple scales were accentuated with splashes of yellow and black.
When I reached shore, Wonder Boy had taken out his fancy toy – a high-end, globed encasement that transformed a pro camera into an underwater eye. The three of them were taking turns diving into the waves before the camera.
Finally, evening began to set and it was time to part ways. I left feeling absolutely enriched from my magical afternoon. French Photog had left quite an impression, introducing me to a local Playa del Carmen gem and treating me to a most unforgettable seaside experience shared with enchanting and inspiring company. I could see that French Photog possessed a beautiful spirit… he was absolutely reveling in the wonderful afternoon we were all spending together. It was fun to be around people who find life as magical as I do!
As far as work, we were both eager to explore how I might fit with the photog agency. Because of the low-season, the agency can’t offer me full-time work right now but that actually works out quite well. I had been exploring options with Traveo in Cancun and they had made me an offer: two months of work, photographing the activities and services the company provides, in exchange for dreamlike beachfront housing, food, transportation and substantial fun money. So it was agreed. I would take the two-month stint with Traveo, but find days to escape to Playa and begin training with the photog agency there. Then, in two months, I could be ready to go for the high-season and, perhaps, the new studio in another hotel that they were planning to open up. Life really seems to be pulling out all the stops… and for that I’m utterly grateful. Thank you from the depths of my heart and soul!!
View the Flickr album by clicking here.