CRUISESHIP MEMOS -1
Text and Photos : Christian Fournier

These reports have been written while working as a photographer on cruiseships. This is part 1(of 2 parts altogether). View part 2

1100 PASSENGER GROUP SHOT

JULY 29 1989
From: R. C. Fournier
TO: Cruiseship Picture Co. Ltd.

This week the ship was chartered for a Christian cruise.
So I studied the possibility of making a giant group shot. With my wide angle 6"x9" camera, I climbed the ship funnel and made test shots, using the assistant's face, Nick Llewellin, to find out if 1100 pax could fit around the pool and if all faces would be recognizable . I concluded that it worked very well, specially if the 6"x9" neg was printed in two halves : two 10"x8" prints, which we can do with our Durst 801, therefore creating a 10''x16'' picture.
I arranged it with Mr. Templeton, the one in charge of the charter and cleared it with the captain, cruise director and safety officer. I got the event to appear printed in the daily program for the next day at sea.
That day I made P.A. Announcements, had the roof opened and had the captain turned the ship so the sun would be behind me. I got every one in the right place, using my own megaphone, from the funnel !. I shot 3 rolls of 120 film: one panatomic X for maximum sharpness, one on our Agfa C41 and one on Kodachrome 25.
When I was almost done shooting, the video guy from the charter (Auvid Prod. Int.) decided to join me up there. Assistant Jamie Harrisson and myself helped him and his gear, which was hard work since the guy doesn't have my climbing expertise. We did not know his commercial possibilities, then. He videoed 'my' scene; pax started singing in an impressive 1100 voice choir and it was all a happy event.
Next day in Ketchican, I bought the right kind of paper and glue and we all worked overnight to put together this perfect 10 x 16" 1100 pax group photo. Every single face was clearly seen and recognizable !. We made 500 copies.
Everyone was impressed. I got compliments from all big wigs.
Unfortunately, we got unfair competition from the video company who offered a superb 60 minute tape containing all the events of the cruise, including my impressive group shot. He sold 700 tapes, I sold 300 photos.
This shows the impact of video: a new and better market.

CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer

ANSWERS FROM YOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS


1:Yes, we photograph you many times: cocktail parties, on deck, going ashore, etc.,....(for special request, please contact us). We have a friendly system: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY THE PHOTOGRAPHS.
2:We display the photos in the photo gallery, situated between the Gift Shop and the Pacific Lounge.
3:If you want to order a photograph, please fill in the order form at the gallery and drop it in the appropriate box.
4:Your print will be available at the reception desk before the end of the cruise. For payment: they take cash, travellers 'checks, Smart Cards, Visa, jewellery, cameras and videos.
5:The photos are $9.00 (U.S.) each. This means $18 for two, $27 for three, $36 for four, etc.,...
6:We do not barter. In order to avoid a potentially embarrassing predicament, please do not attempt to do so.
7:Discount for a hundred pictures or more: $8.99 each.
8:Our names are: Christian (the old guy) and Derek (the older guy).
9:Yes, we are single.
10: No, we are not gay.
11: No, we do not send our work to be processed. We have a converted cupboard, without plumbing, for a darkroom.
12: Yes, we are qualified color technicians.
13:No, we are not qualified camera mechanics.
14:Sorry, we'll do better next time.
15:No, we do not spend all our time at the bar.
16:There are no tax or custom limitations on the photographs because they are "local craft, made on board".
17:Keep smiling.
18:At the end of the cruise, the unsold photographs are recycled to make trees.
19:We can also develop and print your own film.
20:We wish you a pleasant cruise.


NO CROPPING

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO LTD.
FROM: C. FOURNIER, Chief photographer
Date: January 13 1990Further to a debate with Paul Smith last Saturday, I want to confirm my statements: a 35mm neg enlarged onto 5x7" paper minus 1/2 inch logo fits perfectly: there is no cropping, no loss of picture area, as you can see from the enclosed neg (#1), the enlargement (#2) of this full neg for easier viewing and our standard 5x7" print (#3).
Mathematical proof: ratio is: 4.5 inch* = 0.65 = 24 mm (to 1%)
7 inch 36 mm
* The 4.5 inch comes from: 5 inch - 1/2 inch logo
There is no problem with Durst 801 printers: it is all preset for this, with the appropriate lens, of course.
The Durst 502 have to be set up properly. I remember setting up 502 printers on S/S Skyward, Starward and Southward 6 years ago as I was introducing portraits, so we had to change printers. I remember sending to Durst and to Mr. Dawson my drawings for a very simple new design of the paper mask and logo, so that the logo fits perfectly under the enlarged 35mm neg, onto a 5x7" paper, with no loss of image area. I remember receiving a letter of acknowledgement and thanks from Durst and Frank Tigwell told me that we would have all new 502s to these specs from now onwards. I am positive : when I, later, left Miami for New York to set up the Bermuda Star to portraits, the Southward, Skyward and Starward were making full frame prints on 5x7" with logo: no cropping.
I am deeply sadden to hear from Paul Smith, that on many ships, the photographers have to shoot further away, because the picture gets cropped afterwards during printing. What happened?
I know that some #1 set up their 502 deliberately to crop the negs, because most untrained photogs shoot to far away (shyness/not used to 35mm lens) This is poor practice. What about the other photogs?Does every one then adjust to bad shooting? Or does every one shoots badly? It is also inaccurate: how much cropping? This is vital on tight dining room shots: will the passengers on the sides be cut off from the photo? It is also a problem, when a trained photographer to this system, gets to a ship equipped with an 801. All is pictures are too far away and look amateurish compared to ours.
If a were a supervisor for you, I would straighten this out.


CANDID PHOTOS


TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO LTD.
FROM: C. FOURNIER, Chief photographer
Date: July 22 1988Our passengers here in Alaska, are hard to photograph, but they buy the photos once they see them on the wall.
I am experimenting with decent candid shots, as we cruise Tracy Arm fjord.
I am using my own Nikon 300mm autofocus and hunt for smiling people.
The photos look good (see samples). Passengers seem to like candids. It make a different photo than all the usual others, that we do, or that our competitors do.
It is an added 10 rolls to our Tracy Arm shooting.
The drawback is: people do not know that their photograph has been taken, so they do not specifically look on the wall for them. They can only see the photos by chance, or if friends tell them. I will make a sign at the gallery saying that candid photos are also taken and I will mention it during my staff introduction speech.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer

5 STAR DILEMMA


AUG. 10th 1989, 1.30 PMTO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: C. FOURNIER, Chief photographer. Captain and chief purser heavily insisted that we photographed the 5 star quality award presentation (400 photos) at 4pm on Thursday night, last night of Alaska cruise.
The photo gallery is always very busy on last nights, these days, non stop from 4pm to 11 pm ($8000 take). Tree photogs are not enough, because of the video orders (no choice: pax wait until last photos to choose and place their order with their 4 favourite ones). We have to explain the whole thing slowly to our old guests. We also have all the reprints and D&P ready for collection (again, no choice: people give us their own films at the end of the cruise.) Also our 2nd session of portraits is displayed at 4 PM Thursday, so most pax buy their portraits then, for they waited to see the new ones before deciding. Also most pax want to be served immediately, since it is the last day and they are afraid to miss; and they want to pack.
I got up at 5 am. The drive belt broke. I repaired, but dinner and D&P photos might be late, which means more questions and hesitations at the gallery.
All other crew members have to attend the presentation, so I cannot find help from pursers for the gallery or for video editing (60 tapes to do ! )
We will loose a lot of money and the service to our guests will be very poor, which is opposite to the 5 star aim !.
I just get another call from chief purser: captain wants 2 photogs to shoot the giving of the certificates. I phone captain, explain how busy we are, manage to reduce to one photog.
I know that 2 presidents are on board this week and our fate (Admiral V.S. Royal Caribbean = us VS John Davies) is at stake, so I have to make the only possible decision: satisfy the cruise line, loose money and get many pax annoyed (comment cards !!!).
Crew members received a certificate of attendance to the 5 star quality lectures. Is a picture of each crew receiving this certificate, which already proves attendance, any use???. In fact, it wipes out the aim of the whole lecture, which is to provide good service to our guests, which the photo gallery will be unable to supply this week.

CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer

A #4 PHOTOGRAPHER


From: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer
To: Mr. R.C.. Dawson, Cruiseship Pictures.I am very happy and proud that RCCL is keeping us on board the Stardancer/Viking Serenade. We had to face strong competition.
To keep it and possibly expand in RCCL, I suggest we employ a #4 photographer on Stardancer.
We could thus offer better service, more service and will not depend on pursers and cleaners for some of our tasks! (for instance, this week the pursers could not do the gallery on formal night because they were busy with RCCL, so we had a problem.)
So far, the only problem to get a #4 was berth space.
Well, I have a happy solution: my fiancee, Nicole, wants to take a sabbatical semester off from her scientific researches and be a photographer. She has been on board for 4 separate weeks as my guest and has helped a great deal at the gallery and in the darkroom. She fully understands our operation and is already trained for it. She is 29, French, bilingual, post doctorate in physics, keen photographer.
Most of our male passengers would smile more easily to Nicole than Robert, so we would have an extra asset.
Paul Smith and Allan Lake have said in the past that we needed 4 photogs, like all other 1200 pax ships. The Fair Princess has 700 pax, no videos, 4 photogs (including 2 girls)
We are already paying per week $85 for gallery help, $20 for camera reloading, $60 for key chain help and $60 for video help in Alaska, so a #4 photographer would not cost much.
We could open the gallery longer, have 3 portrait sessions, better coverage of events, faster services and smile more; in short :
MORE REVENUE, BETTER COMMENT CARDS, TO PLEASE RCCL.
So we have all to gain, nothing to lose, by employing this charming lady.
You are welcome to contact her direct, while she is in France for her Xmas vacation, so she could get her C1/D visas in Paris US consulate.

ABUSE


From : C. Fournier, chief photographer
To: Cruiseship picture Co. Ltd.
September 23rd, 1989
Since it is now official that RCCL is going to run this ship the same as the "Future Seas" (i.e.: we go !), it seems to me that the hatitude from this management towards us has changed. We are now being used and abused, without any concern for our service to passengers and our revenues.
Some examples:
* 42 pax got stranded in Juneau and spent the night in a lodge and rejoined the ship in Skagway. Since it was a tour fault, Admiral gave them a free party with champagne. I decided to photograph the party, of my own accord. We made a group shot with the captain in it. The following day, 42 pax asked for their free photos at the gallery. The captain had not bothered to tell me that those photos would be complementary !
* I got a phone call, the last day of the cruise, to photograph immediately the navigation officers at the bridge. We were very busy with our normal work and worried we could not have all our photos on time for the last sale. But I did it (and well as usual!). The 10x8 photos are a present from the "generous" captain to his navigation team !
I know that this kind of treatment of our photo business from ship management is, unfortunately, very common on most ships (I have worked on many, for the last 9 years!). But when I started our photo business on the Stardancer two years ago, I managed, thanks to my very much more mature and experience approach, to establish a climate of respect between me and the ship's management. Is there any major reasons why this could not be the same on all ships? You are paying a huge revenue to the cruise line, and services are owed to us, by contract. So why can't we run the business in a respectable way? Shouldn't you put your foot down, for once, and straighten it all out, in a polite but firm way. You would make more money, photographers would have much more respect for their jobs and achieve better standards.
If you are interested, I offer my services to you, when I am a supervisor, to attempt such an important change in our policy: straight business, no more begging & crawling. I am convinced that it can be done politely, respectably, without hurting any one's feeling, or loosing any concessions. Would you like to try me? I managed here for two years. But now they now that we are leaving, they'll squeeze as much as possible from us.

ANOTHER IMPROVEMENT

From : C. Fournier, chief photographer
To: Cruiseship picture Co. Ltd.
I have bought electrician reusable clips and glued them on the ceiling, so that our power cables no longer cross the floor of the studio area. I, of course got the authorization from the hotel manager first. I explained how dangerous it was to have cables on the floor , at heavy traffic places; passengers would sue if any accident happened. So the studio is now all safe and clean, for $10 worth of clips, 10 minutes of glueing, a bit of looking around in the hardware shops and some will to improve things. Ain't I dedicated? Do other #1 photogs care as much as I do?

JUST A FRIENDLY COMMENT !
TRYING TO HELP, AS USUAL !

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer
DATE: June 30th, 1989
We received from you a lot of memos stating that from such date onward it would be considered a breach of contract if the photographer does such and such thing.
I do understand the idea behind the memo and I am usually all for it (receipts not given, vacation date in writing, etc ...). But to anyone who has notions of how legal matters work, it is offensive !
A photographer signs a contract with you in UK, he gets here and receive a memo stating that a clause has been added to the contract after he signed it.
This is a totally illegal procedure. A contract signed by both parties states that the rules that cannot be changed afterwards.
This makes our company look very amateurish and should be avoided !
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer

I NOW HAVE A COMPUTER

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO LTD. :
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer
DATE: July 14th 1989 I now have a computer (Macintosh Plus) with a thorough and accurate program to do the weekly paperwork. All I do is punch in the new data at the end of the week and all calculations are accomplished and printed accurately.
I cannot unfortunately duplicate your forms exactly. I hope this will not inconvenience you.
I hope that typed data will make my paperwork more readable and more accurate.
I can now use the valuable saved time for what I do best : shoot and make us more money.!.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER,

IF I WERE A SUPERVISOR



TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD. Attention: MR. DAWSON
FROM: C. FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
MARCH 07 1990. If I were a supervisor for you, I would be very useful, not just a theory lecturer. I would help your photographers, practically and physically, instead of just blaming them for all bad revenue or quality. I would consider it my job to show them how to do intelligent color tests (most of them still do not use a logic approach). I would show them how to repair their machinery (some have never been show any simple repairs). I would book outside help from experts, too, which is not easy when you are sailing. I would do, in head offices, what they can not do on board, since they are slaves to the ship's management (negotiate announcements, display spaces, shooting possibilities, storage spaces, etc...) I would also care to bring them their repairs, sort out the delays of stores, the dry dock procedures. I would teach them the best ways to shoot some events, I would help them with their schedules and strategies. I would be "bothered to answer the ship's designers about key chain panels". I would inquire around for revenue changes in other departments.
I would offer real help, in other words, someone has to.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer


REPORT ON KEY CHAIN PRODUCTION AND SALES

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer
DATE: March 11th, 1989
Report after two weeks of production and sale:
We shot embarkation on Saturdays and displayed it on Sundays as usual.
I made a special neg. carrier covering the key chain format and made the smallest possible prints with our 801 and lenses. As the transport is only 3", we use very little paper and printing and processing are very fast. The keychains look good!
All 3 of us used our gallery time, Sunday, to dismantle the old and package the new key chains. Doing this during a quiet sale makes it no extra time at all.
I had, thanks to housekeeping department, 2 extra panels mounted in the gallery with a sign "key chains $500 each" and a light on them. We can display 14 rolls of embarkation. We put them up on Monday so they are viewed all week long. We close the panels at night so there is no extra handling.
They sell very well: $600 each week.
They do not "hurt" our regular embarkation sale because they are displayed the following day after the embarkation photos!
If I had the correct lens (21/4 square -> 31/2 x5) on the 801 processor, I would use it with our portraits: we would sell a lot more.
Can you send me the appropriate lens ASAP.Christian Fournier, chief photographer

It is the lack of communication between the engineers and decision makers that destroyed the space shuttle ...

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer
DATE: March 11th, 1989I am at the bottom of the hierarchy ladder but I am in the front of our customers, Admiral and RCCL. Even though you do not read my helpful memos, I keep on writing them, perhaps just for references.
At this crucial moment, when RCCL is looking at us closely and our concession is at hand (end?), you are not supporting me at all:
-I have been asking for receipt pads for the last three months.
-If I had not pushed at Admiral, we would have had one week without film or paper.
-You sent me an untrained, inexperienced new photographer so we had poor photos. (should you trained them a little before sending them in full view, on "important" ships?)
-A "returned to head office" tape only got to me 5 weeks later (see my memo!): Admiral's customer service dept. is not impressed!
-It took Alan Lake 5 weeks to return our Hasselblad dark slide, taken off by mistake (I assume!), but very important to us.
-I was not sent decent signs on time (see memo).
-I do not have enough key chains.
-I do not get any help for repairs: I am in US only 4 hours a week and that's on a Saturday, so I can't do much !
But, have no fear, I am looking after our concession !!!Christian Fournier, Chief photographer

MAGIC CURTAIN

From: Christian Fournier
To: Mr. R.C.. Dawson, Cruiseship pictures.
APRIL 08 1990
I am experimenting with another new type of shot: something, different and modern, which might make the distinction between stagnation and intelligent marketing:
I have bought Mylar iridescent curtains. I hung them up on the two dining room doors, using Velcro. Two photographers shoot the passengers exiting: 50mm lenses, soft filters, Mylar curtains in background.
It creates a very new and different kind of photograph: soft, waist up, colorful background, and most exciting of all, the curtain isolates the model from the unwanted people behind, making it, for once, a personal photo, splendid achievement on dining room door shots. On the sample below you can barely guess someone's face behind the curtains; without the curtains, this very nice picture would have been ruined, (as is too often the case in our fast and in the "middle-of-crowd" shots), by distracting strangers in the background.
This is all easy to carry, store and set up. It does not consume any time. It is cheap: $76 for two sets. It creates another photo opportunity. It can be done on many other ships. It can increase the revenue of our entire company.

MEXICAN CHARTER

From: Christian Fournier
To: Mr. R.C.. Dawson, Cruiseship pictures.

This week I negotiated a deal with the Mexican charter leader to offer a classy 10x8" embarkation photo of every couple, in Mexican silver frames.
We shot 170 120 negs from 9am to 5pm in Puerto Vallarta, outside the ship, using my own Norman flashgun, the Hasselblad and the Stardancer life ring that I made last month.
The portraits were excellent and every one was pleased, for I planned it all ahead so that the pictures would fit elegantly in the frames.
The beauty of it all is that I charged the portrait price for each 10x8" print: $15.00 each. The Mexican organizer found it steep, but since he had the frames already purchased and had advertised his giving away a superb framed photo to each couple, he couldn't argue much!
I rang the cash as #21: $15 x 170 = $2550.00. No folders were used (see paperwork#98)
And what is even better: I photographed the ceremony, one photo for each couple receiving their framed picture and I sold 114 5x7" prints at $6.00 each, with folder !
I rang the cash as #2: $6.00 x 114 = $684 (see paperwork # 98).
So I made $3234.00 that day.CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER M/V STARDANCER

MONEY LOSS during my vacation: WHY?

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: October 14th, 1989Alan Lake had the 2 best weeks of this last Alaskan season (best revenues in shore excursions and gift shop). He had trained assistants (I had an inexperienced one when he left!) and no 5 stars dilemma. Plus captain Smitterberg decided to pause for the handshakes, which drastically increased the revenue for Alan Lake. Also I was completely exhausted before my vacation.
Yet he lost $2000 each week!
It is natural to investigate why, as we can learn a lot from this and use it for other ships, other times!
Well, here are some clues:
* He never got up at 5 am like I do after every formal night to absorb all the heavy printing and get it ready on the wall on time: probably because he believed Lew Cook who said I was lazy (very poor judgment from Lew Cook, I'd say!).
* He did not use my sunset portrait background: probably because Paul Smith hates it, even though it is obvious that using 2 different backgrounds makes more money (pax buy 2 instead of choosing).
* He refused to use my portrait camera set up (castors, holder for A12 backs) even though it makes much faster shooting, which is vital.
* He was much too slow on shooting portraits (the Captain told me he would stop our portrait sessions if this happens again, which shows very poor judgment on Alan's part: when 600 pax are waiting in line for a portrait before greeting the Captain, you'd better hurry!
* He was making the two assistants do all the dining room shots. Dining rooms, on all 15 ships I have been working on, are always the better money maker, even if it is unpleasant and very hard work. So you should always have all the photographers at it. I remember this behaviour from Alan Lake when I worked with him on the Gallileo, 4 years ago: he hides during dining room shooting! Why did you make him a supervisor?
All these are very useful remarks if we want to be an efficient company, and withstand strong competition, and make money.
I always write (with a computer) all instructions on my machines and all my schedules are printed everywhere. Paul Smith himself said: "It would be a piss to take over from me on this ship".
But, there is more to it, I guess!CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer


MY VIDEO TAPE


TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer
DATE: Oct. 7th, 1989Please find herewith my video tape.
It is a home movie, not a Hollywood production.
This one is a prototype, with my own personal photos inserted.
The idea is to show you that I could make a video presentation of our operation, which could be very useful for potential employers and employees. (P.R. work among cruise lines, train new photogs, not so new photogs, show some captains the behind the scene work so they'll understand and treat us better.)
I have not included the narration yet, as I might divulge many trade secrets.
This tape has cost me a lot of money to produce (hardware, software, studio and time) so please do not use it for commercial reasons, unless you repay my expenses. Please send it back to me when you've finished.
The famous T.V. series "World of Photography" has just made a documentary about a similar photo operation on a cruise boat on the Mississippi river. I will contact them. It would be great "advertising for us: maybe we would gain more respect from photographers and cruise lines. CHRISTIAN FOURNIER,


NORMAN FLASHGUNS


TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: June 30th, 1989
I am experimenting with using my own Norman
flashgun, mounted on a stand using an umbrella,
for embarkation and gangway shots.
Advantages :
-More power per flash.
-More flashes per battery.
-A much softer light due to the umbrella.
-A very consistent exposure since the distance flash to subject is fix,
only the distance camera to subject varies.
-Looks very imposing and professional, so pax pay more attention, pay
$6 more easily for they know that they cannot do it with their disc
cameras.

Disadvantages :
-Expensive.
-More stuff to carry, store, set up, recharge and maintain.
-Only works where there is enough room so passengers won't stampede the whole thing.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER,

ON FRENCH CHARTER ON S/S NORWAY 2nd TO 9th DECEMBER 1989


TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: November 24th, 1989
Is it a "music at sea festival" as I already experienced on s/s Rhapsody?
Is the itinerary the same as normal for the Norway?
I have translated the most useful signs in French. See enclosed sheet.
If it is this "music festival at sea", it is very classy and expensive. We should, as I did on S/S Rhapsody, make a lot of money. But we need to be careful and discuss matters with the charter manager beforehand. They do not like embarkation, gangway and handshakes photos, which makes the crowd "feel like sheep", so I was told. But they love decks and scenery photos. The magnificent out island, the inside of previous S/S France, fantastic food displays and of course all the concerts and famous musicians are the best sellers.
I will do all the PR work on this.
I also think that myself and the other French speaking photog should do as much of the shooting and gallery as possible and no darkroom work.
Extreme politeness and impeccable service is a must.
I have prepared a mini photo phase book (enclosed) English-French for the other photogs.
The video tape will not work in France (N.T.S.C. Vs Pal-Secam), so I would not bother with it.
I am very happy to be part of this exciting cruise, since I am the right person to make it a great success, due to my experience of it, my being French, educated, classical music lover and of course my usual amazing photo craftsmanship and salesmanship. (modest, hey?).
I have worked with Gary Brown 4 years ago. He is competent and dedicated .
I will not interfere with his normal production of the photographs and we shall all have a great week.
Raphael Christian Fournier

PREVIOUS PHOTOG. ON OCEAN PEARL


From: Christian Fournier
To: Mr. R.C. Dawson, Cruiseship pictures.
July 1991
The Ocean Pearl, in the Far East, had had no supervision for at least one year when I joined. The photographers were very young and very inexperienced They also had no energy to clean up or organize their darkroom and cabin. The work was appallingly bad: no wonder the captains and hotel managers were going berserk. Mainly the prints were bad (see sample enclosed) and the photographers did not have a clue of what to do to improve them, but they bitterly complained that you would not send them their requested (for the last 6 months) spare parts and stores, and that the pursers would not lend them any cash to buy ashore, or get help from the agent.
I immediately started cleaning up a full year of tar in the processor. I repaired the drive, the replenisher switches, the temperature control, the agitation pumps, the replenisher pumps and the dryer! I also showed the photographers how to mix chemicals properly. The #2 even admitted that he did not know that rinsing the mixer afterwards was important! I also recalibrated and tuned the printer. The C-41 line was also wrong. I had to buy the usual aquarium heater to sort out the temperature. After all that, I finally got some vibrant colors. The ship's management was very impressed by my craftsmanship.
I organized purchases and deliveries in Hong Kong and Singapore, and I found a few spare parts and tools in Japan. After four weeks of very hard work, I now have a decent operation here. Last week I started shooting the tours and I also did quite a bit of photography for the cruise line. The hotel manager offered me a better cabin, which was a relief, for the previous one was a pig sty. Every one on board also appreciates that I speak French, for the line expects more and more French passengers.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER


PRICE INCREASE

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: June 30th, 1989


Over the years I have worked for cruiseship pics, I have seen the prices of the photos go up, following the general inflation.
Every time, photogs say : nobody will buy any pictures any more at that price!
And then, passengers do buy pics, just the same.
This last price increase, even though major, has not lowered our number of pics sold (see paperwork.) It has increased our revenue.
The portraits, with the oval folder, look classy and are a great buy for $20.
For the 5x7", we have to make sure that they are shot properly. The Fuji paper is fantastic.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER,


RCCL Dilemma

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: Sept 23rd, 1989Sept 16th, second day of the coastal cruise, at 8:00 AM, I had just finished organizing my gangway shots (flowers, ring, cameras, beautiful shots thanks to the port authorities of Victoria B. C.) and was ready to shoot a very nice gangway, when I was ordered by the chief purser to do some shooting immediately for RCCL.
My two assistants had just gone ashore : I gave them the morning off since they printed the embarkation pictures while I was doing paperwork the night before (I had to search in 6 months old papers to show that the #3 uniform payments had been paid properly, as stated clearly on my papers, and to find a mistake in bleach stock that my vacation replacement had made).
I tried to discuss but the chief purser, the captain and the housekeeper are in panic: the RCCL representative must have these rolls of film within the hour so he can send them to the head office right away in Victoria.
This gentleman (?), Les Royle, boarded the ship the day before and could have easily told me his wills then, so I could have changed my plans and not lost $500 worth of gangway photos!
So I followed Les Royle three times around the whole ship in an erratic fashion, photographing what he pointed out (including the photo gallery with panels closed and open with photos on), numbering the frames for references.
I gave him the three rolls at 9:00 AM and made him sign a receipt. The following day, he gave me the three rolls back for process !!! He had not bothered sending them that day, so there was no rush after all !!!
I printed everything; excellent work, as always from me (Paul Smith has negs for evidence).
I made him sign another receipt with a $400 price on, which is cheap for 200 photos, one hour shooting, three hours processing and printing and one gangway lost! He said: "just give it to the chief purser to put in our account." I did. The chief purser said: "there is no RCCL account" !

SHOP LIFTING

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: C. FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
NOV. 04 1990Shop lifting is now an important problem, since the passengers are becoming more and more low class and cheap on this ship, during this season.
Mainly, it is much too easy for them to steal the photos, because the cash register is hidden from their view and their are 9 exits to the photo gallery.
I have had a formal talk with the hotel manager this week about this problem: he refuses to move the cash register or allow the security cameras back. I explained that we were catching many thieves every week. Not only do we loose a lot of money but also we get many bad comment cards, because the thieves that we catch obviously hate us afterwards.
We must fight back, or what is the point of even having a cash register?
I bought two very special stamps. They are self inking, and the ink does not smudge, after stamping, on the back of the resin coated paper that our prints are made of. So now we stamp each print after receiving payment. I have made and displayed signs in the gallery:It works extremely well. It is a great deterrent. It also proves if a picture has been paid or not, saving a lot of embarrassment. It is well worth the extra seconds in the gallery, stamping after each sale.
This time I have not asked the hotel manager about permission for this, same as I do not ask him permission to use F8 on my camera, right? If he creates trouble later, I will emphasize the weak barrier between what we need permission for and what we do not. I am learning a lot about politics, these days.
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer

SUPERVISOR POSITION

TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD. Attn Mr. R. C. DAWSON
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: April 15th, 1989 / revised 28 October 1989

I HAVE LAUNCHED THE PORTRAITS YEARS AGO (against Pat Denton , Tom Long and many others.).
I HAVE INCREASED THE TAKINGS ON MANY SHIPS (Starward, Southward, SKYWARD, Ocean Princess, Veracruz, etc......)
I HAVE CREATED THE 'BEAR' AND THE 'DANCERS' SHOTS. (guaranteed money makers.)
I HAVE SAVED YOU A LOT OF DOLLARS ON YOKOYAMA (neither Paul nor Lew had calculated the full processing times! ).
I HAVE PUSHED TO START THE VIDEO AND HAVE SET IT UP EFFICIENTLY.
I HAVE SUGGESTED AND SENT YOU SAMPLES OF BETTER 10X8" FOLDERS (which are a great success.)
I HAVE INVENTED AND OBTAINED A DIFFERENT PORTRAIT BACKGROUND (another sale increase.)
I HAVE SENT YOU SAMPLES OF KEY CHAINS, BADGES, PAPER WEIGHTS 3 YEARS AGO.
I TAKE $2000.00 A WEEK MORE THAN YOUR VERY BEST OF ALL #1, ALAN LAKE.
I HAVE NEVER HAD, IN MY 91/2 YEARS WITH YOU, A NON OPERATIONAL WEEK. (never any major breakdown, out of stock, sick situations.)
I HAVE MADE HUNDREDS OF IMPROVEMENTS (technical, marketing, photographic, paperwork).
I HAVE TRAINED OR INFLUENCED MANY OF OUR PHOTOGRAPHERS TO BETTER STANDARDS OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND PRODUCTIVITY.
I HAVE BUILT UP A DEEP UNDERSTANDING OF ALL ASPECTS OF OUR BUSINESS; I AM EFFICIENT AND RELIABLE.
I AM A SCIENCE UNIVERSITY GRADUATE, 36 YEARS OLD, AND AN AUTHORITY ON PHOTOGRAPHY.
WOULD YOU CONSIDER ME FOR YOUR NEXT MANAGEMENT POSITION ?
CHRISTIAN FOURNIER

VARIED PORTRAITS


TO: CRUISESHIP PICTURE CO. LTD.
FROM: CHRISTIAN FOURNIER, Chief photographer.
DATE: AUGUST 12th, 1988

Since we are shooting two sessions of portraits per cruise, it is obvious to me that we would make more money by offering two different types of portraits per cruise, instead of twice the same portraits.
Here are some suggestions for different types of portraits:
-Standard "waist up" upright with blue background.
-Sunset, waist up, horizontal, with hair light.
-Close up (head & shoulders only) on black seamless backdrop
with hair light.
-Full length, long white backdrop, classy Victorian chair in the
foreground.
-Old time photo, sepia toned thanks to XP1 film on C41, with
props.
-A front projection system could unable many possibilities.

CHRISTIAN FOURNIER


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