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February 2009
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In an earlier post I mentioned one of the great things about being a commercial photographer you are exposed to so many different people, products and industries.

This week I was photographing executives versus motorcycles in the studio last week.  The executives work in the insurance industry dealing mostly with business insurance products.

When I photograph people, I engage them in some kind of discussion to get them to relax and forget about the camera.  Since these folks talk to a real cross section of the business community, small businesses to multi-national corporations business topics were the obvious subject. I assumed they too had had conversations about the current economy with their contacts.  Thus the question of the day was, “What do you think of the stimulus package?” referring to the $787 billion dollar bill waiting for President Obama to sign into law, since the shoot was the day it was signed.

I must say, there was a diversity of responses.  Some, turned it around to me, wanting to know what I thought, which I thought interesting.  Some were adamantly against the stimulus package calling it the next re-election package or pork of pork.  Some to my surprise really didn’t have too much of an opinion and “just went with the flow”.  One fellow though who I appreciated did response in a way that while defended the stimulus package, admitted he did not think it would do much.

His explanation was that it was designed to be an imperfect bill, spending enough to “shake-up” the markets, getting the flow of money moving.  When I asked for more detail,  he thought that the various markets would have so much money injected into them, creating some demand, that people would be more likely to buy into the again moving markets.  I can understand that type of reason but in my mind it creates a false market and a false market will fail, but that is how I think and really appreciate his contrasted reasoning.

The consensus of most was that “how could spending so much money to fix a financial problem caused by spending too much money”. We never really came to any conclusive answer and most everyone was rooting for it all to workout best for the country.  It was a great day of discussion.  Much like I would expect at a cafe in Paris or the like.

As a visual person, when this whole trillion dollar figure started flying around I needed to be able to visualize a trillion dollars.  I have been in business 30 years now and back then, a million dollars was a lot of money, meaning those who had a million or more, they were rich. Then billionaires became the rich.   No one is a trillionaire yet, but it can’t to long before someone claims the title.

To get a grasp of a trillion, if you count to a trillion non-stop, it takes 40,000 years so I hear, so I did the math.  If each number took one second to say, it would take, 31,709.79 years (31,536,000 seconds per year), but it would take more than one second to say, 856,466,238,887, so I think 40,000 years is reasonable.

Another measure of a trillion is, if you stack $1000 (one thousand dollar) bills 4 inches high, that is one million dollars, a trillion is 63 miles high.  If you used $1.00 (one dollar) bills, the pile would go 1/3 of the way to the moon, 63,000 miles.  I think the current debt ceiling for the US is $11 trillion, nearly two round trips to the moon.

I am off the photography topic, but this turned out to be a great subject for these business people, since it really did get them off topic, the reason I was there, the camera.


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