Journal

Omni Montelucia

Twenty six. That's how many months have passed since I joined The Richards Group. And, it turns out, twenty five months — to the day — since I last posted anything. Sorry about that. Since making the move, I have tried to keep my head down and simply do great work

While I'm incredibly proud of what I've made since joining the agency, most of that work has been without a camera in my hand. As a director, my job is to interpret the creative, communicate a production plan and lead a talented team of craftspeople to bring the idea to life. So, when an opportunity to shoot presented itself — like, hold-the-camera-look-through-the-viewfinder-and-press-the-shutter shoot — I jumped at the chance.

Before we even landed, it was fun collaborating with the creatives on ideas for making the most of our time on property. Finding ways to creatively push the boundaries of various ad spaces — like Facebook's carousel ads — was rewarding, as a photographer and a storyteller.

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The benefit of a well defined plan, however, is the confidence it affords you to follow your nose away from the trail, chasing light and finding unexpected inspiration along the way. And it's those images that fall beyond your imagination when making the shot list that end up being the most true to the plan anyway.

To paraphrase Annie Leibovitz, you do the work to make room for the magic. And, in Arizona, I was blessed with healthy doses of magic.

Omni Hotels are, in a word, incredible and their Montelucia resort & spa in Scottsdale, AZ, gave that word new definition. The grounds were immaculate, the views breathtaking and my two days there weren't nearly enough.

A NEW ADVENTURE

On the 10th of June, I started a new adventure as a director at Fathom 100, which is the monicker of my new department at The Richards Group.

It’s in its infancy & we are working to define what our core mission is, but for now, it’s safe to say that I will be doing work very similar to that which I’ve always done. As of now, we are just me. However, my collaborators on that work are 750 of the brightest minds in advertising. That part really excites me.

It’s a pretty incredible opportunity to begin something new inside an organization with their creative track record and reputation.

Since making the change, there's one question I have received more than any other:

WHY?

A few weeks before I began, Stan Richards (in case it’s not painfully obvious, he’s the owner of TRG) asked to meet with me. I was assured this wasn’t an “interview”, the job was mine. He just wanted to talk.

After 20 minutes of get to know you talk he shifted in his chair, looked me square in the eye and asked, “You’ve been making a living for a long time, why would you want to leave that to join us?"

This was my answer:

There’s a big difference between making a living and thriving in life. The last few years, I felt like the opportunities to thrive have waned. It’s as if I ran through the doors of a great looking building, climbed all it’s stairs and was now frustrated by the ceiling above my head.
 
I thrive when I embrace challenge and there were no more challenges to take me higher. To grow, to thrive, would actually require me to find a new building.
 
I had some great times, but a few years of introspection made it pretty clear that my successes would always be minor. I was, at best, a very reliable minor league ball player. And the Yankees called to say they had a spot for me.
 
I made the change because I wanted to see if I had what it takes to play major league ball. I wanted that challenge more than I wanted to be on the top floor of a short building.
The view from my new desk.

The view from my new desk.

This wasn’t a decision I entered into lightly. I operated as Trey Hill Photographs for 7 years and there’s something to be said for the fact that I could have gone for 7 more. But, for the sake of complete transparency, my wife & I had been talking about making a change like this for many years. Owning your own business is really tough and we have more than our fair share of scars to prove it.

This change means giving up some things. My time operating as the photographer for the Dallas Stars coming to an end & no longer acting as an auteur on projects come to mind pretty quickly. Some of the things I leave behind, I do so with a very heavy heart. But, the upside is that none of those things mean walking away from the people who made them special.

The relationships were always my favorite part of self employment. The work was occasionally cool. The opportunities were often once in a lifetime. But the people were what kept me going.

Thankfully, I take all of those relationships with me into this new season of life. And, whatever it is that gets built will benefit greatly from knowing them.