the fickle finger of fate
Photographer Melanie Grizzel shot this image for us back in 1995. A surprising conversation with the director of a well known local gallery made the image the permanent last page of our portfolio, and the story that goes along with it a part of The Morpheus Company's stranger-than-fiction history:
We had managed, by what back then was a stroke of luck we'd never truly fathom, to wrangle an appointment to meet with Melissa Butler, then the director of the very well-respected Southwest Gallery, to discuss the possibility of her having our work on display. Earlier that day, we had met with our photographer Melanie, to pick up prints from our latest photo shoot. Running late for our all-important gallery meeting, we slid the barely-looked-at images into the back of our print portfolio for safe keeping and headed directly over to the gallery.
The meeting was a phenomenal success. They loved our work, and absolutely were going to display jewelry by The Morpheus Company during their entire upcoming show season. As we were discussing our contract, Melissa noticed that there were a few prints in the back of our portfolio that she had not seen.
So excited by our momentary success, we proudly handed over a stack of never-before-seen photos of our work, hoping to further impress her by letting her be the first to see them, and completely forgetting that the above image was in the stack of prints.
You have to realize that this was long before our online portfolio. Long before we had made a name for being more than a little irreverent. Basically, we were kids. And we had just handed the director one of Dallas' most well-respected fine art galleries, the kind of place that featured the works of W.A. Slaughter, a shot of some punker chick flipping the bird.
All of this sunk in for us about the time we noticed her looking dead at us, her face expressionless save for a single raised eyebrow. She sat there rigidly for a moment, with one of her beautifully manicured nails tapped absentmindedly on her desk, in the rapidly growing expanse of fine marble between this vulgar image and the unsigned contract before her. She asked one question, which surely spelled the doom of our future in this gallery.
"Are you planning on adding this image to your portfolio?"
We stammered, stumbled, and explained the truth...the image was shot as a joke and stress breaker towards the end of a long, grueling shoot. We weren't even sure if it was going to come out well enough to show to anyone, much less put into our portfolio. We even explained the circumstances in which it came to be even temporarily in our book.
If you listened very carefully during this highly charged moment, you could actually hear the sound of backpedalling in the room. Surely we were sunk, and it was only a matter of time before we received the verbal equivalent of the guillotine. Her simple response left us with the same expression that she began the exchange with, save for the fact that our mouths were hanging open when we did it.
Okay, this was more than we could process. Here we were, fully expecting her to simultaneously press some hidden button that summoned the art gallery equivalent of the secret service while adding us to one of those notorious black lists that doesn't really exist, but everyone rowdy seems to end up on. Instead, she's smiling and giving us career suggestions that don't start with phrases like, "Run. Just run."
Someone on our team managed to gurgle out something that sounded like a reasonably polite "excuse me?" during our collective neural meltdown, which prompted to Melissa to explode with laughter.
"Look," she said in a motherly tone, "You need to keep this image for everyone you do business with to see...because if they can't handle this, I'm fairly certain they can't handle you either."
With that, she grinned widely, signed our contract, thanked us for our time, and left us to collect ourselves.
To this day, this image is still the last page in our portfolio.
Organixx is an open series.
Available in sterling silver, colored golds and platinum.
Cast sterling silver, attitude.
Melanie Grizzel, 1995.