Debbie Reynolds – Denver Business Group Photography
Environmental Photography of Authors & Entrepreneurs
Entering the Exit Bubble™ – A Two part Story
When Dan Meyer called to inquire about Denver business group photography, he told me straight-up that he was looking for uncommon portraits for his business team. He wanted an atypical approach to corporate photography rather than a standard head-shot/mug-shot. And he liked the on-site business portraits in my portfolio.
I was immediately intrigued by Dan’s idea for established business owners. “ExitBubble.com is the home for business owners looking to exit or sell their business. Five million baby boomers will be exiting their businesses over the next five years. Ten million could exit over the next fifteen years. We have the makings of a bubble, an Exit Bubble™.”
As a second generation photography business owner, I must confess. I really don’t have a plan for what to do with deCroce Photography when my body grows too weary to tote the gear. And I suspect, most of my friends and colleagues have spent a greater energy in growing their businesses than planning an exit strategy.
Dan wanted individual portraits of the three-person Exit Bubble™ team: Tensie Axton, Michele Gebhart and Dan Meyer, as well as group-shot portraits of the trio. The business style portrait photos would be used for their new website, books and other marketing pieces. After lengthy phone conversations, it was decided to do the photo-shoot in downtown Denver. We met at the bridge that connects the Mile High Center building at 1700 Broadway with the Wells Fargo Center at 1700 Lincoln. And it was on the bridge that I made the team group shot photos that you see here.
The business photo-shoot continued outdoors for a brief time, but a blustery wind wrecked those plans. So we made our way to the Sheraton Hotel at 1550 Court Place. We wrapped up our photo-shoot on another bridge, the same spot where I had crashed a party 49 years before.
Paul Harvey used to say; “Here’s the rest of the story.”
As a young boy, my parents enrolled me in a boys’ club designed to build character (as I remember, we mostly marched around with neutered WWII rifles). But it gave me a certain freedom taking city busses across town to 4th & Grant where the Highlander Boys were located. I would take the #40 bus to the Shirley Savoy Hotel at 17th and Broadway downtown. Then I’d walk two blocks to Colfax where I would use my transfer from the 40 and take the 6 or 9 bus south on Broadway to 4th Street. I loved the sights and especially the smells of downtown. I called him the tamale man, but his real name might have been Jose’. His triangular metal cart was always loaded with homemade tamales on the curb across from the adult bookstore. Even if I didn’t have spendable coins, I would walk as near as possible just to get a whiff of his menu. Unlike nowadays, people back then seemed gentle and approachable. If I lost my transfer, there was always a kind stranger who would give me 15 cents to board a bus. And I might have used the lost transfer ploy once (or twice) to get a tamale.
School was out for the summer and I was loving the independence gained from the club. So I headed downtown on a hot June day to sell tickets for the club’s annual boys’ show. From the familiar bus stop at the Shirley Savoy, I went straight for the tallest building in Denver: the 22-story Hilton. I had developed a way of sneaking past the doormen of the posh palace and knew the territory well from frequent elevator rides up that giant skyscraper. I was 9 years old in 1964.
The commotion at the front doors of the Hilton that day was unusual. I saw fancy old cars and strangely fashioned clothes from an old west movie. The crowds of people multiplied as I neared until finally I squirmed my way to the front door. Confidently, I employed my well rehearsed technique to bypass the doorman. But on this day, my luck was dry. Still curious and undaunted, I crossed the street to the May D&F department store, rode the elevator up one floor and walked back to the Hilton on the second story foot bridge between the two buildings.
This was more than just a foot bridge. It was the first above-ground bridge in town linking two buildings and inside was a very chic Manhattan style cafe. It was my habit of walking through that cafe just to pilfer a bread roll and butter left behind at one of the tables. But on this day, my compass was intent on finding out what all the fuss was about. I was surprised to find no guard on the other side. It was easy, I thought. Hadn’t anyone else tried this? Once inside the Hilton, I immediately started spouting my ticket sales script for the boys’ show to anyone who would listen.
Behind a set of double doors, came the sound of amplified voices. I approached the ladies at the tables next to the double doors using my best soldier march and I recited my pitch. Wearing velvety long dresses and Peter Pan hats with feathers, they seem truly interested. I was reminded of the way my sisters act when they find a lost cat, so I tried to remain cute. They just said, “Wait right here” and then vanished. I waited for a long, long time. Then, all at once, an entourage of fancy people came out. I recited my pitch again to the lady in the center. Her long dress was more special even than the others – she was beautiful. The deep green cloth covered everything but her hands and face. And her smile seemed to radiate greatness as she shook my hand. She asked someone for money and bought a whole book of 50 cent tickets for 5 dollars. Then she wrote a note and her name. “Hi Eddie, A handsome young man… Debbie Reynolds.”
Feeling proud of my grand sale, I headed home and told my family about selling a whole book of tickets to a pretty lady in a velvet dress. They seemed more impressed with the note and my mom wrote the date and laminated it under plastic. It was only later that I saw her films including The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Recalling the experience now, 49 years later has been an interesting exercise. First there was the serendipity of doing a photo-shoot for the Exit Bubble™ executives on the same bridge that enabled me to sneak into the old Hilton. And second, my own son is now 9 years old. Would I encourage him to wander alone in the streets of Denver the way I did? Hell no! As I said earlier, times were different.