Monday, November 4, 2013

The Wearing of Many Hats

We’ve all heard the adage of “wearing many hats” and that is definitely true for me. But the wearing of many hats is not just about putting on a baseball cap where one says Writer, the next says Photographer, etc. Each hat is as different as the type of work that goes with the project.

Hats come in many styles and are made from a multitude of materials and, as such, each “job” on the label has as much variance in its style. The writer’s hat would not look like the photographer’s hat, Some hats styles immediately come to mind when one things of certain types of jobs. I’ve already mentioned baseball caps, although those cover a wide variety of jobs including truck drivers and farmers.
With the title of artist, one pictures a French beret; cowboys wear cowboy hats; helmets are worn by football players, race car drivers, and deep sea divers, to name a few. It would be interesting to list a number of jobs that are associated with specific style hats or headgear, but at the moment, I can’t think of more.

My writer’s hat, if I wore a hat when I wrote, would be totally different from the ones worn I’d wear when out shooting photos or painting or drawing. Yes, even painting and drawing hats would be different because the jobs themselves are different and have different requirements.

A writer’s hat, for instance, would have to have a hatband into which I could slip pens, small notebook, and reading glasses. It would have an all around, small brim to help hold these items and would maybe be made out of felt. (I’m not fashionable enough to know material.) Maybe the pen would even have a feather. The small brim would be so there wouldn’t be much shadow when I was writing.

This hat would have to sit on the head tight enough so when I bend over the table to write, the hat won’t slip off, but not too tight to stop the creative flow. Finding the right words is hard work. Even with working on a computer these days, I still take notes by hand. Pens are my favorite tool.

A photographer’s hat must be of different material with some waterproofing because getting caught in the rain sometimes happens. It would probably have a string tie (I don’t know the proper term) to tie the hat under the chin. This way, the hat can be pushed down onto the back when taking pictures. I take pictures in all kinds of weather and I must be able to adapt to conditions – cold, sun, precipitation, and such. Sometimes when I’m out, I am so focused on getting the shot, that I don’t pay attention to other things. A photographer’s hat must be tough. It will take a beating.

The different projects (jobs) that I work on require a total change in how I am thinking and sometimes I go from one to the other in minutes. Instead of musical chairs, I play musical hats… although I do move around depending upon what I’m doing. For instance, in working on my books, there’s the story-writing/reporting/research aspect. I study, search my mind for the correct words, comb through the word catalogs in my brain trying to find the right descriptions and rework the research so I’m not always quoting someone else’s text. Then there’s the proof-reading and editing; many times.

Then I have to put on the photographer’s hat to edit the photos. My brain has to shift into a different type of focus. Here, it isn’t so much about words, although I do have to come up with titles, but the concentration is on color and contrast. Pictures that will go into a book take different editing than those I use in prints or cards, (which is even another hat.) I have to consider the size of the photo and how it will go onto the page of the book.

Next comes inserting the photo into the template where I’ve put the story. I try to match it to fall in with the proper place having to pay attention to margins and whether there will be text wrapping depending on the size of the picture. And finally, I have to make sure the Table of Contents is correct along with the List of Photos. Sometimes I am exhausted from all the “thinking” to make sure everything lines up (swapping hats many times during the course of a day.)

The work I do for the newspaper, even though it’s also writing with occasional photos, calls for a different type of hat. My mind set has a different focus when reporting. I am no longer writing from my point of view and the guidelines are strict for journalism. The editing (as I’m also the assistant editor) has its own rules, its own hat. This hat would come with a magnifying glass (metaphorically) with the need to make corrections. And the photographs for the newspaper are handled differently.

This just shows a couple of the hats I wear. Of course, it would be fun to actually design are real hat for each instance.

What kinds of hats do you wear and what would they look like?

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