Prop Stylist Barb Fritz (+ Thoughts on Freelance Life)
I first heard about Barb Fritz during the Domino days but recently a dear reader reminded me to look at her portfolio again and so I did… Barb’s portfolio is definitely beautiful to behold. I am inspired by her work but equally by her background as she has spent two decades producing photography and has worn many hats along the way — creative director, food editor, food stylist, and prop stylist in many different outlets from magazines to books, catalogs, advertising… even television! I am inspired by this because lots of times people pass (sometimes harsh) judgment on those who are creative, like we can’t get our “act together” because our focus is not on one thing but on many. This always irks me.
I find it unfair and to hopefully present an alternate viewpoint I like to point them to accomplished people like Barb who has made this life of multiple-hat-wearing a successful one. Not all artists are starving. Not all creative minds are wandering without clue. And not all who are working from home strange, geeky, against the man, or unable to cope with a 9-5 job. There are so many misconceptions about the freelancer out there, those with a free spirit are so often cast as flighty and unable to make decisions and it’s simply not true of us all. The truth is that some of us like to experiment and have the circumstances (or made them) to support these experiments. Some experiments bomb — it’s true — but if passion, talent and consistency are in the recipe then most of the time experiments can turn into careers — or at the very least, temporary paths that lead to something greater. And then there are some who just don’t grow up knowing what we want to do exactly. Scientist. School teacher. Doctor. Vet. At one time I wanted to be the type who did know because kids who knew back in school seemed to be the most loved by the teacher and certainly the focused kids got further in life more quickly than the “artist types”. I always admired those who knew exactly what they wanted to do in life – like my uncle who became a surgeon. I find it most interesting though that once you finish school and enter the workforce, you start to understand how life really works and that there is really no universal right way, there is only the right way according to individual definition and that definition is, or at least should be, defined by Y-O-U.
Deb says in her bio that she has styled for Domino magazine but also for Gourmet magazine. She has done some catalog work for Crate and Barrel, ads for Eggo and Godiva (hope she got to eat some of it while on the set!), and cookbooks for Bobby Flay, TV shows for Martha and signs for Target. In addition to her work as a prop stylist wearing many hats working in many different areas, Barb enjoys her garden at home in Pennsylvania.
I have come to the conclusion when it comes to career that in the end, it’s okay to experiment within your field and even to dip your toe outside of that field to see what other options exist for you. But I’ve come to learn from my own personal experience that once you find your calling, you usually don’t have an interest in experimenting outside of that particular field. For instance, you may become a painter but you also may want to experiment with other mediums (it’s all art, your creative expression). And you may want to write about your art or podcast about it or teach a class or write a book about it. So someone may judge you for wearing many hats but you are still staying within your field and that is why it works. But if you became a painter, and then decided to be a classical pianist, or a car mechanic, analyst, or sky dive instructor — well that’s a bit more difficult to do and is why changing careers many times may not work if they aren’t somehow, someway, linked to your life’s passion.
Make sense? Thoughts?
And please visit Barb’s portfolio while thinking over what I write here…
(images: barb fritz)