Note: More behind scenes photos on my Facebook page!
As I return back from Las Vegas from a two-day semi-private instruction workshop and our three-day “Glamour, Beauty & the Nude” weekend workshop the thought of friendships come to mind—especially since I had several friends associated with this event, Arny Freytag, Gavin Maloof, Igor and Lucy Rivillis, Holley Dorrough, Jeff Whitted, Stephanie Dawn, the group of photographer attendees and my team of talented models.
Arny Freytag, Playboy’s top photographer, provided amazing instruction as a guest to our semi-private instruction first few days. Gavin Maloof provided us with VIP treatment at his Palms casino and even had us over his house one evening so we could watch the NBA team he owns, the Sacramento Kings on his gigantic television in his theatre room. Igor & Lucy Rivillis joined us for any support we needed as usual, and of course, I couldn’t have pulled this workshop off without my second in command, my make-up artist, Stephanie Dawn from Atlanta. My models, what can I say, without them our lenses are left lifeless. My hat’s off to all eight of the them and especially the attendees for all their efforts—everyone pitched in to make this Las Vegas workshop a cherished memory.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many people, with those encounters comes new friends, though not all friendships last, which often makes me wonder how people generally define friendship. When I was much younger our parents would make us watch 60-minutes and in one famous interview, the late Malcom Forbes described the meaning of success as when you could truly identify one real friend for each finger on each hand—Forbes claimed he was still working on his first hand.
I’m sure a lot of people who thought they were his friend that day, questioned with a gut check, their own definition of friendship. Mine is simple, I follow Forbes formula when it comes to gauging my success, but I break down my friendships into two categories, business and personal, though sometimes the two will mix. Then I further breakdown those friendships into the subcategories of political and realistic as I know many friendships exist for political correctness in today’s society.
So a politically correct business friendship is just that, they will only be around while it’s for the benefit of business and politically correct—Martha Stewart is a great example of learning who her business and personal friends were during her legal crisis. I saw it in the U.S. Army when Command Sgt. Major Freddy Manning was the senior enlisted soldier who only answered to the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) Commander-in-Chief, Gen. George Joulwan. We were all a team and everyone loved the SOUTHCOM sergeant major, everyone was his friend, from four-star generals on down, from every branch of the military. While his uniform and position commanded respect, Sgt. Major Manning respected his troops and they respected him and his retirement ceremony was that of a general’s.
A few years after his retirement, I visited Sgt. Major Manning down in Georgia as we had done the Latin American Drug War together while I was stationed in USSOUTHCOM, and prior to that, we had been stationed together at V Corps in Frankfurt where he was the V Corps Command Sergeant Major. We had more than a politically correct friendship, we both put in four years working personally for Gen. Joulwan at V Corps then USSOUTHCOM. We traveled extensively together and on trips, you tend to bond.
While a few people stayed in contact with Sgt. Major Manning, he felt somewhat abandoned because after he quit being Gen. Joulwan’s right-hand man, the Christmas cards stopped flowing in and he was an example of having many “friends” that were only politically correct friends.
While our Vegas workshop was awesome, it had a few glitches, though my friend Gavin Maloof came through as a true friend to help us out and this says a lot about his character as he has no reason to be a “politically correct” friend with me—what can a photographer of my caliber bring him? Nothing, the man has everything from owning a top Las Vegas casino, an NBA basketball team and even the ARCO arena they play in. But Gavin Maloof was there to make sure we had what we needed. Now that’s a friend and I salute you my friend.
I salute all my friends, especially those that helped out so much this past week to ensure Las Vegas was a success—you know who you are and what part you played! Arny Freytag, I can’t say more than enough and I’ll see you soon in Jan. then in February as a VIP guest at my Los Angeles workshop. And for those that want to know, yes, we’re back in Las Vegas (info here).
Thanks, and as I close, I ask everyone to not forget our military members, their families and friends, especially over the upcoming Christmas holidays, God Bless! Rolando Gomez