Prop Stylist/ Seeker Cathy Rauch has retired after 28 years working here at Bruton Stroube Studios. She’s been an absolute joy to work with day-in, day-out on too many projects to count.
She got her start here on an odd project. I’ll let Tom Stringer, President Emeritus and guy-who-was-there, do the talking.
“In the late 80â€™s, there was the Spuds MacKenzie campaign – an English Bull Terrier who was always dressed in various costumes and almost always accompanied by one or more Beer Babes. We were charged with the task of photographing these Beer Ladies in custom-made costumes â€“ brightly colored one-piece jumpsuits complete with beer logos â€“ form-fitted, usually to a size 1 bottom and a size 44 top â€“ all in Spandex. I needed somebody to make all this stuff, and I was in a bind. Thankfully, my wife Vikki, who was more resourceful than I, suggested we call Cathy, who was at the time a seamstress and an all-around craftsperson. Thus Cathyâ€™s genesis with us was as a premier seamstress designing and making weird clothes for a dog and for uniquely built women.
Her craftsmanship was beyond excellent.
When I offered Cathy the job 28 years ago, little did she know I was offering her the worst job in history. The job description of a prop stylist could be stated as follows:
â€¢ You will be asked to find something that often does not exist.
â€¢ If it does exist, you wonâ€™t have enough time to find it.
â€¢ If you find it, you wonâ€™t have enough budget to pay for it.
â€¢ Then, once you find and deliver the perfect item, in time, for a cost we can afford, the photographer wonâ€™t really like it.
â€¢ But we might live with it if you canâ€™t find something better.
â€¢ And if not, you’ll have to return it.
â€¢ Then, after we shoot the item, you will have to find a home for it along with the other 200 items we needed to present to the client.
You will be asked to do this over and over, often for several projects simultaneously.
Thatâ€™s the job description I did not tell her. If I had, Cathy may not have taken the job. But I didnâ€™t. And she did take the job. And she mastered that job and much more. She did an exceptional job turning seemingly impossible situations into commercial successes.â€
Cathy defined her role, she owned it, and she showed all of us how important her work is to the industry. If that’s not enough, she made everyone who was in touch with a project feel at ease, and she handled situations with grace, kindness, and levity. That’s a rare quality in the business.
I think there’s still one question on all of our minds – how is it possible, in 28 years, that she could do her job, so well… drinking only decaf coffee? It doesnâ€™t seem physically possible.
We’re gonna miss you Cathy! Have a blast conquering the world!