Photo Essay Fail

Unfortunately, I was not able to complete my photo essay on the installation of solar panels.
When I pitched the essay, I had been in contact with an installer from Queens, who had given me the number of an installer who had an active site in Harlem within the time frame to shoot this assignment. I pitched the story based on the belief that I’d have access to that site.
However, when I spoke to the second installer, he told me he was going upstate for an installation, and was leaving relatively inexperienced workers to take care of the site in Harlem. Since he would have to double-check their work, he didn’t want me to take pictures of anything that might have been installed incorrectly, and so last Thursday, he closed off my access to his site.
I spent the next morning canvassing the New York City area for a new installer to shoot, and found the New York Solar Energy Industries Association’s list of members. I called every installer that fell geographically between the Hudson River and about Exit 64 on the Long Island Expressway (pretty far east). I was met with three reactions: 1) Installers had no active sites, having things in the permit stage, but not yet ready to be installed for a few weeks. 2) No interest in dealing with me, or the liability of worrying about me falling off a roof (one installer actually bluntly asked me, “and what happens if you fall off the roof?”), and 3) the belief that I was a corporate spy who was trying to learn their methods to start my own, competing firm.
Friday’s search bore little fruit, but one installer who was dubious about my intentions agreed that if I could prove to him that I was in fact a journalist, and not trying to freeload his methods, he would let me see his sites. I emailed him from my .edu account with links to two recent stories I had written, and he told me on Friday afternoon that someone from his office would call me on Monday.
On Monday, I called them, and they hadn’t heard from their boss about allowing me access. I tried calling his cell phone, but he never picked up and it didn’t have a voicemail attached. I called back again Tuesday, and still no word.
So here I am on Wednesday, with a holiday starting tonight at 6:02, and no pictures.