Friday, March 5, 2010

Why Photographers ARE the Problem!!!

Earlier this week I taught a class in the postgraduate program in Photojournalism at the University Autonoma of Barcelona. At the end of the lecture I made a series of recommendations to the students on how to take their careers forward and I closed with the old lesson about the importance of not giving away your work cheaply and especially not for free. The promise of future paying work in these circumstances is a myth, but I wonder how many of them will fall in to the trap anyway. If you don't value your work, how can you expect anyone else to?

I've touched upon this problem before here and will continue to address it in the future, but I wanted to bring it up today because I just came across another example here. Really, can people be so foolish? Thanks to Rob Haggart at A Photo Editor for sharing this with us.


Daniel Cuthbert said...

I think it's not only photographers who are to blame but publishers encouraging emerging photographers to work this way.

Ask any picture desk today if they'd accept work for free and they'd all shout out yes. In areas full of shooters, such as London/NYC etc, you'd most likely have 100 a week sending in work.

To some, it's a great way of ensuring your entry is noticed over the other 99. Hey, your work is free, they have no budget (well they do, but not for pictures, digital is so easy, why should they pay?).

Thing is, how do you change this? Slapping the photographer around the head might work, but so might educating them at the beginning stages about the insanity of working for free.

all I know is I hope we reach a point where you can earn a decent living from photography, as right now that's not exactly the case.

Charlie Mahoney said...

I couldn't agree with your more, Daniel. The thing is we are always griping about the publishers. By nature human beings aren't good at self-criticism and I think we could use a hefty dose of it these days. Education is absolutely the solution, but is easier said than done, especially in a profession where many people are self-taught.

I too hope that photographer's can make a living in the future, but I'm afraid the way things are going now, it's a fight to the bottom.

Thanks much for your comments!