Category Archives: Career issues

Pay Me, and I Won’t Shoot!

The recent kerfuffle between Mike Sorrentino, (aka “The Situation” on the Jersey Shore) and Abercrombie and Fitch, whereby the company offered New Jersey’s second-most-famous Guido (sorry, Mike, but Tony Soprano would never forgive me) money NOT to wear its clothes, got me to thinking.

I’m from New Jersey, I’m obnoxious, and I can often be seen with a six-pack (although I usually carry mine in a brown paper bag). What if I offer my clients the opportunity NOT to shoot for them….for a nice fee?

It’s a brilliant marketing strategy for the new photographic economy. Think about it….It’s pretty much a given that publications, clients, and websites do not want to pay the going rates for experienced content producers…in fact, they’d like to not pay for content at all.

So, if you’re unfashionable enough, how much will they pay you NOT to use your content?

Most publications are desperate for ways to put old-timers out to pasture with the minimum of fuss (and this fall, from what I hear, the pasture stands a good chance of becoming rather full).

Rather than the usual; i.e. letting us drift into obscurity by simply pretending we don’t exist, not returning emails and phone calls, and ignoring story proposals, and then getting lambasted in the photo blogosphere, let’s put a positive spin on it.

Just send the checks, and we’ll promise not to shoot a thing.

In fact, make those checks big enough, and we will deny ever having wielded a camera in the name of any given publication or client.

I know what you’re thinking: this is nuts. It may well be, but it makes about as much sense as shooting for links, sweatin’ your SEO, creating your brand, and all the other career advice I read lately.

So you heard it here first. From another Jersey boy.  If it’s good enough for The Situation, and agri-business, it should be good enough for photographers. Just pay us, and we’ll promise not to shoot for you……

Photog fragged by fair-use-f***ing footprint artist…

When Seattle-based photographer Mike Hipple took this stock picture, at left, of a 1979-vintage, public-arts-financed, sidewalk piece called “Dance Steps on Broadway” by artist Jack Mackie, he had no idea that he had just stepped in the worst s—-t the sidewalk can dish up.

Because Mackie is suing Hipple to the tune of $60,000 for copyright infringement.

Now, we all know the economy sucks. And I usually reserve my outrage for predatory corporate entities bent on the economic pillaging of the individual content producer.

But now, things are apparently so bad, that it’s content-producer eating content-producer…a veritable Lord of the Flies scenario for image-makers.

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In the words of the ill-fated Simi Valley motorist  Rodney King, “can we all just get along?”

Apparently not.

Hipple’s stock agency, upon receiving notice from the “artist” and his legal team, took the picture down from their site. But that wasn’t good enough. Mackie, who had wisely registered his piece, is now seeking punitive damages to the tune of the aforementioned $60 grand.

For more information on how this case is playing out, and how you can help (this affects each and every one of us who shoots travel pictures in public places), hit the jump.

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Nevada’s Wisdom, Where’s Jim, Stephen’s High Jinx, Joe’s Swami….

© Bob Krist--Imagine shooting aerials without leaving the ground!

Some of my friends and colleagues have been sharing some great information lately.

Nevada Weir, adventure travel photographer extraordinaire, shares a great post: The 10 things she wished she knew before becoming a professional travel photographer and the 10 things she’s glad she knew. Take number three in the “glad she knew” category:

I knew that I had some great traits for a traveler: I can handle alcohol; I can sleep anywhere; I have an “iron stomach”; I have a bad sense of smell; and I remain very calm in times of stress or uncertainty. All very useful for the solo traveler.

Funnily enough, I have all those same traits (especially the alcohol-holding abilities) EXCEPT that I do go to pieces in times of stress and uncertainty….but I’m working on it, sometimes even without the alcohol part!

To find out where Jim Richardson has been parking his fedora,why Stephen Alvarez craves getting high above all things, and why Joe McNally won’t confess to a swami, hit the jump. Continue reading »

Is Travel Photography Dead?

www.whattheduck.net

I just read Andrea Pistolesi’s post A Requiem for Travel Photography, (first brought to my attention on Tewfic El Sawy’s excellent Travel Photographer blog).

For those of you who may not recognize his name, Andrea is one of the busiest and most talented travel shooters around, with a string of publication credits that would choke a horse. If I had a quarter for every assignment I lost to Andrea over the years, I’d be very well off—this guy can shoot (and write, in English, even though he’s Italian!).

I highly recommend taking a read of the whole post, but to summarize, Andrea posits that travel photography as a profession is gone, primarily because most of the publications that made assignments are either gone or severely cutting back. But he ends with a very cogent and insightful observation:

“I keep thinking that the world has a lot of stories worth to be covered photographically. The real task is to modernize our scope, create new ways of distribution (using the new technologies, think of the iPad for example), reach the young reader.

For the Travel Photographer the time has come to drop the “Travel” label. Everybody has a camera in his pocket today. The photographer is somebody able to see in a personal, strong way, and pass the message on..

Wow, Andrea’s analysis really hits a home run (or, more culturally fitting, scores a big goooooaaaaaal). To find out what this might mean, hit the jump.

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New and Old Friends

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of catching up with some old friends, and meeting some new colleagues, on a couple of projects I’ve been working on these last few weeks. I’ve learned a lot from these guys and I recommend hitting their websites/blogs for some excellent inspiration and instruction.

Reznicki Rules–I’ve known Jack Reznicki for years and long admired his people photography, but I had never heard him speak until I caught him at a recent conference. Wow, his talk was funny, informative, and just loaded with terrific images!  He is one of those rare shooters who not only makes great pictures, but he’s able to break it down and teach the process as well. His books and website are highly recommended. http://www.reznicki.com/

Dynamite Dave–Veteran sports shooter and speedlight maven Dave Black is a delightful guy, major talent, and great teacher. He regularly runs  “Workshops at the Ranch” which are always popular. I had a chance to watch Dave at work recently. Although Dave is famous for his sports photos (and rightfully so) I love his feature work and the stuff he’s done with lightpainting and speedlights, especially at Arlington National Cemetery….haunting and beautiful. http://www.daveblackphotography.com/

Corey is Cookin’–I also recently met Corey Rich , and he is a one man visual dynamo as well as an articulate teacher. Long known for his outstanding adventure and extreme sports photography, Corey has made the transition to video and has made it with a bang. I admire him not only for his eye, but for what he’s had to climb (hint: El Capitan, for one) to get that eye in the right place at the right time!  http://www.coreyrich.com/