And the winner is…..

Photo © Alex Oliveira/ AMPAS

Wow, you guys went all out on the bag contest! The judges were astounded at the depth and breadth and sheer number of tips (and not just a little annoyed with me… I told them there would be about 10 or 12 tops!).

We got a lot of Zen-like advice about enjoying ourselves, putting down the camera, being in the moment, etc.  I think this is good advice, but, alas, our judges are working, traveling, journalist/photographer/cameraperson types, and by god, if they’ve got to work on the road, so do you, so that touchy-feely stuff didn’t go over too big.

And the judges also noted a lot of advice that told us what to do (capture the essence of the place, get people’s trust, e.g.) but not how to do it.

At least one entrant “tries to remember to pack his brain” on trips, prompting the judges to ask, “what happens when you forget to pack your brain?” and “what kind of a case do you pack a brain in, anyway?” An answer to that last query, according to the judges, would probably have been the instant winner.

Then, the judges got mad at me because they could only pick one winner and they wanted to give away at least 20 first places. I agree, and while I have only one bag to give away, I do have a few extra Spirit of Place 2010 calendars to send to a couple of runners up.

And so, the envelope please….

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A coupla old white guys, sitting around talking….

www.whattheduck.net

If you’ll excuse this post’s headline wordplay on the similar-sounding title of a well known play, I wanted to point you towards a post on the blog of editorial photographer David Wells. David is a consumate photo essayist, and although we’ve never met in person, I’ve been a longtime admirer of his work, and now of his really thoughtful, well-written blog and excellent podcasts as well.

Well, somehow we got talking via emails about the old days, and that’s a darn dangerous topic for guys of a certain age in our biz. Because it gets us thinking about the time when the print medium was not regarded as a geriatric basket case, clients had budgets, and photographs (not to mention photographers) couldn’t be crowd-sourced on Flickr and sold for pennies by the bushel on iStockPhoto.

But as David wisely points out, nostalgia is for creative sissies (and I’m paraphrasing here, because David is much more eloquent than yours truly!), and the Darwinian concept for survival as an editorial freelance photographer is the same in the 21st century as it was last century: adapt or die!

I think the problem many old timers and every newcomer is having at this time of flux is this: “adapt to what, exactly?”

Yes, there really is no clear-cut new model to replace the old paradigm. And that, dear reader, is the rub, if the dozens of emails I get from kids and late-career changers wanting to break into the business are any indication.  It becomes very difficult to advise anybody getting into this business who doesn’t already have the thirty year headstart that I and many of my fellow dinosaurs currently enjoy.

Hit the jump to continue reading one mastodon‘s musings on 21st-century photo careers. (more…)

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