A career in Photography? Perhaps not.
Early this week I was approached to shoot and write for another web blog. This sort of thing does happen from time to time and has been becoming more frequent in recent weeks. Along with the cover email, I received a very well written blurb about all the advantages of shooting with said partner. Promises of fast cars and girls littered the paragraphs and I am sure for somebody this would have been great opportunity to get a foot in a door somewhere.
However, aforementioned promises were followed by ones of “exposure” and “potential future work” and these made me flaccid faster than that limp dick werewolf movie – you know the one with the chick who needs to get some sunlight who has made about a billion sequels? Anyway, I really don’t understand what has happened to the industry, when did photography and creativity for that matter become such a cheap commodity? Last time I checked with VISA they did not accept “exposure” and “promises of future jobs” for payment. In addition, yes I know anyone can get out there and take a photo. But that is in the same way that anyone can be a friggin’ surgeon. It takes years of training and perseverance to really be any good at it.
The interesting thing was that the employer mentioned above also made a profit from their web blog. To put this in perspective, this would be like you walking in off the street to your local mechanic and saying, “Yeah mate, just swap this engine in for me for free and I’ll put small sign on my car, or I’ll pay you next time I need something” Business just doesn’t work like that. The idea of doing something that you are passionate about and sinking lots of money into the gear is that you will end up doing it for a job and getting paid! Not doing it for free, or in some cases for a loss. Oh yes, that’s right, it’s not free to travel, or hire gear, and I am no good at foraging for food so there is probably a cost in there too.
I will admit that I am part of the problem too; I guess I have done it to myself. But any time I have worked for “exposure” or for promises of “future work” by the end of the project I have just felt empty and dirty, like I had prostituted my services and my pimp had shortchanged me. And I doubt this is just contained to automotive photography sector too, although it seems that there may be some loose change in generic family portraitures. But how damn boring is that? I think I would rather learn to knit to be honest.
Please note that my rantings aren’t directed at anyone or any business in particular, they are more of just a general observation at this point in time. And I definitely wouldn’t want to discourage others! I would truely LOVE to pursue a career in photography and journalism, but I just really worry whether it will ever be a viable source of income.
Lucky I am still young!