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Raymond Bleesz
17-Mar-2014, 06:29
Perhaps your thoughts regarding this matter-------Our local paper has a wide read, hardcover as well as electronic. On occasions, I have submitted images which the paper publishes, however, either lazy edigorial practices or other, there is no photo credit given.

What to do??? I brought up this matter to the editors & no response at this time. The paper is good as are the editors. The majority of my submitted images have "historical content". I believe that my images should be recognized with my bye line. Your thoughts on this matter please.

Raymond

Fred L
17-Mar-2014, 06:56
Link to the publication ? If they refuse to budge on the byline, I would suggest you don't submit photos anymore. Can I presume they're not paying for the photos ?

adelorenzo
17-Mar-2014, 07:14
I have never in my life seen a newspaper that publishes photos without a photo credit line. That's total bush league.

StoneNYC
17-Mar-2014, 07:44
I agree with the others, I would call directly to the legal department and tell them that if they don't print some kind of photo credit or retraction/apology for work submitted they will be sued for image theft. Or some such thing, start by being nice and then get tough. The fact they wouldn't reply to you is BS, a simple apology would be good enough and assurance of photo credit next time.

Sounds like an amateur paper if they don't care about citing photo credit... Is this a college newspaper or something? do they credit others in photos like "staff photographer" or "AP photographer"?

Fred L
17-Mar-2014, 08:43
Imo, going legal will get you nowhere, best to just put this in the rear view mirror if you're not getting any traction with the editors. Since you submitted the photos, there's no theft so don't go down that road. Do the submission guidelines mention anything about credits ?

Also, mind if I ask why you're submitting photos ? Do they issue call outs or are you sending on spec ? Just as important, are you getting paid for the submissions ?

Greg Miller
17-Mar-2014, 08:53
If you expect a credit, then when you submit photos, you need to specify that a credit is part of the terms of usage. If you do not specify that, then they are free to assume they may use the images with a credit. Most newspapers will pay for photos that they use. In my area they pay about $50 and provide a credit. But you should never offer photos to be be used without specifying the terms of usage.

Jmarmck
17-Mar-2014, 09:33
Do they have any copyright or licensing information that you have to sign in order to submit? Start there. That will tell you the liability they have.

Just as an aside, you should always check for restrictions when posting photos......in places like FaceBonk. If you post it to your account then they have the right to use it with out notice or compensation. This is why I deleted all my content from there.

When selling a print you should always have some sort of agreement as to your and the buyers rights to the material. I play guitar and have music on several sites. All are free with a common use license, that is the recipient is able do download and use as they see fit but they cannot use the product for monetary gain unless a release is obtained. They have not right to sample the music in any way.

As to rights there are various kinds ranging from free with no restrictions to exclusive (selling your rights to the material). BTW this is why most big music producers own the many of the famous songs and not the musicians. Lawyers love this stuff.

If you don't have a plan concerning your copyrights I would suggest you develop one.

Mark Sawyer
17-Mar-2014, 10:16
If you're submitting photos for free, keep in mind that you've become part of the industry movement to eliminate the jobs of professional newspaper photographers. I'm sure the newspaper owners would love to have all their photographers, reporters, editors, and janitors work for free...

Kirk Gittings
17-Mar-2014, 11:20
We've had a battle here with the local newspaper going on 50 years off and on. We won (except in the wedding dept.) by making it an absolute firm term of usage.

Fred L
17-Mar-2014, 16:13
Unless you have an absolute barn burner of a photograph (Hindenburg type event), newspapers aren't going to negotiate. No way in hell that's ever happening. The flood of images from people happy to see their work in print (not referring to OP) to GWC who has a day job so he can play at sports photographer, well this business is grim. Many pubs don't value photography thus they're happy with reader submissions in many cases…its good enough and fills a hole.

adelorenzo
17-Mar-2014, 17:07
There is nothing wrong with reader submissions but, whether they have paid for them or not, I have never seen a newspaper run photos without credit lines... I live in a small town of 25,000 people and both our small-town local newspapers and even our low-budget weekly free paper run proper attribution for everything they print.

I really have a hard time believing that you are dealing with an actual newspaper here and not some kind of church newsletter or something. Does this "paper" also run stories without bylines?

Fred L
17-Mar-2014, 17:57
I'm going out on a limb and suggest that the newspaper is not in North America. Have never heard of a newspaper referred to as hardcover, always newsprint or print edition.

Greg Miller
17-Mar-2014, 18:10
I'm going out on a limb and suggest that the newspaper is not in North America. Have never heard of a newspaper referred to as hardcover, always newsprint or print edition.

That was my initial thought too, but a quick Internet shows Raymond lives in Colorado.

StoneNYC
17-Mar-2014, 22:53
That was my initial thought too, but a quick Internet shows Raymond lives in Colorado.

Colorado... Hmm maybe it's in a copy of "high times" and that's why they don't credit people... Anonymity... Haha

Darin Boville
18-Mar-2014, 00:47
They did it again *after* you talked with the editors? Or you talked with them and you have yet submitted work to find out.

I would suggest that a good relationship with the local small town paper is worth far more than getting all excited over credit lines. If they still don't print the credit after you submit next time then stop submitting. Don't make a big to-do about it. The bottom line is that small towns are, well, small. Worth keeping in mind.

--Darin

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 01:38
It looks like Mr. Bleesz lives about 2 hours from me and owns Brush Creek Dry goods, I presume his main income and that he sidelines as a "Fine art" photographer and submits both illustrated and written pieces to the Vail Daily as a "Special to the Vail Daily".

Now, as a former staffer for one of the papers that the greed ball chain bought ( Aspen Times in 2001, I left in 2004 ) I know for a fact that Colorado Mountain News Media does not give a rats ass about the art they fill holes with in order to keep that high paying real estate ad revenue coming in and in all likelihood is not paying Mr. Bleesz a dime or very close to free.

There are very few papers left that actually give a crap about credit lines from Freetographers let alone paying for them and Swift Newspapers who owns CMNM is about the WORST sir. Simply put, they are outright bastards and might have even helped to contribute to the tragic loss of a friend of mine and frankly the entire community's about two months ago.

Not really sure what else to tell you, all these naive amateur photo enthusiasts seem to think a credit line actually means something, as if exposure alone may lead to something that pays in photography.

Not in 2014 folks, in fact all it says is that you got taken advantage of, especially by a POS outfit like CMNM...

Fred L
18-Mar-2014, 06:47
Not really sure what else to tell you, all these naive amateur photo enthusiasts seem to think a credit line actually means something, as if exposure alone may lead to something that pays in photography.


^^ In a nutshell. -30-

StoneNYC
18-Mar-2014, 06:59
^^ In a nutshell. -30-

But my mom would be so proud! ;)

But seriously it's still usable for SOME as a year sheet if it's a good image/article. Not so much without a credit.

But what do I know I'm not successful yet.

Fred L
18-Mar-2014, 07:07
When there are no paying jobs out there, what good is a tear sheet ? People with day jobs who moonlight (for little or no pay) are one of several problems in photography.

StoneNYC
18-Mar-2014, 07:11
When there are no paying jobs out there, what good is a tear sheet ? People with day jobs who moonlight (for little or no pay) are one of several problems in photography.

The problem with ANY art is that often when you are starting out you HAVE to have a second job to survive until your photo work is established, gets better, etc.

The problem isn't that, it's that people are ok working for less, moonlighting is ok if you are asking for the same amount of compensation as the full timers... The problem is that too many accept little pay and it skews the pitch.

Fred L
18-Mar-2014, 07:36
From where I sit and have seen, virtually all the moonlighters are not working for wages that could support them and their families. They choose to do this BECAUSE they have a steady job with benefits and decent earnings. One does not have to work for slave wages, it's a choice. If they had to survive on what they're getting paid, they would starve.

I agree re: starting out but you need to have respect for the profession and the photographers before and after you and not bring wages down by working for peanuts and free is indeed a four letter word in this case. No one except the companies win in this case.

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 07:53
For the record, the following statement is not directed at the OP, I am not within my right to make the judgement call, don't know the guy but sure as heck know the paper biz after a 23 year career as a photographer...

I suppose one of the main draws for enthusiasts pining for credit lines is that they feel like it validates their otherwise mediocre work, and back when a credit line meant something it very well could have. But now all it means is a floodgate for free, that you are the go-to person for that so-so 2 column page 6 photo that is free..."oh, him, yeah, just give him a credit line, he likes those".

And there is another nutshell to be cracked, if one moonlights, and I never have, when does the not at all talented photographer who hopes they will strike it rich get the message that they should probably move on to something else instead of fooling them selves?

This whole moonlighting and give away for a credit thing clogs the perceptive lanes on the news desk for some truly talented people and erodes the value of a photograph that is actually worth something while telling the hack that they ought to seek out even more venues so they can parade around their name under their craptastic work.

It brings it all down, we the public lose on the narrative that it takes more than a full time position to achieve but a full life to. We have lost the "Robert Franks" and other deeply penetrating life time image makers to this that is the bar being dropped into the gutter...

One day, people will care and they will ask, because Instagram, blogs and reams of "Show your street photos" a body of meaningful work does not make.

Fred L
18-Mar-2014, 08:16
I don't believe you or anyone else (myself included) is taking shots at the OP. It's just a state of where our industry is headed and some reasons why things are the way they are. If it gives people second thoughts, good. Of course some won't care and will keep on keeping on and things will continue going down the toilet.

I've seen some very good/excellent friends/photographers lose a good chunk of their income due to moonlighters so I take a very dim view of those who work for peanuts.

To the OP, I hope things work out but if no credit is forthcoming, move on. They need you more than you need them.

StoneNYC
18-Mar-2014, 08:39
They don't call them moonlighters anymore, they call them Instagram-ers...

The best example is this image (pardon the small format digital but it's part of the discussion)

It's honestly an iconic image, the "photographer" was a guy on Instagram with his cell phone. Looking at his Instagram (IG) it seems that he does have an eye and gets it right about once every 20 images or so. But my point is, he was given credit, because everything is digital now, I don't mean the photo, I mean the credit, no one cares about a NAME anymore, it's all about a link to your "feed" account, so it was easy for the reporters to credit him because they simply added the link. The idea of adding names as a credit is going away, and in the new world, if you aren't digitslized, you don't exist...

Anyway iconic image (and yes I think it's worthy of being called iconic) and the article (one of many) follows the image.

Hurricane over Manhattan

112351

Article: http://petapixel.com/2012/07/18/incredible-instagram-photo-of-a-storm-over-new-york-city/

"Photo-Credit" http://instagram.com/p/NOuYQYgpx4

As my step dad would say, "even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while..."

jp
18-Mar-2014, 08:40
Newspapers generally don't want top notch photographers/photos. I think most small newspapers, good photography they wouldn't know if it hit them on the head. They send out reporters with a P&S and something is better than nothing. Get the English done right and the ads right, and all is well in news. Good photography has gone the way of fact checking, it happens once in a while but isn't consistent. Photos on news website and in print are small. It's easier to shrink a photo to get the text to flow right than to condense a story. Editors and layout people aren't generally photographers. See how many different headlines and photos can fit on the front page turn to page B17 to read more. If it's in your hometown, you can get nicer photos that your friend's friends took and put on facebook. It's a shrinking business and there's no easy way to regrow the top line; selling papers to photo snobs won't do it. Cutting costs keeps them in business.

StoneNYC
18-Mar-2014, 08:54
There is one easy way to beat these guys at their own game. Make sure images are registered formally for Copyright protection. Signed delivery with the paper with terms and conditions specifying copyright notice and credit line. If they are used without it - file in Federal Court for copyright infringement. Pretty much an easy one and statutory damages for unauthorized use makes it pay. You won't get any more photos in that paper tho.

Where we live Ogden newspapers of North Dakota owns the local papers and they are so cheap they don't even squeak - in case some folks think the noise is a benefit. They tried using an image without a credit line and ended up paying full freight. First 'we never pay' - then the local editor informed corporate HQ they did, indeed - pay for my images for one time use and 10X the normal rate at a minimum. Then how about you lower the rate and we only pay what we want - so I responded with a nice note saying I would go Federal Court for Copyright infringement - and had a check for the full amount delivered by courier within 24 hours.

It can be done but if you don't treat this as a business you get shafted. Some newspapers are worse than Getty Images. Laying off Pulitzer Prize winning photographers in favor of handing point and shoot cameras to writers to 'get art' to fill holes. They don't think readers see the difference and keep wondering why subscriptions decline.

Go after the paper but don't be surprised when they won't use anything from you.

The problem is the old ways are "too slow" by the time you submit all of that paperwork etc, they've moved on, they want it NOW it's always been that way for news but now it's even more immediate and the deliver methods don't have a good option for many working professionals. You basically need to be a Paperazzi to make money selling "news" photos now... :(

StoneNYC
18-Mar-2014, 08:57
Big question is a simple one. How much was he PAID for licensing the use of his image? No bank I know accepts credit line or tear sheets for house payments or equipment finance loans.

The OP asked about CREDIT but only the other posters are talking money...

I'm just focused on the OP's concern.

Although I wholeheartedly agree, I would prefer money over a line credit, at the end of the day it would be nice to have one... After 7 years of acting, my IMDb is scarce of anything credited (even when producers told me I was) so, it at least makes you FEEL better. Even if it's a false feeling, there's PROOF of your own work... And that can be somewhat comforting when you're living in your cardboard box in the alley... :/

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 09:12
The idea of adding names as a credit is going away, and in the new world, if you aren't digitslized, you don't exist...

Yeeeah, kind of...

By and large, I and several others I know are not exactly "digitized" and do very much exist, do well. Being digitized is not a sure fire way to success, being the real deal visually speaking and making the right connections with a lot of hard work will likely lead it to it though. What many fail to realize is that if you follow current trends, you are already behind. You have to be ahead of that curve and also do it in a way that really shows you don't give a crap what others think, you are being true to your self. But above all else, you have to be earth shatteringly good, so I suppose that is the really good thing to come of this, the weak will die off, mediocrity is truly a path to starvation.

But the Insta-hype....there is really no way of monetizing this as the creator of the work and in order to find the credible work as the consumer, it is like finding a .10 carat diamond in the Sahara, a flood of WTF awaits you. I think a lot of photo enthusiasts underestimate how utterly off putting the flood of images is to the average consumer, non-photographer. And from a journalistic standpoint, a lot of this stuff is double and triple dipped in "Special Sauce" filtration or worse, it's true origin and intent is lost in translation, because the translation it self is designed solely as eye candy for those precious hits.

Last year, I asked the owner of the Atlantic what he thought would keep truly brilliant visual narrative afloat, the long term in depth reporting stuff. He said private grants and funding, almost nothing else. So we now live in an age where the next set of lifetime story tellers will only be able to keep on by getting grants. It's tough out there, but in some ways that is good, because I only want to see the best work and I only want to see it in places that have gained my respect.

Darin Boville
18-Mar-2014, 09:21
To be frank, I don't find most professional photojournalism to be worth much. I can't see how most of what I see either adds any real value in addition to the text or helps to sell more papers than an amateur photo. I'm not talking New York Times stuff here, just the usual small town paper stuff.

I suspect before digital papers hired people to be "photojournalists" for the simple reason that photography was 1) hard to do reliably, and 2) hard to find photographs shot by anyone other than the guy you hired. That's it. No issue of quality or whatever. Most editors (and most readers) and perfectly happy with a simple, obvious illustration of the text. Article about a parade? Parade shot. Article about business owner. Portrait of business owner at business. Simple template stuff, spiced up with goofy wide angles or low perspective.

If a photo is 1) not hard to get reliably and 2) easy to find free ones (and #2 mitigates any weakness in #1) then why bother with a staffer?

There are exceptions, including the new photographer at my own local paper (seems from the work to be a Strobist kind of guy, most welcome) but I travel a bit and see lots of small town papers. Usually nothing a high school kid couldn't do just as well.

To a large degree the demise of professional photojournalism is the fault of photojournalism itself. (and it will, of course, just get worse.)

--Darin

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 09:27
The OP asked about CREDIT but only the other posters are talking money...

I'm just focused on the OP's concern.

Although I wholeheartedly agree, I would prefer money over a line credit, at the end of the day it would be nice to have one... After 7 years of acting, my IMDb is scarce of anything credited (even when producers told me I was) so, it at least makes you FEEL better. Even if it's a false feeling, there's PROOF of your own work... And that can be somewhat comforting when you're living in your cardboard box in the alley... :/

As was I.

I have exchanged some PM's with the OP this morning, polite and respectful of each other but told him what I am going to tell you.

It costs money to print a paper, the ad revenue of papers like the one the OP submits to and the one I worked for is so great, that the paper is still free to the reader, in 2014. So back before amateurs were tripping over each other for a precious photo credit, the fact that the paper bothered to spend the money printing your photo meant something, it meant that you could very well be paid if you had negotiated it and in my case as a teen in the mid 80's, I *did* negotiate a fee of $15-$25 for "Enterprise Art".

You could take that tear sheet with your credit line and use it to get paid work, for a lot of non-graduates, that was a very real option for breaking in. The reason for this is that editors, art directors and art buyers took it seriously, someone spent money printing your photo, YOU were chosen....

Now they do not and if anything, it often works against you because anyone in the world of photography knows the true meaning of a credit line in 2014, it's a placard under your copy of the photo that makes you feel good in that nostalgic way back when it actually meant something, no one else cares, everyone assumes you gave it away and that says a lot about you to them.

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 09:34
To be frank, I don't find most professional photojournalism to be worth much. I can't see how most of what I see either adds any real value in addition to the text or helps to sell more papers than an amateur photo. I'm not talking New York Times stuff here, just the usual small town paper stuff.

I suspect before digital papers hired people to be "photojournalists" for the simple reason that photography was 1) hard to do reliably, and 2) hard to find photographs shot by anyone other than the guy you hired. That's it. No issue of quality or whatever. Most editors (and most readers) and perfectly happy with a simple, obvious illustration of the text. Article about a parade? Parade shot. Article about business owner. Portrait of business owner at business. Simple template stuff, spiced up with goofy wide angles or low perspective.

If a photo is 1) not hard to get reliably and 2) easy to find free ones (and #2 mitigates any weakness in #1) then why bother with a staffer?

There are exceptions, including the new photographer at my own local paper (seems from the work to be a Strobist kind of guy, most welcome) but I travel a bit and see lots of small town papers. Usually nothing a high school kid couldn't do just as well.

To a large degree the demise of professional photojournalism is the fault of photojournalism itself. (and it will, of course, just get worse.)

--Darin

Bullshit.

You are choosing to look at it that way and that is a one size fits all shoe, not the whole picture so to speak. There are countless Pulitzer winners who started at smaller papers either as interns or fresh grads who did amazing work at those community papers, there is no way you could possibly have seen them all and know all the work. The way they rose to the top was by having larger metro papers take note and by entering clip contests like those sponsored by AP, NPPA, WPPI, etc.

Sure, back before free took over, there was indeed a LOT of bad PJ work out there and even in the heyday, those folks did not go too far. But lets not bury the brilliant work truly talented PJ's did by taking too broad a view of small papers as a whole.

adelorenzo
18-Mar-2014, 10:04
All I can say is I'm glad I'm not a professional photographer. It sounds like it makes you kind of bitter.

I make pictures for my own enjoyment and I work a full time job to pay for my hobby. I guess that makes me an amateur or a 'freetographer' or a 'fauxtographer' or whatever you want to call me. My photos have been used in magazines, newspapers and on websites. For free. In fact anyone in the world is free to use them with attribution because anything I post online is licensed under Creative Commons.

Am I "tripping over myself" for photo credit? No... But if someone wants to use my pictures I expect them to provide proper attribution.

Am I taking paid work away from pros? Maybe although you could argue that there is no shortage of us 'freetographers' out there so if it's not me then it's someone else. Sign of the times.

adelorenzo
18-Mar-2014, 10:07
But the Insta-hype....there is really no way of monetizing this as the creator of the work and in order to find the credible work as the consumer, it is like finding a .10 carat diamond in the Sahara, a flood of WTF awaits you. I think a lot of photo enthusiasts underestimate how utterly off putting the flood of images is to the average consumer, non-photographer. And from a journalistic standpoint, a lot of this stuff is double and triple dipped in "Special Sauce" filtration or worse, it's true origin and intent is lost in translation, because the translation it self is designed solely as eye candy for those precious hits.

Except for the guy who sold $15,000 worth of prints from Instagram (http://petapixel.com/2014/03/08/photographer-makes-15000-single-day-instagram/) in one day. :)

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 10:10
All I can say is I'm glad I'm not a professional photographer. It sounds like it makes you kind of bitter.

If directed at me, no way man, I could not imaging not doing this for a living and it being just a hobby, it would not be nearly as fun, I would not nearly have as much time for it and no where NEAR the creative freedom I have. And since you are on this, what do you do for a living?

If anything, all the negative noise out there is a really good thing for people like me, it convinces the Freetographers to not even bother..:-)

Darin Boville
18-Mar-2014, 10:22
Three or so years ago I was in Kings Canyon and a reporter and photojournalist from the Fresno Bee interviewed me. It was an unusually high pollution day in the park due to nearby Fresno. We chatted for about twenty minutes. While we chatted the photographer photographed me. He made what appeared to be hundreds of images. His camera was on a strap around his neck, his camera high on his belly, and he just sort of aimed it and shot, again and agin, on high speed. Never brought it to his eye. Never lifted it from his body.

The Fresno Bee lists four staff photographers on its web site.

Now go to their web page and look at the images on the home page. Do any of these images really require a professional photojournalist? If so, what added value to they bring to the story aside from simple illustration?

http://www.fresnobee.com

I'm not picking on the Fresno Bee. This is just the state of photojournalism.

--Darin

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 10:30
Three or so years ago I was in Kings Canyon and a reporter and photojournalist from the Fresno Bee interviewed me. It was an unusually high pollution day in the park due to nearby Fresno. We chatted for about twenty minutes. While we chatted the photographer photographed me. He made what appeared to be hundreds of images. His camera was on a strap around his neck, his camera high on his belly, and he just sort of aimed it and shot, again and agin, on high speed. Never brought it to his eye. Never lifted it from his body.

The Fresno Bee lists four staff photographers on its web site.

Now go to their web page and look at the images on the home page. Do any of these images really require a professional photojournalist? If so, what added value to they bring to the story aside from simple illustration?

http://www.fresnobee.com

I'm not picking on the Fresno Bee. This is just the state of photojournalism.

I guess you missed the point I made above. There used to be incentive to do great things as a PJ, but there really is not anymore and that is reflected in what you are seeing now, not pre-digital / internet / 2008 economic crash...get the picture?

jnanian
18-Mar-2014, 10:30
Perhaps your thoughts regarding this matter-------Our local paper has a wide read, hardcover as well as electronic. On occasions, I have submitted images which the paper publishes, however, either lazy edigorial practices or other, there is no photo credit given.

What to do??? I brought up this matter to the editors & no response at this time. The paper is good as are the editors. The majority of my submitted images have "historical content". I believe that my images should be recognized with my bye line. Your thoughts on this matter please.

Raymond

hi raymond

don't give them flat-art but a file,
and add the copyright info / byline yourself using photoshop.
if the image is copyrighted the symbol ( ©* ) is option g on a mac,
and it seems on a pc it is something like alt 0169 ( number pad )
or c alt control c with the keyboard ... and flatten image
and then you will automatically give yourself credit.

if you wait for the managing editor to do it, it probably won't happen ...
a lot of small papers are busy trying to stay afloat,
send reporters out with p/s cameras and are happy when locals
get involved and submit work.

good luck

john

Kirk Gittings
18-Mar-2014, 10:34
Except for the guy who sold $15,000 worth of prints from Instagram (http://petapixel.com/2014/03/08/photographer-makes-15000-single-day-instagram/) in one day. :)

Doesn't appear to be any independent confirmation of these claims.........

I say that because I am a bit cynical about artists/photographers claims about sales. Amongst other experiences I used to belong to the local ASMP and sit through meetings where seemingly "successful" photographers went on and on about the fees they were getting, their very restrictive licensing etc. A bunch of Silver Back Males dominated every meeting. Then I got into a competitive proposal situation with these guys-unusual because I am an architecture specialist. I contacted the client who was a friend of mine and asked him how I did. He said I was the highest. I said "really". That totally surprised me based on what I had been hearing for years at the meetings. So I asked him to see the proposals. Lo and behold they were giving up the farm. What a bunch of bullshitters. I left ASMP and never looked back. This is just one of many experiences that made me leery of believing photographers income claims. Another was learning about a top gallery in Santa Fe creating fake sales of work to straw collectors to provide documentation to inflate the selling price of an artist. I could go on and on.

Kodachrome25
18-Mar-2014, 10:43
Doesn't appear to be any independent confirmation of these claims.........

I say that because I am a bit cynical about artists/photographers claims about sales. Amongst other experiences I used to belong to the local ASMP and sit through meetings where seemingly "successful" photographers went on and on about the fees they were getting, their very restrictive licensing etc. A bunch of Silver Back Males dominated every meeting. Then I got into a competitive proposal situation with these guys-unusual because I am an architecture specialist. I contacted the client who was a friend of mine and asked him how I did. He said I was the highest. I said "really". That totally surprised me based on what I had been hearing for years at the meetings. So I asked him to see the proposals. Lo and behold they were giving up the farm. What a bunch of bullshitters. I left ASMP and never looked back. This is just one of many experiences that made me leery of believing photographers income claims. Another was learning about a top gallery in Santa Fe creating fake sales of work to straw collectors to provide documentation to inflate the selling price of an artist. I could go on and on.

ASMP became a odd duck way, way before all the crap hit the fan, I was a member of the LA chapter, lots of BS being blown for sure. Now you have Richard Weisgrau posting on dpreview for pete's sake...

A bunch of us local shooters have a private page on Facebook in which we are fairly open about this kind of stuff. Not everyone in the valley is on the page, usually the low ballers are absent. We often refer work, assistant referrals, talent, etc. It's a good thing, we are a tight if not competitive bunch.

So one day, one of the more successful members posts a warning about a low-ball job for what is basically an advertorial job for the biggest paper in the country, a real estate fluff piece that would require two full days of hectic paced interiors and exteriors. I'm not going to say how low it was but it was flat out offensive. Most of us passed, not my genre anyway. But one guy who we "thought" was a solid earner and set respectable fees did the job, it was easy to find a couple weeks down the road because of the nuances of it and the publish date, it had his name all over it, poor guy.

You just never know....

To be completely honest and open about it, I do what I think is just ok, gross about 75 to 90K per year since crash of 08, I did about 105 to 130K before then, mostly stock and on location ad work. My wife pulls in about double what I do net in working for a major medical firm so we do well as a team, no kids, not a lot of debt. God bless the woman too because she is fully telling me to do nothing but fine art and I am working my ass off to make that happen or bail on photography entirely. I am giving my self 5 years to get it to where I think it should be...

Kirk Gittings
18-Mar-2014, 11:22
I finally hit bottom 2012 at 1/2 what I was making in 2008 from my commercial work. Rebounding slowly. I have to admit I took some shitty jobs just to keep my name out there and my assistant from living in his truck. fees are still down some. The one saving grace was I raised the price on my B&W prints in the recession and sales increased-saved my bacon one winter when I had virtually no commercial work due to winter landscaping blues but the biggest sale of my b&w ever.

Darin Boville
18-Mar-2014, 13:21
I guess you missed the point I made above. There used to be incentive to do great things as a PJ, but there really is not anymore and that is reflected in what you are seeing now, not pre-digital / internet / 2008 economic crash...get the picture?

And the point I was making, boiled down to its harsh essence, is that if PJs hadn't by and large been coasting along and doing such shitty work for so many years then amateur snapshot photos wouldn't have replaced their work so easily. I'm talking about all the ho-hum in work the pre-digital period that left the field weak. Get the picture?

--Darin

Kirk Gittings
18-Mar-2014, 13:25
I'm not so sure. I know some of the shooters at THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL and their workload for decades is that most assignments only allow for something d&d before digital and after. The primo assignments (from a photographers POV) were always taken by the senior shooter. He got both the time to do it right and the inspirational assignments.