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Richard Wasserman
13-Jan-2015, 09:01
I received an email yesterday from a filmmaker who is making a short film about the ins and outs of appraising art for various purposes for a client who is an art appraiser and consultant. He wanted permission to use one of my photos in the film and was generous enough to offer me credit for it. He assured me that the film was not for commercial gain—how is that possible? I replied that if he was willing to pay me, which I don't think he is, let's talk. If not, I suggested that he speak with his client who also does consulting work with photographers, and I think would be the first one to agree with me that photographers should be paid. I'm pretty sure he is being paid also....

Larry Kellogg
13-Jan-2015, 09:13
This video from Harlan Ellison, entitled "Pay the Writer", crossed my mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

Richard Wasserman
13-Jan-2015, 09:26
Perfect—What a great rant!


This video from Harlan Ellison, entitled "Pay the Writer", crossed my mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

toyotadesigner
13-Jan-2015, 10:40
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JI3Df7-KFtw

http://vimeo.com/22053820

http://vimeo.com/23422082

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JI3Df7-KFtw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhalmKt1IXU&sns=em

Will S
13-Jan-2015, 12:51
Uh-oh. Now you have to pay Harlan since you posted a link to his video.

Larry Kellogg
13-Jan-2015, 13:33
Uh-oh. Now you have to pay Harlan since you posted a link to his video.

That's not Harlan's video, it was done by a guy named Nicholas Horton. Perhaps Nicholas crossed Harlan's palm with silver to get the rights to distribute it, I don't know.

Leszek Vogt
13-Jan-2015, 13:36
Richard, just to underline your position, you may want to send Harlan's video. I see this bs on CL every day....and people get bit irate when you remind them that they are being paid. Hello ? Working for a film credit
is fine for students. Indeed, too much abuse out there....

Les

koh303
13-Jan-2015, 15:33
I received an email yesterday from a filmmaker who is making a short film about the ins and outs of appraising art for various purposes for a client who is an art appraiser and consultant. He wanted permission to use one of my photos in the film and was generous enough to offer me credit for it. He assured me that the film was not for commercial gain—how is that possible? I replied that if he was willing to pay me, which I don't think he is, let's talk. If not, I suggested that he speak with his client who also does consulting work with photographers, and I think would be the first one to agree with me that photographers should be paid. I'm pretty sure he is being paid also....

I guess you are well known and well paid as Harlan Ellison, and you can just push away that kind of offer.

Thanks to free market capitalism, for most other mere mortals, that is the only way to get a foot in the door (see: internships).

That is not to say anyone, or you should give away your work for nothing, but - its always worth to evaluate the situation. Will you get fame and fortune from such an offer? i doubt it. Will the makers get fame and fortune for getting something from you for free? I doubt it. Will their work be so much better with your photo? Who knows.

Jac@stafford.net
13-Jan-2015, 15:54
Uh-oh. Now you have to pay Harlan since you posted a link to his video.

:) Harlan Ellison was God to my brother, a writer, and me back when Ellison was just over the hump to be recognized. Hanging out with my brother in his home in Berkeley he called Harlan. He was listed. I was dumfounded as they spoke for over half an hour. I don't think we could do that today.

Aside: In one of his Dangerous Visions anthologies he exceeded his own characterization by writing (paraphrased) "... Barry Weissman's submission about a snot vampire was rejected outright. Now you can call on me for a having a closed mind."

Larry Kellogg
13-Jan-2015, 18:46
Great story, I've always been a big fan of Harlan Ellison's stories. I think Harlan worked his way up from the bottom, at ten cents a page, if I recall correctly. I don't blame him for standing up for the right to be paid for his work.

Iluvmyviewcam
14-Jan-2015, 06:26
If he is making a film he should be able to offer you a small honorarium for use of your pix. No matter how you cut it it cost $ to make a film. If he is that cheap, send him to the Wiki Commons.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/Uffizi_Gallery_-_Daughter_of_Niobe_bent_by_terror.jpg/1024px-Uffizi_Gallery_-_Daughter_of_Niobe_bent_by_terror.jpg

24 million photos for free he can use.

Richard Wasserman
14-Jan-2015, 08:13
I was hoping to hear back from by now, but so far nothing. It looks as if yet another chance for fame and fortune has slipped through my fingers. What I find surprising, but I suppose I really shouldn't, is that he's making this film for someone who would be the first to say that photographers deserve to be paid for their efforts. It would be nice if they have this conversation.

rjphil
14-Jan-2015, 10:00
I had a similar situation last year. A good client (very well known) wanted to use an image (online only) for a music CD they had recorded. Actually, they wanted me to come up with a "couple of designs" they could pick from. I said - "Now for the ugly question, what is the budget for this?" (Already guessed the answer) - "No money for this, no way to add credit, but can you help us out?" - Um, no. They're still a good client, but I held firm on it, knowing that one time can turn in to 2 or 3 or ...

goamules
14-Jan-2015, 12:20
Content providers are now considered volunteer positions. Perhaps because of the Internet, where there is so much free stuff, users figure if an artist wants money, they can just tell him no, and find something for free. You know, on the internet. Many sites, businesses, blogs, and a generation of Internet users figures they can just hack or "borrow" any content they need, so why pay?

What content? Writers are typically not paid, or paid very poorly, in most hobby and trade magazines. You are supposed to be wowed by the fact you are "in print" and just not expect money. Same with photographers in many situations. Because digital cameras are as common as a toaster (more so), the idea of paying someone to wield such a user friendly device is preposterous. To them. Public speaking is another content area where you are expected to volunteer your time, to teach others what required you years to learn. Many of us are asked to "show a few of us a demonstration" which becomes a fullbore workshop. I have a friend who will go unnamed who is an expert LF photographer. Another friend calls him several times a year, asking to bring over a few students or colleagues or people he is trying to impress. The photographer is then expected to spend several hours demonstrating all aspects of the Large Format process. Those people basically just got a free workshop.

With billions of people on the planet, connected with instantaneous information and communication, the worth of an individual is very low. And I fear will just get lower as we go on.

Larry Kellogg
14-Jan-2015, 12:59
It looks pretty bleak, Garrett, I agree.

Here is an excerpt from Rosanne Cash's testimony to Congress related to artists right's:

"I have been publicly critical about the payment structures streaming services currently offer artists. For example, for an 18 month period, there were nearly 600,000 streams of my songs on a popular subscription site. I was paid $114.00 for those streams." from:

http://www.americansongwriter.com/2014/06/songwriter-u-rosanne-cash-testifies-congress-defense-artists-rights/

If 600,000 plays of Rosanne Cash's music commands such a paltry sum, where does that leave all the other musicians who are less well known? Clearly, the streaming companies have set up the systems to profit a few people at the expense of the many.

I photographed a local musician for a narrative portraiture class, and the situation is bleak for those who are not big names. Selling a few physical prints of this guy would give him more profit than any of the digital distribution systems.

Kodachrome25
14-Jan-2015, 15:47
Content providers are now considered volunteer positions. Perhaps because of the Internet, where there is so much free stuff, users figure if an artist wants money, they can just tell him no, and find something for free. You know, on the internet. Many sites, businesses, blogs, and a generation of Internet users figures they can just hack or "borrow" any content they need, so why pay?

What content? Writers are typically not paid, or paid very poorly, in most hobby and trade magazines. You are supposed to be wowed by the fact you are "in print" and just not expect money. Same with photographers in many situations. Because digital cameras are as common as a toaster (more so), the idea of paying someone to wield such a user friendly device is preposterous. To them. Public speaking is another content area where you are expected to volunteer your time, to teach others what required you years to learn. Many of us are asked to "show a few of us a demonstration" which becomes a fullbore workshop. I have a friend who will go unnamed who is an expert LF photographer. Another friend calls him several times a year, asking to bring over a few students or colleagues or people he is trying to impress. The photographer is then expected to spend several hours demonstrating all aspects of the Large Format process. Those people basically just got a free workshop.

With billions of people on the planet, connected with instantaneous information and communication, the worth of an individual is very low. And I fear will just get lower as we go on.

Man, what was I thinking buying all this gear, expect lots of great deals the classifieds tomorrow!
Thanks for the tip...;)

goamules
14-Jan-2015, 16:07
It looks pretty bleak, Garrett, I agree.

Here is an excerpt from Rosanne Cash's testimony to Congress related to artists right's:

"I have been publicly critical about the payment structures streaming services currently offer artists. For example, for an 18 month period, there were nearly 600,000 streams of my songs on a popular subscription site. I was paid $114.00 for those streams." from:

http://www.americansongwriter.com/2014/06/songwriter-u-rosanne-cash-testifies-congress-defense-artists-rights/

If 600,000 plays of Rosanne Cash's music commands such a paltry sum, where does that leave all the other musicians who are less well known? Clearly, the streaming companies have set up the systems to profit a few people at the expense of the many.

I photographed a local musician for a narrative portraiture class, and the situation is bleak for those who are not big names. Selling a few physical prints of this guy would give him more profit than any of the digital distribution systems.

Oh yeah, I forgot about music as content! The golden period for musicians was between the late 1950s, when they learned not to get screwed too bad by the record labels, and the 2000s, when downloadable music stopped the current generation from buying music off the shelf. There are a few musicians who still make money, but it's the 1%ers compared to the 1970s and 80s.

Pawlowski6132
15-Jan-2015, 08:45
I was hoping to hear back from by now, but so far nothing. It looks as if yet another chance for fame and fortune has slipped through my fingers. What I find surprising, but I suppose I really shouldn't, is that he's making this film for someone who would be the first to say that photographers deserve to be paid for their efforts. It would be nice if they have this conversation.

Nobody asked you to take that picture so why should you be paid for your efforts? He's paying you a compliment by wanting to put your picture in his movie. That should be payment enough. I, for one (it seems) would gladly have agreed to let him use it, no charge.

He is still going to make his movie and prolly find another picture to use. You have nothing. Are you really better off NOW than you would have been had you let him use your image in his film??

analoguey
15-Jan-2015, 08:59
I certainly hope the commenter above is being sarcastic!

I was asked recently by a (online seller of) handloom and handicrafts start-up to take photographs of their items for cataloging with models.
On being asked the budget - 'we can't afford to pay'.
This from someone who will use those images to make money!!

Pawlowski6132
15-Jan-2015, 09:32
I certainly hope the commenter above is being sarcastic!

I was asked recently by a (online seller of) handloom and handicrafts start-up to take photographs of their items for cataloging with models.
On being asked the budget - 'we can't afford to pay'.
This from someone who will use those images to make money!!

Not being sarcastic at all. Your situation compared to the OP is apples to oranges.

Richard Wasserman
15-Jan-2015, 09:59
I strongly disagree. My refusal had little to do with the money itself, and everything to do with the principle that photographers simply need to be paid for their work. Obviously I wasn't commissioned to take the photo, but it is mine, I own it. Also to a great extent the fact that many photographers who are more than happy to give their work away for free has caused the collapse of the market. Too many people are surprised now when a photographer expects payment, even though they themselves are being paid (sometimes handsomely) for their work.

Just so you know, I am not a complete newbie at this. I owned an unrelated business for 25 years, have had a book of my photography published in 2012, and am currently partnered with Loyola University, Chicago on a project exploring the ramifications of the use and misuse of eminent domain. When I owned my business no one came to me asking if I would work for free.

Co
Nobody asked you to take that picture so why should you be paid for your efforts? He's paying you a compliment by wanting to put your picture in his movie. That should be payment enough. I, for one (it seems) would gladly have agreed to let him use it, no charge.

He is still going to make his movie and prolly find another picture to use. You have nothing. Are you really better off NOW than you would have been had you let him use your image in his film??

Jac@stafford.net
15-Jan-2015, 10:15
Nobody asked you to take that picture so why should you be paid for your efforts?

So much for stock photographers, documentary photographers, creative persons exploring novel approaches.

My most profitable image was done for my own interest.
.

Pawlowski6132
15-Jan-2015, 10:43
So much for stock photographers, documentary photographers, creative persons exploring novel approaches.

My most profitable image was done for my own interest.
.

Good point.

I'm just sharing my perspective. I don't work for free either and am not advocating it.

But if someone thought one of my images were good enough to use in a documentary, and they were going to make a few bucks in the process, I don't have any problem with it.

I'm not as principled. More pragmatic.

Jac@stafford.net
15-Jan-2015, 10:57
I'm not as principled. More pragmatic.

Pragmatism is good. Today I wish some folks around here would take up show shoveling as an Art. I would happily let them do my walk and driveway for exposure - as long as they don't sign it by writing their name in the snow. :)
.

Corran
15-Jan-2015, 11:45
There are certainly abuses, such as asking someone to do a catalog shoot for free. That's ridiculous. However in that situation the photos is the primary means of communication between the retailer and potential customers. We all know how important photos are for selling items!

That's not the situation described in the OP though. Now I'm not advocating that you should've given the image, but, it sounds like something that was really not that important in the long run for the movie, especially if the movie was truly a simple not-for-profit production. Other mitigating factors would be if you knew the person or if you felt strongly about the production. The image probably would not make or break the production, right?

My point is that it's not black and white. For example I produced a CD last year for a local choir. I was also doing the graphic design for the CD cover art. I thought the director had some images in mind but she didn't. Long story short, I used a couple of images I had taken at the church years ago for the front and back cover art. Now I didn't get "paid" for the images, just the design, but I didn't squabble over it because it was irrelevant and I knew her and was happy to provide the images (especially happy to have them on-hand and not have to do extra work taking/editing images). I have done similar things for the college here - I gave them some images to use for an advertisement banner because I believed it was a good cause and a good usage of the image so I had no problem with it. They would've used a different image if I had not allowed that from the stock of images available from the university archives. I would gain nothing but a bit of animosity from the department.

But there are certainly times where you have to stand up and say "no."

Richard Wasserman
15-Jan-2015, 12:28
Except that this film is definitely being done for profit, ironically for someone who does business consultation work with photographers among others. Everyone would be making a profit but me. Doesn't strike me as right. I'm happy not being in a short video on a website that a few people will see and sticking up for my principles and other photographers—I'm not that desperate for a bit of lousy publicity.



There are certainly abuses, such as asking someone to do a catalog shoot for free. That's ridiculous. However in that situation the photos is the primary means of communication between the retailer and potential customers. We all know how important photos are for selling items!

That's not the situation described in the OP though. Now I'm not advocating that you should've given the image, but, it sounds like something that was really not that important in the long run for the movie, especially if the movie was truly a simple not-for-profit production. Other mitigating factors would be if you knew the person or if you felt strongly about the production. The image probably would not make or break the production, right?

My point is that it's not black and white. For example I produced a CD last year for a local choir. I was also doing the graphic design for the CD cover art. I thought the director had some images in mind but she didn't. Long story short, I used a couple of images I had taken at the church years ago for the front and back cover art. Now I didn't get "paid" for the images, just the design, but I didn't squabble over it because it was irrelevant and I knew her and was happy to provide the images (especially happy to have them on-hand and not have to do extra work taking/editing images). I have done similar things for the college here - I gave them some images to use for an advertisement banner because I believed it was a good cause and a good usage of the image so I had no problem with it. They would've used a different image if I had not allowed that from the stock of images available from the university archives. I would gain nothing but a bit of animosity from the department.

But there are certainly times where you have to stand up and say "no."

BarryS
15-Jan-2015, 12:44
Agreed, there's a fundamental difference between volunteering your work for a cause or organization you want to support vs. getting used by a commercial venture. The great thing about saying no to unpaid work is the word eventually gets out and most people stop asking you to work for free. One particularly galling experience was being asked by a high profile PR firm in downtown DC to photograph their holiday party for nothing. When I started to discuss my fee, they literally had nothing to say. So, tell me again why I want to haul a bunch of equipment downtown and spend all night working for well-paid strangers for free?

Corran
15-Jan-2015, 12:50
I agree with you Richard, I'm just saying there may be times where providing an image freely may in fact be understandable.

Richard Wasserman
15-Jan-2015, 12:59
Of course! I've done it myself to support organizations I endorse.



I agree with you Richard, I'm just saying there may be times where providing an image freely may in fact be understandable.

gleaf
17-Jan-2015, 22:46
The ledger of benefit to you is yours not theirs. Wonders of free advertising if I can use it for free... well I need to reshoot that.. Let me borrow your car, credit card for lodging meals and fuel.. and consumables and processing... right away you'll know their true value on free stuff. Are you glad you don't live in the phone returning to cradle with a slam era.

Moopheus
18-Jan-2015, 11:09
He is still going to make his movie and prolly find another picture to use. You have nothing. Are you really better off NOW than you would have been had you let him use your image in his film??

That's assuming the photo even makes it in the movie. Once when I was involved in a small press magazine, I got a call from a director (well, their assistant, of course, really), asking me to mock up a fictitious prize to give to the fictitious author character in the film. I agreed to do it, I liked the director's work and it was a situation where the possible exposure really would have been something. But it was cut and the character changed to where it wasn't needed. So I went out of my way for them and got bupkis.

Greg Miller
18-Jan-2015, 16:42
I think the "but you'll get credit" or "you'll get exposure" statements are B.S. The likelihood of getting paid work from a credit or the exposure is slim to none. No-one hires a photographer after seeing one photo, especially one used in a movie.

When I get this type of request, I always point out that others are getting paid, and I expect to get paid. If they balk, then they really didn't value to photo that much anyways, which diminishes the value of the usage even more.

If I was an amateur photographer with no photos published, then I might be inclined to give away an image that would be in a movie. But as someone who relies on the income photography generates, I would be sending a very wrong message to my clients if I gave away usage of a photo. The only time I do that is for non-profit organizations whose mission I believe in, and usually also hire me for assignment work on a regular basis.

toyotadesigner
18-Jan-2015, 21:59
I think the "but you'll get credit" or "you'll get exposure" statements are B.S. The likelihood of getting paid work from a credit or the exposure is slim to none. No-one hires a photographer after seeing one photo, especially one used in a movie.

You have nailed it. This is by far the best answer with an 'attitude to survive' in this thread.

Kodachrome25
18-Jan-2015, 23:06
You have nailed it. This is by far the best answer with an 'attitude to survive' in this thread.


But the thing is he also mentions if he were an amateur he might be inclined to let them use the image....

At the end of the day and especially in this day and age, someone who needs an image asking for free use of it will never ever do anything more than simply take advantage of a pre-digital notion that exposure all on its own is actually worth something. And that is what a fair number amateurs almost never seem to get now, unless you got paid, trade of some kind....buddy, you got *Nothing*.

toyotadesigner
18-Jan-2015, 23:21
Hm, I just imagine I would walk into the next door bakery and tell them to give me some buns for free, because I want to include them in my images. Or the situation where I walk into the next Mercedes Benz showroom and ask for a 560 AMG for free because I intend to include that car into my images.

You all know what the answer will be... Buzz off kid!

Kodachrome25
19-Jan-2015, 01:13
For laughs...128279

Greg Miller
19-Jan-2015, 06:58
But the thing is he also mentions if he were an amateur he might be inclined to let them use the image....

At the end of the day and especially in this day and age, someone who needs an image asking for free use of it will never ever do anything more than simply take advantage of a pre-digital notion that exposure all on its own is actually worth something. And that is what a fair number amateurs almost never seem to get now, unless you got paid, trade of some kind....buddy, you got *Nothing*.

I guess I should clarify the amateur part of this. I actually don't encourage amateurs to do this. It does hurt professionals who must charge for their services or go out of business. But I can understand how an amateur that has been approached by a movie company who wanted to use their photo could be excited by the idea. Many amateurs fantasize by being discovered out of the blue, and this scenario is similar to that. In their mind the money is less important than the validation and recognition.

Jim Jones
19-Jan-2015, 09:42
We also might consider the value of cooperation and generosity. I grew up on a farm in the 1940s when we helped our neighbors and they helped us. It was the only way we could feed the nation. Then I joined the Navy, and for the next 20 years it was again, "One for all, and all for one". While I sell some photos, much of my photography is pro bono work for the local school and others. While some people complain that the government doesn't provide enough support for schools, others pitch in and help. Professional sports is big business: small school sports is a collaborative effort by many. "From each according to their ability; to each according to their need," worked well until governments started dictating who had the means and who had the need. Forums like this would collapse if everyone who provided useful information demanded payment.

Kodachrome25
19-Jan-2015, 09:54
I guess I should clarify the amateur part of this. I actually don't encourage amateurs to do this. It does hurt professionals who must charge for their services or go out of business. But I can understand how an amateur that has been approached by a movie company who wanted to use their photo could be excited by the idea. Many amateurs fantasize by being discovered out of the blue, and this scenario is similar to that. In their mind the money is less important than the validation and recognition.

I figured that is what you meant. It's just the fantasy part that makes me laugh, in 99% of cases where someone wants a free photo said exposure is pretty much worthless and yet most enthusiasts turn a blind eye to it.

There are no doubt cases that donations are entirely and respectfully appropriate and result in genuinely admirable outcomes. But the vast majority of the time the results are in line with the cartoon I posted above....folks are not only dreaming but are looking tragically out of place in being *that* desperate to find purpose in life for their photographs that harken to a day long gone in which exposure alone made a freebie a sure bet.

Some of the posts on the first two pages practically ( especially #18 ) reek of disdain for professionals by those who know darn well they don't stand a snow ball's chance in a oven in ever selling a photo. It's nasty ignorance, like some kind of "why should you get paid when so much is had for free?"

I generally stay out of these topics for most of these reasons...

Greg Miller
19-Jan-2015, 10:41
I figured that is what you meant. It's just the fantasy part that makes me laugh, in 99% of cases where someone wants a free photo said exposure is pretty much worthless and yet most enthusiasts turn a blind eye to it.

There are no doubt cases that donations are entirely and respectfully appropriate and result in genuinely admirable outcomes. But the vast majority of the time the results are in line with the cartoon I posted above....folks are not only dreaming but are looking tragically out of place in being *that* desperate to find purpose in life for their photographs that harken to a day long gone in which exposure alone made a freebie a sure bet.

Some of the posts on the first two pages practically ( especially #18 ) reek of disdain for professionals by those who know darn well they don't stand a snow ball's chance in a oven in ever selling a photo. It's nasty ignorance, like some kind of "why should you get paid when so much is had for free?"

I generally stay out of these topics for most of these reasons...

Agreed.