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War on photographers: no advance, no retreat. Just keep shooting.
March 19, 2009 11:38 AM   Subscribe

Commercial artists have always had it tough, and photographers are no exception. Magazines are folding. Advertising is down. And to make things worse, this week large companies like Omnicom and GM shifted the financial burden to the artist. Some say production insurance, commonly used in film, is the answer. Others recommend fighting the already bad contracts by demanding payment before usage rights are released. Of course, if things go wrong you can always file for bankruptcy.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains (56 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
But we have Flickr now! No need for paid photographers!
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


...and a friend in the porn site business tells me that his site has taken a steep downward turn as a result of the economic downturn. I guess though that there will not be bailout money for such things, though stimulus might help us all.
posted by Postroad at 12:20 PM on March 19, 2009


Asking for permission is so last century. And photos want to be free.

How many magazines can there really be for any given hobby? Some are unique collections of things (Wired, for example), but looking at the great magazine die-off, it seems like so many were glossy Get X Quick articles. Get organized, get ripped abs, get him/her hot, get hot new looks, get a better golf swing. How much is really new information? Fashion changes, but there are a lot of fashion mags. But the rest seems pretty static, just rerun with different graphics (thus paying photographers).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:25 PM on March 19, 2009


Releases? WTF are releases?
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on March 19, 2009


My SO is a commercial photographer, and there is jack shit as far as work right now.
posted by brundlefly at 12:35 PM on March 19, 2009


If this discourages the hordes of people who imagine themselves to photographers because they plunked down the money for an SLR camera, then good.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Asking for permission is so last century. And photos want to be free.

This is a joke, right? Because if you are not joking it means that this era is now heralding the death of art.

Anyway, as a society or culture we need to rethink how we pay artists. Without patronage, Shakespeare would never have been able to produce what he did. We need to start supporting art for art's sake (instead of commercial return).
posted by KokuRyu at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2009


T-Shirts!
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on March 19, 2009


We need to start supporting art for art's sake (instead of commercial return).

Whatever, as long it looks good on the living room wall and matches the couch.

In short, there isn't a damn reason why artists should be supported because they're artists, people should buy their stuff because they like it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:56 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this discourages the hordes of people who imagine themselves to photographers because they plunked down the money for an SLR camera, then good.

LOL. Don't you get it? Those are the brave vanguards of our new DIY future! Training and professionalism are broken concepts, left-over from an elitist mind-set that held back true innovation and creativity for personal profit! EVERYONE is an photographer now!

Of course, it doesn't help that, other than the large, corporate clients, fewer and fewer clients see the value in what a professional photog provides. It's just a picture. Get your nephew to take a picture.

(It's happening in graphic design, too. Every kid with a cracked copy of Photoshop is a "designer" now.)
posted by Thorzdad at 12:57 PM on March 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


omnicom (the owner of a former employer of mine) tried first and foremost to push that change of practice through with production houses. the way especially film shoots work is the agency fronts the money for a campaign and the client pays them back. omnicom wanted to change that so that production houses would themselves only get paid once the agencies had received the funds. it's passing the buck. they failed to get this through in the UK and chances are it won't happen in the US either. it's a brand new development and by no means set in stone. this died because the main production houses (who represent certain directors and photographers on their roster) made it clear they wouldn't work for omc agencies anymore if this were to pass.

I'm a creative. my job is to produce campaigns. it begins with me choosing a photographer and ends with me working on the images pretty much on the plane back. this whole "no rights release until payment" would pull me into contract negotiations I currently don't have any stake in. I don't discuss monetary matters with vendors, we have departments that are supposed to take care of that. all that matters to me is that I make my publication deadline. this is a crucial point because what demanding money first is suggesting is that you're going to make my life more difficult for someone else's failures. you are requiring me to do additional work to please you. given how many photographers I can work with (the last shoot I did had me looking at close to 200 portfolios and listen to pitches from sixteen of those photographers) I'd say the only outcome possible is for you to lose the income. we are not talking a few bucks here, a full-fledged commercial shoot can easily cost $50k/day, a third of which would be photographers fees, a budget quite a few magazine shoots run through in even less time.

If this discourages the hordes of people who imagine themselves to photographers because they plunked down the money for an SLR camera, then good.
what are you, an elitist snob or a fool?
posted by krautland at 12:57 PM on March 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


what are you, an elitist snob or a fool?

Why does it have to be either/or? And, I see Thorzdad's point.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:59 PM on March 19, 2009


Annie Leibovitz is bankrupt.
posted by theroadahead at 1:01 PM on March 19, 2009


Thorzdad - Crowdspring agrees, though they're looking for every grandma in Tennessee with a bunch of free time and Adobe Illustrator.

KokuRyu - yes, I was joking, mocking the "__ Wants To Be Free!" battlecry of the digital-age kids and people who think a gift economy can start up whenever it feels like it.

SLR is not necessary for decent-to-amazing pictures. SLR makes it easier to really understand what you're capturing, but consumer and prosumer grade cameras without SLR can capture some great stuff. The megapixel war is over, and the focus will now be on color accuracy and low-light performance. Which means that at some level, fairly inexpensive and almost basic cameras have the ability to capture suitable print images, but the set-up, framing, post production and all that is still necessary (and is still something gained through classes, time in the field, critical review, etc). The masses have the tools to make their own news with great pictures, but the tools alone are not sufficient.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:07 PM on March 19, 2009


In the future all magazines will use art stolen from DeviantArt, which will itself have been stolen from elsewhere, and it will be awesome.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2009


It's happening in graphic design, too. Every kid with a cracked copy of Photoshop is a "designer" now
and right they are. that degree on your wall isn't worth duck shite. all that matters is what you have in your portfolio.

also: adobe sucks donkey balls. one should think their idiotic licensing plans would provide enough income to actually put out a solid product but cs4 is the buggiest, shittiest piece of software around. they deserve to be screwed by the kids.
posted by krautland at 1:08 PM on March 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Thorzdad: " it doesn't help that, other than the large, corporate clients, fewer and fewer clients see the value in what a professional photog provides. "

My sister-in-law - a very nice lady - is a professional photographer. So, all other things being equal, I'd like to see the profession do well.

But if a corporation doesn't consider professional photography worth what what is being charged for it, that seems to be their decision to make. And if going cheap ends up hurting their bottom line - and they can't see it - they probably won't survive long as a company anyway.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:13 PM on March 19, 2009


Annie Leibovitz is bankrupt.
you don't know that and the article doesn't claim that. she's just in peril. it's a knockoff piece from the nyt, btw.

The megapixel war is over, and the focus will now be on color accuracy and low-light performance.
bullshit. digital cameras are a mass-market now. watch for the numbers to inch higher-and-higher and the fonts advertising them become pinker and pinker. the most popular camera of tomorrow will have a mascot. tony the digital tiger is on your porch, shooting your boobies.
posted by krautland at 1:14 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the problems with this is that Omnicom is requiring that the production house (or photographer) pay for the production out of pocket -- no advance for expenses -- essentially bankrolling the project for the client. Then they have to wait until Omnicom gets paid to get paid back. So they are using the production house and photographer as a bank. It's not a good precedent to set.
posted by gingembre at 1:19 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry, then. How about Annie Leibovitz is in peril? Either way, things aren't good.
posted by theroadahead at 1:25 PM on March 19, 2009


theroadahead: "How about Annie Leibovitz is in peril?"

Judging from gossip I've read on the Internet - and what surer lodestar could one have? - the appropriate reaction would be: "Good".
posted by Joe Beese at 1:29 PM on March 19, 2009


"In short, there isn't a damn reason why artists should be supported because they're artists, people should buy their stuff because they like it."

There is a good argument to be made for public funding of the arts. But commercial art is not in the same realm, really, which is the subject of the post.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:31 PM on March 19, 2009


krautland: "this is a crucial point because what demanding money first is suggesting is that you're going to make my life more difficult for someone else's failures."

But you and your accounting department are, from a vender's point of view, one entity. Part of corporate life is that someone else's failures will frequently make your professional life more difficult. As someone who works with agencies, I sympathize with the challenge, but having venders finance the production is also going to make your life more difficult, as it will either (1) raise your costs as the financing expenses are passed back up, (2) delay your shoots as contract wrangling takes longer, or (3) limit your choices to those that are willing to try to finance for the agency (which might also produce more implosions.)
posted by bclark at 1:35 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


At the magazine that employs me, we have seen an enormous spike in the number of approaches from photographers, writers, illustrators and sub-editors looking for work. It's tough out there. The arts and trades supported by print journalism are under horrible pressure.
posted by WPW at 1:39 PM on March 19, 2009


"Commercial artist?"

There's a big difference between a magazine photographer and an artist. The technical skill that it takes to take "nice pictures" can be learned by anyone who can learn.

I realize this isn't squarely on topic, but words that are inapplicable are being thrown around.
posted by cmoj at 2:03 PM on March 19, 2009


Gingembre hits the nail on the head. You're talking about large corporations expecting photographers/ producers to finance their ad shoots to the tune of literally 100's of thousands of dollars. And not only that but to finance a shoot for an auto firm that may file for bankruptcy and leave the photographer/ producer on the hook for the fees without any repayment.

I don't know a single commercial photographer that would be willing to take on such a burden. Even if a photographer wanted to work for free they won't have the ability to finance the expenses.

And btw, Annie is in financial trouble due to her involvement in Susan Sontag's estate. Trust me, Annie ain't hurting for work.
posted by photoslob at 2:20 PM on March 19, 2009


One of the problems with this is that Omnicom is requiring that the production house (or photographer) pay for the production out of pocket -- no advance for expenses -- essentially bankrolling the project for the client. Then they have to wait until Omnicom gets paid to get paid back. So they are using the production house and photographer as a bank. It's not a good precedent to set.

This is already how some magazines have been operating for a while. Some accounting asshole who takes a paycheck home every Friday figured out that they can just make the photographer pay for everything and then spend 30.. 60.. 90.. no wait, whenever we feel like sending a check, while the individual sits around accruing interest on their credit cards and praying they can make their rent. It's an interest free loan for them, using working artists as their own personal bank. The disdain that some organizations have for the contributors who fill the pages between ads for deodorant and cheap liquor is amazing sometimes.

The fact that editorial rates haven't changed in decades just makes this even more ridiculous, it doesn't surprise me that ad agencies are trying to get in on this game. I don't have the exact number in front of me, but I read an article recently where someone calculated out what editorial rates should be considering inflation and it was like triple what I was paid recently for the largest editorial job I'd ever shot.

"Commercial artist?"

There's a big difference between a magazine photographer and an artist. The technical skill that it takes to take "nice pictures" can be learned by anyone who can learn.


As someone who shoots editorial jobs for the creative freedom the assignments give (as opposed to say actual "commercial" and advertising jobs), let me be the first to say fuck you.
posted by bradbane at 2:21 PM on March 19, 2009 [5 favorites]


"How about Annie Leibovitz is in peril?"

Judging from gossip I've read on the Internet - and what surer lodestar could one have? - the appropriate reaction would be: "Good".


This is an ignorant, uselessly inflammatory response from you. Why do you treasure favorites, so, to chase them in such a belligerent manner?
posted by cavalier at 2:26 PM on March 19, 2009


On 3 minute preview, maybe you're just quantifying the statement itself as passing muster. I'll be eating my shoe here.
posted by cavalier at 2:28 PM on March 19, 2009


And btw, Annie is in financial trouble due to her involvement in Susan Sontag's estate. Trust me, Annie ain't hurting for work.

Exactly.

Annie Leibovitz Pays the Gay Tax
"The fact that Annie Leibovitz has been pawning her famous photographs has a lot of people wondering why. How can this esteemed artist, creator of famous portraits of stars from John Lennon to Miley Cyrus, be forced to use her prized possessions as collateral?

Now, After Ellen is reporting part of that answer. The website says it's because she's been forced to pay the so-called "gay tax." While married couples can inherit each other's property upon death without paying taxes, gay couples cannot. So when Leibovitz's partner, Susan Sontag, died in 2004, Leibovitz had to pay hefty taxes on the property that Sontag left to her."
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"As Suze Orman pointed out in her Valentine’s Day wish for gay marriage, same-sex couples do not have the same privileges as straight married couples when it comes to inheritance. If your partner passes away and leaves her estate to you, you have to pay up to 50 percent of the value of your inheritance in taxes. However, if you and your partner were recognized as a married couple, you wouldn’t have to pay a dime. And it is precisely this unjust double standard that got Annie Leibovitz into financial trouble."*
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


"How about Annie Leibovitz is in peril?"

Judging from gossip I've read on the Internet - and what surer lodestar could one have? - the appropriate reaction would be: "Good".

This is an ignorant, uselessly inflammatory response from you. Why do you treasure favorites, so, to chase them in such a belligerent manner?


Agreed. Now I better understand why there's a MetaTalk thread discussing Joe Beese's participation here on MeFi. (He's probably loving the attention. Eating it up.)
posted by ericb at 2:39 PM on March 19, 2009


This is an ignorant, uselessly inflammatory response from you. Why do you treasure favorites, so, to chase them in such a belligerent manner?

I assumed he was kidding, since he claimed that internet gossip was the source of his information.
posted by shmegegge at 3:31 PM on March 19, 2009


I agree that there are a lot of photos that want to be free. But they're all taken by amateurs. In terms of quality, there is a huge difference between amateur and professional photographers.

If an agency with a demanding commercial client has to have a certain number of shots done in a day, puts a whole team in place including studio, producers, stylists, models, catering, transportation, etc etc, they have a lot of money on the line. And the big day arrives and its dark and raining outside. A professional photographer will show up, light everything to replicate natural light, and handle the pressure of the entire team. Whoever said that 'the technical skill can be learned by anyone' is seriously mistaken. It is not unlike any great craft that takes decades to master. Cameras and the megapixel arms race are a diversion - its like saying a new and improved brush makes better paintings.

The photographers I know are either not shooting, or shooting with some kind of cut in pay. Several clients cut pay by 20%, no discussion. To add GM and Omnicom's new policy on top of that is like kicking someone while they're down. Professional photographers should be compensated for their work, not forced to bankroll huge corporations who at the moment are waiting 75 days or more just to pay the agency, who might pay the photographer's agent in 30 days, who might take 2 weeks to cut a check. Thankfully a lot of people are fighting this behind the scenes, but its hard to have so much leverage when everyone else is so desperate and will in fact work for those terms.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 4:08 PM on March 19, 2009


(It's happening in graphic design, too. Every kid with a cracked copy of Photoshop is a "designer" now.)

Two things about this:
1. It's true.
2. Photoshop isn't a design program. It's a photo editing program. You don't do design in Photoshop, you do it in InDesign or Illustrator. Yet, my production manager in the company I work with told me about getting a business card file with 60 layers in Photoshop from someone a few weeks back. I wanted to share this anecdote so you non-designers can truly understand what a horrifying statement that is.

This whole thing is just continuing a trend. Fifteen years ago, I was an Illustrator. Stock, computers, and the trend for the market to drift toward the ever cheaper options drove me out of that business ten years ago.
posted by Mcable at 4:14 PM on March 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Annie Leibovitz is bankrupt.

The article didn't say she was bankrupt, rather that she put up the rights to her photos (including future photos(?!)) as collateral for loan. We have no idea why she actually did that.
posted by delmoi at 4:22 PM on March 19, 2009


2. Photoshop isn't a design program. It's a photo editing program.

I hear what you're saying, the reality is that it's whatever the individual is using it for. Getting a business card file with 60 layers sounds awful, but if it prints and it doesn't cost the designer anything above the normal price, then everything "works" .

But yeah, I die a little inside when hearing stories like that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 PM on March 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


One of the problems with this is that Omnicom is requiring that the production house (or photographer) pay for the production out of pocket -- no advance for expenses -- essentially bankrolling the project for the client. Then they have to wait until Omnicom gets paid to get paid back. So they are using the production house and photographer as a bank. It's not a good precedent to set.

And so is GM, which is hilarious. Who the hell would want to give GM a 45 day loan? They could easily go bankrupt in that time.
posted by delmoi at 4:30 PM on March 19, 2009


Here is another link that explains why Omnicon's actions are terrible.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 5:19 PM on March 19, 2009


Photographs want to be free. Music wants to be free. Art wants to be free. Information wants to be free.

Now, when is food and clothing, housing, transportation and health care gonna get with the program?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:36 PM on March 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't get how inheriting stuff makes you poorer, even if you have to pay half of that stuff in taxes. You still have more than you started with.
posted by marble at 5:48 PM on March 19, 2009


"I'm a creative. my job is to produce campaigns. it begins with me choosing a photographer and ends with me working on the images pretty much on the plane back. this whole "no rights release until payment" would pull me into contract negotiations I currently don't have any stake in. I don't discuss monetary matters with vendors, we have departments that are supposed to take care of that."

I am someone who works in that department. Demanding money up front is standard procedure for these shoots. Having a photog refuse to release images until payment is mapped out doesn't send the message that he's going to make a creative's life more difficult, it shows he reads the paper and doesn't have mush for brains.

This is an overall accounting rule they've put into place and I can tell you right now, if a Creative Director huffs and puffs enough about needing to work with a photographer who demands 50% upfront (and they'd be smart to do so) then a cheque will get cut. Yes, it may mean the creatives have to get involved in contract stuff, but tough noogies. When rules like this get put in place, nobody wins.

(If they decide to try and make it stick....well I hope their creative departments are really, really good at photorealistic illustration.)
posted by Salmonberry at 7:14 PM on March 19, 2009


As somebody who writes poetry, I have a hard time mustering sympathy for creative people involved in something that can at least, in good times, make them a living.

Actually, that's not true. Losing a job sucks no matter what. But just like musicians, photographers need to think of new ways to hustle.
posted by bardic at 9:04 PM on March 19, 2009


I don't get how inheriting stuff makes you poorer, even if you have to pay half of that stuff in taxes. You still have more than you started with.
Venturing a guess: An estate isn't necessarily just cash, you'd have to pay taxes on whatever the entire thing is valued at (including land, house, possessions, etc.) otherwise you could get around the tax by buying up stuff to pass on. So she may not have the cash to cover that without selling off stuff or getting a loan.

You're right that this is a net gain (at least in theory), but you still gotta pay the taxman.
posted by cj_ at 9:05 PM on March 19, 2009


I don't get how inheriting stuff makes you poorer, even if you have to pay half of that stuff in taxes. You still have more than you started with.

It's about liquid assets, cash flow, etc. Leibovitz apparently inherited real estate and property which in the current economic climate was/is valued less than it had originally been worth. One wonders what outstanding mortgages, loans, obligations, etc. Sontag had. Even if Sontag outright owned everything, Leibovitz (as a gay/lesbian partner) inherited properties (from a deceased partner). She was/is required to pay 50% (which straight married couples do not) of the value of such inherited property.

In such a situation, if you don't have that much cash on hand and such is not readily/immediately available (i.e. cash-flow negative), you need to get it elsewhere. And, where is that elsewhere? A loan! And a loan that needs to be secured with some sort of asset/collateral. In Leibovitz's case she has offered rights to her past and future works as collateral to maintain and not lose Sontag's property (-ies).

It is likely that Susan Sontag's estate was worth quite a bit of money. Supposition is that the majority -- if, not all -- of her estate was left to her S.O., Annie Leibovitz.
posted by ericb at 9:12 PM on March 19, 2009


Or, what cj_ said!
posted by ericb at 9:13 PM on March 19, 2009


But you and your accounting department are, from a vender's point of view, one entity
no. a professional photographer mixing up a creative department with an accounting department isn't a professional. such an assumption would make me question whether I can trust that the individual I hire to get a task done is capable of making other correct decisions without my supervision every single second.

but having venders finance the production is also going to make your life more difficult
yes, it will. I never said otherwise. I just said that if photographer A wants to make my life more difficult than photographer B, I will just not work with A. that is the reason why I refuse to work with directors such as joe pytka.

limit your choices to those that are willing to try to finance for the agency
no, you didn't read my previous answer. I am getting hammered with books for every shoot. it's insane how many photographers desperately want every last assignment. also notice who currently is financing shoots: agencies. it's not like the result you are describing isn't already happening for different reasons.

But they're all taken by amateurs. In terms of quality, there is a huge difference between amateur and professional photographers.
not always true. I find amazing amateurs every day.

Photoshop isn't a design program. It's a photo editing program. You don't do design in Photoshop, you do it in InDesign or Illustrator.
that's absolute bullshit. you seem to not realize just what photoshop is capable of. I do more designing in psd than in il and ind is a layout program.

if a Creative Director huffs and puffs enough about needing to work with a photographer who demands 50% upfront (and they'd be smart to do so) then a cheque will get cut. Yes, it may mean the creatives have to get involved in contract stuff, but tough noogies.
which I have done before in the case of someone who hadn't gotten paid. but as I have stated before - if I know upfront that one photographer will require me to do additional work and another can get the job done, guess who I will award the gig to. I'd write more but I have to run off to another meeting.
posted by krautland at 3:00 AM on March 20, 2009


I'm a professional photographer. Couple of points...

Annie Leibovitz's personal situation has little to nothing to do with the overall state of affairs here.

Almost from the advent of genuinely usable digital cameras, my business has been slowly declining. Due to the immediate economic mess, I'm down 40% for the year, and that pretty much matches the situation for every other photographer, design house, and ad agency I've spoken to in the past month or so.

The endless line technique of negotiation has been around forever. If you, Joe Photographer, won't shoot it for $xxxx.xxx, we have an endless line of people who will. Their work may not quite measure up to yours, but it will be good enough. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Matters have come to a head because unlike 20 or perhaps even 10 years ago. there really is an endless line now.
posted by imjustsaying at 5:19 AM on March 20, 2009


A professional photographer will show up, light everything to replicate natural light, and handle the pressure of the entire team. Whoever said that 'the technical skill can be learned by anyone' is seriously mistaken. It is not unlike any great craft that takes decades to master.

So ... never hire a professional photographer under 50? Or are we just talking 40, maybe 30 for a wunderkind who started working professionally at 10. I talked last month with a guy who regularly takes photos for top mags, the NY Times, etc. He was in his late 20s. He hasn't had "decades" to develop his craft/art.
posted by raysmj at 6:01 AM on March 20, 2009


Raysmj - the point isn't that a young photographer can be talented, it's that a young photographer hasn't made the mistakes or had the time to learn the ins and outs of shooting commercially. Shooting for the NY Times is easy - show up, shoot the subject matter, edit and transmit. Shooting a campaign for GM means hiring a producer(s), location scouts, assistants, renting gear, buying location insurance, scouting talent, dealing with overages in time and money, creatives changing their mind mid prepro and a million other little details. Not to say a 20-yr old photographer couldn't pull it off but unless that photog has an agency behind them that's willing to hire all of the aforementioned producers, talent, etc. it's likely going to be the last commercial shoot they ever do.

Krautland - I hear you but once your agency burns through a shit-ton of art buyers due to their jobs becoming a living hell don't be surprised when they decide it's easier to eliminate those pesky pains-in-the-ass and just let the creatives deal with the budgets as well.
posted by photoslob at 6:44 AM on March 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hear you but once your agency burns through a shit-ton of art buyers due to their jobs becoming a living hell don't be surprised when they decide it's easier to eliminate those pesky pains-in-the-ass and just let the creatives deal with the budgets as well.

I don't see it happening because -again- photographers don't have the clout to demand much right now and because agency management would loooove for me to be able to handle more campaigns at the same time, not less.

a young photographer hasn't made the mistakes or had the time to learn the ins and outs of shooting commercially
disagree. I can name more kick-ass and well-versed photog's around 25 or 30 than 45 or 50. this is in large part due to the fact that the older generation seldomly has mastered the digital workflow. george sim., if you're reading this do know you're the exception.
posted by krautland at 7:31 AM on March 20, 2009


I'm not talking about workflow. I'm talking about everything that has nothing to do with a camera that has to be dealt with on a commercial shoot. Probably a lot of what goes on behind the scenes that your poor art buyers, frustrated producers and photographers get to deal with.
posted by photoslob at 10:17 AM on March 20, 2009


As someone who shoots editorial jobs for the creative freedom the assignments give (as opposed to say actual "commercial" and advertising jobs), let me be the first to say fuck you.

I think you're taking semantics a little personally. In National Geographic (etc.) there are GREAT photographs, but not art. It's a distinction, not a value judgment.
posted by cmoj at 10:38 AM on March 20, 2009


Art is totally subjective. Take a look at Reza's work in the middle east or David Alan Harvey's work in Cuba or Spain and tell me it's not art.
posted by photoslob at 11:46 AM on March 20, 2009


photoslob: That's as much about being a good, organized business person and coordinator than a photographer. Logistics is not art. Why did GM require all of that anyway? Because at one time the company had all manner of money, and super-slick shots were harder to come by? Some of this guy's photos were super-crisp shots of people, portraits--one, especially impressive for technical reasons, was of an African-American basketball player wearing red, sitting in front of a black background in an apparent studio setting (I suspect Photoshop was at work in a major way, but I saw no lines, not even a hint of a line). What's so much harder about cars than people? Other shots clearly involved serious lighting equipment and clearing of regularly busy sidewalks, etc. I know because I recognized a couple of the locations.
posted by raysmj at 5:35 PM on March 20, 2009


If it's art then why does he not refer to himself as an artist?

The complexity or difficulty of something has nothing to do with whether or not something is art, or whether or not it has value.

I know a guy who reroutes the utilities in a city when they build new roads or highways. It's very complicated, specialized, difficult and impressive work, but he is in no way an artist, nor would he claim to be.

I know another guy who does shitty graffiti paintings on canvas that can't take 10 minutes. He is an artist and would say as much.
posted by cmoj at 12:53 PM on March 21, 2009


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