Photograph Moments That Really Matter, With Any Camera Available 

…if you wait until you’re completely qualified for something, it might be too late. 

– Bernard Kleina, Photographer

Forget about whether you’re a “pro” or an “amateur”. Just continue shooting, always trying to improve your craft. And someday you might be surprised the doors that open to you.

Time Out

Yes, Time Magazine sucks. No, it’s not the end of the world. 

Time Magazine’s new photographer agreement and pay rates is out. Upon further review, it’s something I hope nobody signs.

For more you can follow these links:

If you haven’t seen it yet, here is a brief summary…

  • Time Magazine will now pay less than they did 35 years ago, adjusted for inflation. That’s if they choose to run the photos. If not, photographer gets nothing.
  • Costs, liability, etc., all on the photographer. Considering they want photographers to drop themselves into perilous areas, this is scandalous.
  • If the project is cancelled, tough luck. No payment or costs covered.
  • No re-use rights.
  • To top it off, photographers cannot keep copyright nor show the work on their website or portfolio.

This all from a publication who charges over $300,000 for one full-page ad.

I’m not a Time Magazine photographer. So why do I care?

Because I did view editorial as something to eventually grow into. Re-use rights on editorial photographs are important if wanting to earn ancillary income through stock photo sales. Also, photojournalism and editorial are essential to our culture, history, and not living in ignorance.

“Young or emerging photographer? Drop dead.” – Time Magazine

What Time Magazine is essentially saying, particularly to young and emerging editorial photographers, is that there is no future in editorial photography. Not if you want to make a living with it or use to enhance your portfolio.

If this is the future of editorial photography, why bother? Why spend the next five or ten years working on it, just for a photo credit? I don’t know about you, but I won’t. There is no incentive.

It’s also very clear that Time wants to, eventually, not pay for photography. Perhaps just pull stuff from user-generated content or adopt “orphan works”, which also exploits amateur photographers. But they just don’t have the guts to say it yet.

When thinking broadly in context of it all, it’s also disconcerting for agents, associations, and creative people generally. Linear paths to middle class stability for creatives are being systematically destroyed.

Good News is You’re Free!

The bright side is there is freedom in this. Freedom for photographers to reinvent themselves. Freedom from being tepid and holding your tongue, hoping not to appear “unprofessional” and alienating some photo editor.

Who gives a crap about an editorial photo editor, if this is where it’s going? Who gives a shit about what is “professional behavior”? Who gives a damn about keeping appearances?

Shoot what you want, how you want. Say what you want. Be who you want. Be your own brand, amateur or “pro”, regardless of commercial success or popularity. Own your work. Say yes to the good business deals. Say no to the bad ones, regardless of the name.

For better or worse, that’s what I’m going to do. What else is there now?




“Picturing the Drought” | Another Example of Why Photojournalism Matters

There is far more to the drought than lecturing people on how to water their lawns. That, while not unimportant, is shown to be relatively simplistic and barely a drop in the larger bucket.

Pro Publica has been doing excellent investigative reporting on the drought. The series is titled “Killing the Colorado” and is worth the time to read.

The history of policy failures and government inertia, bad farming incentives, misuse at institutional levels, and old methodology (some might say mythology) that has determined how the western United States mismanages water distribution is striking.

“Picturing the Drought” by Michael Friberg puts it all into visual perspective with his photography. It’s one thing to hear and read about it all, but it’s another thing entirely to see it. 

Thoughts on Volunteering and Holiday Giving

In the spirit of giving, this is one of the few times during the year that I will shed some light on my values regarding such things.

I do realize people have different viewpoints on charity, non-profits, and other miscellaneous projects that benefit culture. This post is not meant to be sanctimonious. Nobody is perfect and plenty of good people mean well, after all, and you don’t have to be a saint to be a giver. In the interest of sharing ideas, hopefully I can give you some on what you can do, too.

I unfortunately cannot say yes to every volunteer or donation request. I prefer to research those possibilities on my own. But in no particular order, here are areas I’m very passionate and where I’d like my work to be used for positive action, if I ever have the opportunity to do so.

1. Children’s International — I sponsor a child in Honduras. Poverty and not having basic things is more widespread than perhaps some people know.

2. Hunger — It’s quite frankly unacceptable, particularly here in the United States. It’s humbling and makes a lot of daily noise seem petty by comparison.

3. Investigative Journalism — The devaluing of long-form journalism and photojournalism in the digital world benefits nobody. It’s a problem that affects the common good and it’s a non-partisan issue. Everything is contextual, but we can do much better on this.

Quality investigative journalism keeps people from living in ignorance and retreating into insular bubbles. Intelligent people are not immune to this, if in-depth information continues to recede. It’s difficult for long-form news operations to survive in a click-bait and infotainment media economy, but while donations to the Pro Publica’s of the world cannot entirely solve the problem, it does help.

4. The Arts — The NEA has fewer funds than it used to, and does not award grants as much as it once did. I have some mixed feelings about art taxes, while not completely opposed to them, but I will say the funding of arts – as a client, patron, private grant or crowd funder – regardless of popularity or commercial value, is worthwhile.

The arts remind us of our humanity and (local) culture, and that we’re more than just consumers or political means to an end. Art is not just an aesthetic for a new phone design or sunset photo, it’s an expression and means of communication. For others, it’s life changing and perhaps life saving.

Photography and other arts are not a lie, and sometimes it’s the only way to truth. Despite all of the “content” out there it feels like we’re losing creative experimentation, unique artistic expression, and contextual thought. The incentives have become negative. It’s becoming a zero sum, winner-take-all game or a day labor commodity, sometimes meant for the cheap and fleeting sensation of viral aggregation… which has longer odds than winning the lottery. This is manifest and impactful on more things besides artistic endeavor. It does not have to be this way.

This is the time of year I like to slow down and think on the important things in life, what my values are, and how can I best express them with my work, if possible. I hope you can find the time to do the same.