In the late 19 th century and into the 20 th century, workers from all over the world, forced by a changing economy, started flocking into cities, accepting horrible working condition, in order to survive. Some where highly qualified in their trade but nevertheless, besides making the company they worked for extremely successful, never achieve a decent living. At the turn of the 21 th century into today, pro photographers are experiencing the same evolution. They are forced to accept ridiculously wages, exploitative commission structure and sometimes horrific working hours in order to survive. Time has come to shout out their displeasure and scream out loud what they believe are fair and human demands.
This is a manifesto for the photographer’s revolution:
Photographers worldwide need and demand:
The right to photograph what they want where, where they want, when they want
The right to work for whatever company they so desire without the risk of loosing their jobs elsewhere.
The right to be compensated fairly and appropriately for their work
The right to be able to live comfortably with their trade
The right to distribute their work where and how they want
The right to profit equally from the companies they help make successful.
The right to accessible trade tools
The right to raise a family comfortably
The right be recognized and accepted as highly skilled trade workers
The right to have their work protected and enforced by powerful copyright laws.
The right to pass on the ownership of their copyright to their children and not corporation
The right to have every single of their images published properly credited with their names.
The right for a fair commission structure should they decide to remain free lancer and keep their independence
The right to travel wherever they need to be in order to execute their trade
The right to be adequately protected if and when their life or health is endangered
The right to have their work published wherever they feel is adequate.
We suggest the creation of the Photographer’s International, a global community of highly skilled professional that would band together in unity and passion. The International would be responsible to bring to light the poor working condition and lobby international organization until the demands are met.
Photographer’s of the world, UNITE !!
I’m an old film photog. Started in 1969. Back then, it was not easy to produce a photo. Wet darkroom, nitrogen burst processing, dye transfer printing or easier drum roller Type C.
Nowadays all anyone needs is a PS or a cell phone and a $60 inkjet printer to produce a decent pix. In my book, ‘Peephole: Peering Into the World of 1970’s Hollywood and L.A.’ I have a chapter on preservation. In it I have test photos comparing an inexpensive $1 ink jet print to a $250 Eastman Kodak Dye Transfer print. (If you would like copies of the test photos write me.)
The cheap Walmart ink jet printer produces a print that equals or betters the old dye transfer print. And instead of taking all day to crank out a dye transfer, the ink jet spits them out in a minute…and no skill is required.
Things just change. Sure we can try to fight it. But as one curator told me that refused my work at their museum…”Please…I don’t need any more photos…the world is just polluted with photographs.’
Just as the buggy whip makers woke up one day and found their world turned around, so it goes with all areas of life we live in. The lucky thing for us is that if we truly love ‘freezing time,’ no one can force us from doing what we love.
In my own case, I do not depend on my love of photography for making money. I wish things were different. But as our population only grows, things look to get only worse.
Everyone with a cell phone is now a photographer. Few of them would have entered into photography unless it was made so convenient for them to do. The best effort any of us can do is to produced work that is of the highest quality of our genre. Work that rises above what the everyday photographer produces.
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