Wednesday, April 04, 2018

... which has gotten me to thinking...

I don't usually find what PetaPixel posts to be all that interesting.  But just this week two articles came up that I felt are worthy of notice.  The first was about a NY streetphotographer Louis Mendes.

The second is about a photojournalist who is homeless.  There was a time not so long ago when a photographer could be paid a living wage while working in journalism.  But this seems to no longer be the case.  Aside from two areas of photography, I don't think there is money to be made in photography of any kind.

When I stop and think about all the wonderful photographers I know who ply their craft with dedication, insight, and passion, I can't think of a single one of them who make a living off their images.  Some folks give workshops and make a bit of money that way.  Others sell what they can to galleries, private parties, and museums, but live in near outright poverty.  And yet others work full-time non-photography related jobs to make ends meet.

I wonder, though, when I follow some of the comments people make on various websites about not picking up a camera for less than $1200.  Are they serious and are they really making a living at photography?  I guess it might be the case if they are decent wedding photographers.  Some of the fees claimed to be charged for wedding work seem outrageous to me, but if true, certainly a person could live well.  This is one area where I think there is still money to be made.

The second area is, for many of us, unattainable.  Does Conde Nast really pay Annie Leibovitz a million dollars a year?  Celebrity Photographers are extremely rare.  And I'm not talking about photographers who take pictures of celebrities, either.  No, I'm talking about living photographers who are famous, and by extension, are well rewarded for their work.

So why on earth do some of us put so much time and effort into our craft?  Into our art?  Perhaps there's more to this than just money?

Cathedral ~ Seville, Spain


Ken Lee said...

"Perhaps there's more to this than just money?"


Christopher Perez said...

Ken - Part of me wants to be snarky and suggest that to many Americans "self-cultivation" means making more money. Or to this point, money equals success.

But that's not precisely it, is it?

Living in Europe has taught me that not everyone holds money up as their one and only god and goal in life. In fact, when I ask people to prioritize important things in their lives, never have I heard money mentioned as number one on their lists. It's usually number four or five.

From another perspective, there is a wonderful photographer who lives out in Oregon who is a shaman and uses photography as his practice. Talk about dedication to self-improvement! He is a very impressive artist on oh so many levels.