Inside the B&H conveyor system.
If you’re a photographer, or a videographer, and you’ve ever been to NYC, then you’ll know abut B&H. The greatest camera shop/showroom/department store ever. One of the unique things about the place is the conveyor belt system which takes all your purchases to the till. It runs all over the store. If you’ve never been, this all probably means nothing to you, but if you have, watch the video.
Its been a while since I was in WordPressland and since its been a busy end to 2011 and a very exciting and magical start to 2012, I promised myself I would endeavour to have more things to write about and present to the world via the blog, I seem to have been wrapped up in all things Slaughterhouse Studios these past 2 weeks to have made any time to ramble on, as I do.
Intentional artists, singers, giant cameras, performers, dancers, glitter, black teeth and some huge wigs have all helped bring in the new year in style and with so much to look forward to this year, I see very little time to have a good rant, open my big mouth again or just get under people’s skin for the foreseeable future. However, as I have time to throw down some words and raise a few issues I thought it best to get it all off my chest now, rather than allowing it to fester and cultivate some new found detestation for my fellow man.
It has been only 6 days since I returned to the studio after a wonderful festive break to find many 100’s of emails in my inbox (I made sure not to be in any way connected to the outside world this Christmas), some of which were still alarmingly filled with blaggers and photographers wanting to use the studio for free. Now people, I am sure you are just as guilty as me, I too have spoken at length, both via blog and twitter, face to face at events and even over a cold beer or two on how appalling that so many agencies and companies out there have no, or little understanding of the value and cost of a photographic process. For months now I have had regular conversations with up and coming photographers, internationally recognised and agency supported photographers and even ones who have been in the business of creating images for over 40 years are no longer immune from the opening gambit of “well I have no budget but…..”. Is this industry so misunderstood? Are images so fleeting that the creation of them, however powerful and essential for any advertising campaign or promotion so irrelevant that all photographers should be happy in the knowledge that just a by-line is credit enough?
You already have the answer for this, so I will bore you no longer..
So, why after siding with my fellow photographers for all these years do a number (a growing number) see fit to ask for studios for free, lighting hire for free, even catering for free? Who ever is doing this, please stop. Studio owners who are happy to promote a free service culture to stay competitive, please stop. Any of you out there who think that studio’s of many 1000sq ft, lighting hire, heating, utility bills and staffing costs should turn to charity to make everyone’s life easier..think only of this. You are putting the work you create in a very dim light. I appreciate that often the money that was once there is now no longer and when one is just starting up in business, a few favours along the way help. Yet after hearing for over 2 years now that “when I get that contract I will definitely book your studio, just let me have it for free just this time..or maybe for a few more test shoots, just to make sure I have all I need to promote to the right clients…”. Bunkum, utter tripe. We all know you are just floating around town trying it on with all studios to get a free ride. May I suggest you put this energy in to actually getting quality contracts with clients that pay rather than telling everyone you take pictures – just pay me what you think best and when you feel like it, meanwhile, I will bitch and moan about it on my Facebook page and see any credibility I once had disappear with each adjective.
In the words of a very clever and well versed man…Most reasonably co-ordinated people with hearts and any kind of emotional connection to their chosen industry can be taught to succeed, at some level or another. It takes a special breed to love the business. When you pursue excellence for yourself – not for the dream of stardom or courting the limelight, endorsements deals, not for the customer, nor for the agent or the boss, but for yourself. Then and only then are you well on your way to becoming a kind of lifetime adrenaline junkie professional, recognisable in any country or culture. You will proud and happy to be part of something old and honourable and difficult to do. You will be different, a thing apart – this you will cherish forever. A. Bourdain
– just as long as you are prepared to pay for stuff along the way.