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Portions of this column were originally written for the August 2010 edition of News Photographer Magazine.
Mark Loundy is a media producer and consultant based in San Jose, California. Full bio.
The opinions in this article are those of the author alone and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Press Photographers Association.
August 2010, Volume 94
By Mark Loundy
"There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love."
At the dawn of the 21st century, former Life Magazine photographer Burk Uzzle wrote a letter to the daughter of a close friend. Uzzle had watched her grow from a little girl who played football with his kids in their Brooklyn neighborhood. That little girl was now an adult and the director of photography at Newsweek.
Uzzle mourned that he had to turn down an assignment on death row, echoing an assignment that he had done years ago at the old Life. "I know how hard you try, and how good you are, and how deeply you care about things," he wrote. He described the investment that photographers must make and talked about rates that had not gone up in decades. "It's now come to the point where I personally believe I'm being had. It's hard for me to look at what's happening and not conclude that your bosses have decided to systematically screw the photographers."
Remember, Uzzle wrote this nearly 10 years ago and things have only gotten worse. Bill Pierce was kind enough to share it in his "Nuts & Bolts" column in The Digital Journalist. It's worth reading the entire heartfelt letter and Bill's insightful remarks.
Please let me know of any particularly good, bad or ugly dealings that you have had with clients recently. I will use the client's name, but I won't use your name if you don't want me to. Anonymous submissions will not be considered. Please include contact information for yourself and for the client.Leftovers
"I'm not sure where the doom and gloom is coming from. This past winter I had several chats with a fellow member and his business was rocking off the wall. He's half the country away from me so it can't just be that my area was doing well. I personally know of at least six studios around me. Not one is closing, downsizing, struggling anywhere near what one would expect if they were to read the boards. We're all working, we're all busy, one in particular has contacted me twice this year to either send me work because he was overbooked or to see if I had a line on available (PAID) shooters for his studio. Word has it that one has just yanked away a school contract from the 'Walmart' of the industry. I know that I pulled in one from a 'national' company for this fall too!
"It IS about business first. ALWAYS has been. ALWAYS will be. BTW something that is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS forgotten when people complain that business trumps quality...
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