By Mark Loundy
We get letters...
Controversy continues to swirl around John Harrington's negotiating techniques (Common Cents, September, 2002.) Harrington recently responded to accusations that he was taking advantage of an inexperienced client.
"The fact is, I was working with a renowned advertising agency who was representing one of the national (international?) networks that only has three letters in its name," writes Harrington. "The agency person reviewed my estimate, based upon my conversation with her, passed it along to the client for review, and approval, and it was. The same process occurred the next time, so clearly there was no belief on the client's part that they were being overcharged. So, yes, it was time for me to reflect on my $2000 rate as being too low."
Harrington sees a three-way struggle not only between photographers and clients but between photographers and their colleagues.
"There is a constant pull and push amongst photographers and photo editors. Photo editors (or, as they suggest, their accountants or lawyers,)" he writes, "are always trying to reduce their costs on the backs of the photographers they assign, while photographers are trying to receive increases each year that are, even at the least, consistent with the cost of living adjustments. Yet, we are stifled at every turn, save for the hard work of a few who are working for better rates and licensing of stock, and the enlightenment of the business realities of being in business as a photographer."
Harrington takes his ethics seriously. "I adhere fully to the NPPA Code of Ethics," he writes, "and my experience falls within item 8...'In every situation in our business life, in every responsibility that comes before us, our chief thought shall be to fulfill that responsibility and discharge that duty so that when each of us is finished we shall have endeavored to lift the level of human ideals and achievement higher than we found it.' I did so, and to have charged less than others had quoted the client would have meant that I would have done a disservice to the photographic community."
Well said John.