Why The Photography Industry Is Dented

Dec 29, 2015

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

Why The Photography Industry Is Dented

Dec 29, 2015

Missy Mwac

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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industry-failing

(And then Missy got all serious, referred to herself in 3rd person, and wrote the following…)

When my children were little they would collect things in their pockets. They were little pack racks; the kid version of hoarders. Anything that caught their eye would go into their pocket for safe keeping: a colorful leaf; a Skittle, a Happy Meal toy. And, like most moms, I would have to carefully search their pockets before putting their dirty clothes into the wash.

But, now and then, I would miss something, like the time I missed the rock.

Yes, my son had found a rock at the park and it called to him: “PICK ME UP AND PUT ME IN YOUR POCKET SO I CAN WREAK HAVOC ON YOUR MOM’S WASHING MACHINE.”

And wreak havoc, it did. It wasn’t a big rock, probably the size of a bottle cap, but it banged around in the washing machine until I stopped the cycle and fished it out. The washing machine was fine, of course; the rock wasn’t big enough to do any real damage other than making noise. When I complained about it later to the DH, he laughed and said, “Just be glad he didn’t decide to bring home more than one.”

I think that about that rock in the washing machine when I ponder today’s photography industry, and when I read articles like this. Take special note of #10. If will make you reach for the vodka. The whole bottle, actually.

10-creative-ways
via

Dear Baby Jesus, what on earth have we come to?
“Well…let’s see. I COULD become a reseller on Ebay or possibly review websites, OR set up a photography business. It’s all pretty much the same thing. Hmm….what to do, what to do?”

We look around us and see an industry that is filling its washing machine with rocks. And like the washing machine, no one rock is going to hurt the industry-that’s impossible. But thousands of rocks together have. The current mentality that views Professional Photography as easy peasy lemon squeezy. Push the button. That’s all you gotta do to run a business. The list above is proof of that. And the industry is paying the price.

Is this an elitist attitude? More than a few people seem to think so. And they certainly have a right to their opinion, but I disagree.

See, to me, an elitist attitude is one of entitlement
An elitist attitude is one that scoffs at investing in time and education.
An elitist attitude is one that believes that those charging appropriately for their work are crooks and those charging less are more compassionate
An elitist attitude laughs at the need for experience
An elitist attitude puts on toe shoes for the first time and considers itself worthy of dancing Swan Lake.

In a world where everyone gets a ribbon, this comes as no surprise. We see it all through the Arts, actually; it’s certainly not limited to the photograph industry.

In fact, we see it all through today’s society.

We simply don’t want to pay our dues.
We don’t want to spend time gaining experience.
We don’t want to wait to cultivate our skills.
We want it all.
We want it now.
We want microwave shortcut success.
And no one should tell us otherwise.

And we look around our industry at those workshop-givers “selling the dream” and we quickly realize how it happened; how this mindset was fostered.

We sold people on the idea that they can be “Great without the Wait.”
We sold them on 10 Easy Steps to Success
We packaged up the mentality and put it on sale.
And labeled those who raised a suspicious eyebrow as Elitist. Haters. Jealous. Insecure. Old School.

The labels stopped many from speaking up, and so we watched in silence as our washing machine filled up with rocks, each banging against the metal drum, creating dings and dents and wreaking havoc on what was once a pristine machine.

I love this industry and the people in it, which is why I speak up. Honesty is not the same as negativity, no matter how earnestly many try to make it so.

Pointing out the dings and dents isn’t an elitist attitude; it’s one born of love and concern for a great industry and the hard working men and women in it. Pointing out the dings and dents is not to discourage photographers from entering this amazing industry, but to encourage them to enter the right way and for the right reasons to KEEP the industry amazing.

After all, one can be a realist but still believe in a bright tomorrow.
xoxo

About The Author

Missy Mwac is a photographer/eater of bacon/drinker of vodka and a guide through the murky waters of professional photography. You can follow her social media links here: Facebook, Tumblr. This article was also published here and shared with permission. Illustration based on photo by Nicolas Alejandro.

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5 responses to “Why The Photography Industry Is Dented”

  1. Henry Rodgers Avatar
    Henry Rodgers

    Amen.

  2. Dave Shemano Avatar
    Dave Shemano

    turns out people who buy photographs don’t care how much you spent on equipment or what you studied in college. also they resent prima donna photographers holding onto the copyrights and negatives for what is obviously a work for hire.

    1. Chris Hutcheson Avatar
      Chris Hutcheson

      Not all people, and I’d hazard a guess that what they ARE interested in is your ability to create great images, which, incidentally, don’t just fall out of my camera without some skilled intervention on my part. I shoot professionally for one of the largest performing arts companies in North America. I was lucky enough to come from this shooting for them as a volunteer for several years, and they have been great promoters of my work, as well as diligent enforcers of my copyright (and their own, of course.) It’s only work for hire with a rights transfer if that’s negotiated and agreed upon at the outset, and I can’t think of many situations where I would be willing to do that. If potential clients resent that, they can find another photographer to do the work for them.

  3. white Avatar
    white

    Unbelievably stupid post….

  4. Jeremy Christopher Avatar
    Jeremy Christopher

    Knowledge used to be power, but this is the age of knowledge; so anything not too difficult to figure out, WILL be over-saturated. Get with the times, everyone has access to doing photography, music, movies and it’s not going to get easier to stand out. With shot algorithms built into photography drones with multi lenses, along with flash carrying drones…

    Look, compete with yourself. If you find gigs and people like your stuff, great. We live in an era where robots will be taking our jobs, it means we have more time to be creative. It’s just what’s happening and no amount of whining will end it, if anything the complaining simply attracts negative thinking and possibly negative reviews to your work. Wake up, get with the program and add something useful to the scene.

    Life’s a stage, no need to worry about the other actors or how many there are.