Thursday, July 16, 2009

Uncomfortable situations

When I first started getting into photography as a vocation, I tried experimenting will all sorts of genres too see what appealed most to me. I, like many others gravitated to the lazy and chose to not stray far from home. Since I live in a big city with lots of urban "culture" and grit there are many opportunities abound. Unfortunately you have to be willing to take a little abuse. Pro gear is rather large and in the eyes of many you immediately become a "suspicious" person.

Anyway, I have managed to take a few nifty urban shots and posted a few times on, a site for those who enjoy all the aspects of city life. Some of the photos there are quite humorous, a select few are quite beautiful and most of them are just crap. Anybody on the internet is encouraged to post comments as they see fit and there is little to no moderation of said comments.

My best picture for citynoise would definitely have to be Stranded Santa. Clearly this man is better off than the average vagrant. His shoes are brilliant white, he was bathed and had access to a laser printer!

My other urban shots were never very adventurous, as I was always uncomfortable taking pictures of unsuspecting locals.

Eventually I found an opportunity as a product photographer for a small business. I worked for them for a while until I realized how abusive and toxic it was there. My outlook on life had gone down the tubes as had my self-confidence and health. I busted my ass for them for 2.5 years and I can count on 1 hand the number of times I was thanked for my work. These lovely people even decided they shouldn't payout my final invoice in full. It's a long story. Suffice it to say I'm glad I got out. Guilt, intimidation and fear-mongering are not appropriate staff motivational techniques. They never ever told me exactly what they wanted so they could always yell when things didn't go exactly the way they had planned.

Anyway I still enjoy product photography and have been offered work from one of their competitors. They like my work and they pay me!

Enough for now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

So it begins

Changes have been made, bridges burned and I have found myself in a bit of a tough spot. Much to my dismay a large percentage of society hangs on every word of the media, "There is a recession!" Thus everybody stops spending, thus creating the problem. It's a vicious circle. While it's true there have been broad job losses across the world the media is very much to blame for the current economic situation.

I was hired to photograph a dance competition, and as always my extensive musical background gives me an intuitive sense on just when the right moment will be to take a photo. (There are many restrictions on photographic dance competitions. There are so many performers that there is not time or resources to just "spray and pray" by taking hundreds of photos of each dancer with the camera set on rapid-fire. My contractor says to keep it under 15 exposures per dancer)

The contractor makes money by selling sets of images to the dancers and the dance studios, and has a computer set up to show the dancers the photos I took. (Available minutes after they walk off stage) This past engagement I got many many compliments from the parents but nobody was buying. Being the curious person that I am I just had to ask, "If you like them so much, why not buy a set?" she immediately replied, "Because of the current economy!" I was a little upset by that remark because so I decided to dig further. "Have either you or your husband lost your jobs because of the downturn?" I asked. "No" She exclaimed. "So you have secure jobs and no doubt your cost of borrowing has gone down. Doesn't this mean you have more disposable income?" In a huff she walked off muttering something about the bad economy. I will never understand why the media can coerce people so easily!

What will the next adventure hold for me? Hopefully some more work soon as if things carry on this way, I'll be looking for places to set up my cardboard box under the expressway.