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Location: Antwerp , Belgium
URL: http://www.freewebs.com/jvphototest
Email: •••••••• (private)
Last login: over 6 years ago
Member since: 02 Jun 2006 08:06

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aspiring photog and price politics

Dear LS, I am a 19-year-old history student with a passion for documentary photography (no formal education in photography, I only started photographing a couple of months ago). This is not a typical “how-to-get-started”-post so bear with me…

In hopes of one day being able to make photodocumentaries on social issues I am looking for all kinds of small assignments in my own city and trying to arrange bigger projects in foreign countries, all paid by myself. This summer I went to Romania, for example, to work with an NGO and photograph kids living in the streets. I can’t afford to continue doing this, I simply don’t have the money. The Romania trip was a bit of a fluke as the NGO-people that said they’d help me turned out to be too busy. So… this isn’t really working.

Which brings me to the financial issue, the main point of this post. In the “Photos/Pages/Rates” it is said multiple times that newcomers are undercutting the pj bussiness by charging too little. I understand this perfectly. But what are our options, as newbies? Who’s going to hire me and pay big money without me having a formal education or vast experience in the field I want to work in?

It seems in the “old days” a lot of photogs gathered experience as an assistant and they got mentoring from older, wiser and better photographers. This seems very seldom nowadays. I believe this is because the amount of pj’s has reached an all-time high, current pj’s seem to have understood they don’t want to raise even more future competition by mentoring young aspiring photojournalists?

So, my question is: what options do we (I) have? Working for free for NGO’s that couldn’t pay a photographer anyway, to gather experience? I can’t afford this… Working for cheap and getting some assignments, but undercutting the bussiness which is not only your bussiness, but hopefully also my future bussiness? This doesn’t make any sense but what are my options? Charge more, and gain no experience at all, as all assignments will go to more experienced (and/or trained) photographers?

Been poundering on this for a while now. I would appreciate your input. I don’t like the idea of ‘undercutting the bussiness’ but the thought of sitting here broke and not being able to do anything is even worse. In the other thread Jon Anderson speaks of “dissuading the newbies from giving in to these temptations”. Suppose I/we could indeed be dissuaded, what do we gain? Make photojournalism a less unprofitable industry for the in-crowd, for the photogs already out there?

For you?

And give up our own dreams?

16 Sep 2006 16:09 | 13 replies

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Aspiring Photog And Price Politics by j over 8 years ago
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