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New photojournalism site

Thought some of you Lightstalkers members might be interested in knowing about a new site that has popped up. It’s a small staff and the site itself is just getting going. I’m one of only three people who actually work for the site on a daily basis.

http://www.wesay.com

WeSay.com is a photo site devoted to displaying both amateur and professional photography. It’s a good place, like Lighstalkers, to create a profile and display your work. We pull photos from members and professional wires, as well as other sources, onto our mainpage. Decent display and a good opportunity for photographers to get noticed.
Check it out and let me know what you think:
http://www.wesay.com

by Jason Geil at 2008-06-23 20:31:28 UTC (ed. Jul 9 2008 ) Chicago , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

So post some photos from Istanbul! We’re not only about what happens in America. That just happens to be where we are located. All are welcome and we hope folks will add to the site from all over the world. And that includes Turkey.

by Jason Geil | 26 Jun 2008 18:06 | Chicago, United States | | Report spam→
jason,
good to see a site that aims to help photo-journalism.i will ask the most pertinent question,the one every photographer needs to know.what are your rates?

by Michael Bowring | 26 Jun 2008 19:06 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
3. CHANGES TO THIS AGREEMENT AND THE SITE
(A) We shall have the right at any time to change or modify the terms and conditions applicable to this Agreement, your submission of Content, or any other use by you of the Site, or any part thereof, or to impose new conditions, including, but not limited to, adding fees and charges for use.

I’m stupid, but not that stupid. But I’m sure they’ll get plenty of takers, then sell the company, like the last one Jim built and sold.

by Stupid Photographer | 26 Jun 2008 20:06 (ed. Jun 26 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
The terms and conditions say photographers are to expect no financial compensation from placing their work on the site, but of course each page has adverts on it.

From an initial skim, the thing looks like one (of many it seems) aggregators and ‘content mines’ who exist only to attract audiences to ads by using content they haven’t paid for.

The only benefit is some amorphous ‘recognition’ that will be gained by placing the work there. Whatever financial value generated accrues to the ‘hub’, not the ‘spokes’. In fact, the more spokes, the bigger the power balance is tipped towards the content aggregator and away from the content generator, who of course, bears all the risks.

Personally I find these schemes pretty depressing to be honest. I just can’t see what benefit they offer. I’m all for promoting photographers, but every new portal/website/vanity-mag/competition that pops up seems to be a tractor beam that simply draws real value away from photographers, to be replaced with some intangible ‘kudos value’ that quickly fades when the next content provider pops up.

But the hub’s ‘brand’ stays constant, and thus builds value over time…until as Stoop hints, it gets sold. The content providers become assets of the company, but get no return.

Like I said, this is after a quick skim. If I’m in error I’ll be happy to retract. But the site does have a depressingly familiar ring to it.

by [former member] | 26 Jun 2008 20:06 | Singapore, Singapore | | Report spam→
jason,
your site does not to pay for content,not to independent photographers anyway.yet there are 6 stories on your front page.5 from AP and one from NASA.presumably you are paying for those photographs?
that tells me you do have a budget to buy work,but instead of concentrating on getting great independent stories out there,you are just lining the coffers of the huge mega-agencies.
there are hundreds,if not thousands,of great stories out there,yet you look no further than AP,why?how is that helping the p-j cause?surely it would be better to give the money diretly to photographers for their work,rather than see most of your photography budget go too AP,a little bit of which they pass onto their photographers.
it seems to me sion is right.this site is not about ‘encouraging and supporting photo-journalism’.it is,at the moment anyway,a fairly uninspired news-site,that is hoping to hoover up work by inexperienced or naive or desperate photographers,while at the same time paying big agencies for their photographs.

by Michael Bowring | 27 Jun 2008 11:06 | Belgrade, Serbia | | Report spam→
A coworker shot me this saying the other day. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it did burn down that quick”. You guys are ready to burn WeSay.com to the ground after presumable a few minutes looking at it. These things take time. Your concerns are certainly valid, and I’m glad to read them. They help me when I take issues to my boss and I can assure you I have the same thoughts on this topic.

However, while getting unique content and paying independent photojournalists for work is certainly a reasonable expectation, a few other items need to be established when creating a site like this. So, in the meantime, we are paying the Associated Press to supply us with photos from around the world. I can see this continuing for the foreseeable future and if you consider that sites like the one I work for help pay the thousands of photographers who work with the AP, I’m not sure we should feel guilty for exploiting the industry.

We have paid a few freelancers already for special projects and I think that will be increasingly the case as we move forward. I simply don’t understand this hostility though. I’m a professional photojournalist. I worked on a daily newspaper staff in a major market for several years before I was laid off. I understand as well as anyone the problems photographers face today.

While our site will call on the use of photographs submitted from “citizen” or amateur photographers, it will also help support professionals. The America 24/7 series was a perfect example of professional and citizen photographers submitting work for a common theme. We hope to become a simple expression of what is going on in the world through the millions of cameras in the hands of people everywhere. Once we are established and thriving, I’m sure our budget will support more and more freelancers like you.

And don’t take too much from the ads on the site. They are not paying costumers as of yet and we eventually may end up going to a subscriber-based model.

I currently have my photos uploaded at several sites like American photojournalist, NPPA and I’m sure many of you have your photos uploaded her at Lightstalkers. Providing these sites with older, portfolio content helps in finding work. I know that’s the case for me. I see WeSay.com working for freelancers in the same way. It’s free, so nothing is really stopping anyone from posting their portfolio on WeSay and as we get established in the photo community, your chances of being noticed on our site will increase.

And, of course, if you are talented enough that you only submit photos to sites when they pay you, WeSay.com is probably not the place for you. However, we still hope you stop by and visit to see what collectively we plan to display.

by Jason Geil | 27 Jun 2008 13:06 | Chicago, United States | | Report spam→
Your surprise at the attitude found here indicates that you are either not as experienced in the profession as you claim, pulling our leg, or both. Not one of the three options flatters you, or us. And, unfortunately, given what you said, the bottom line view of your operation – as expressed by Sion – stands.

A satisfactory model always pays, changes legal rules only by mutual agreement, and doesn’t talk down to us like we’re morons.

All this and much more is contained in the Stupid Photographers Agency Manual, SPAM. For free (plus shipping fee of my choice), I’ll be happy to mail you a copy.

by Stupid Photographer | 27 Jun 2008 18:06 (ed. Jun 28 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Hi Jason,
I know you’re a good guy and a good shooter but I have to admit when this came through the listserv at my school (OU) myself and my classmates all had the same reaction. It might be different for younger folks but at least for folks at the graduate level, who mostly have some real world experience, it seemed like any other old site patrolling for free content. If you want to set the place apart the suggestion of dumping AP and using lesser known sources with great content is a good way just to help change how you are perceived to begin with … my stopping by so far lets me see what I could see from anywhere else with an AP subscription. If it’s about photos too, why are they so small? Big display can make a big impact. See http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/ for a new photo site that is getting some attention for display. It’s still wire photos.

Free’s free and online recognition doesn’t get you much, if anything, in this world of 1,000,000 news website. I hope your business does well but I hope it helps support photogs a little more along the way. Maybe I’ll submit some in the future. Something makes me wonder if your bosses really understand the business like you do, or if they just want another site to build and sell, like was previously hinted at. Hope that’s wrong, maybe I’m just too cynical, but it smells of it.

Either way, you’re in Chicago now, hit me up sometime maybe we could have a chat or a beer.

by Peter Hoffman | 28 Jun 2008 01:06 | Madison, WI, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks Peter. I appreciate your comments and agree with you on so many of them it hurts. I promise you, as long as I’m working at WeSay.com, we will always push to support more and more photographers and their original content. I will always insist to compensate professionals fairly for content produced for us.

As far as the site’s functionality, we are a very small staff. Just three of us are working on the site daily. It’s an evolving process and in many ways we’re learning as we go. While there are 1,000,000 news Web sites, we hope to become something much more exclusive. Eventually, site speed, photo display and other issues will hopefully be refined too.

The root of the issue is one I’m very familiar with. Professionals are flat tired of people asking for content for free. Everyone claims to be a photographer these days. The people here at WeSay.com understand there is a huge difference between the work of professionals and amateurs.

For those who make a living shooting photographs, like myself, we would never ask for original content without compensation. Like I said, we pay a hefty fee to use the Associated Press service and have paid freelancers on a few occasions already. However, there are plenty of cell phone toting amateur photographers who snap plenty of interesting photographs every day. We think these photos, along with the work of professionals, creates an interesting snapshot of the world these days.

I think in many ways, photojournalists are over-reacting to the threats facing the industry. That’s not to say we should ignore them totally, but I think the influx in people asking for and providing free content only helps accentuate the quality of pure, professional content. (Kind of in the way reality television reminds us just how great programs like The Sopranos are.) I’m amazed every time I go to mediastorm.org, for example, to see what great projects are produced there and how it reinforces the importance of professional photojournalism. The bar is set high by folks like Brian Storm. Professionals like you and me should focus on helping him push the industry curve forward in the same way.

WeSay.com is not a threat to professional photographers. If anything, it’s a site that supports them if only in an end-around way. I wouldn’t hesitate to submit my work to WeSay. It’s free promotion and I retain my rights to the photographs. As a freelance professional, I would not spend time producing content for the site unless I was being directly compensated, but I certainly would not have a problem building a profile page at WeSay.com of some of my recent work.

And, as for the beer, I’d love to meet up here in Chicago and have a cold one anytime.

by Jason Geil | 07 Jul 2008 17:07 | Chicago, United States | | Report spam→
“WeSay.com is not a threat to professional photographers. If anything, it’s a site that supports them if only in an end-around way.” – Jason Geil

Buggery is off limits where I live. Not my rule but saves my stupid end-around so no complaints.

by Stupid Photographer | 07 Jul 2008 17:07 (ed. Jul 7 2008) | Holy Smokes, Holy See | | Report spam→
Looks like a glorified blog

by Imants | 08 Jul 2008 01:07 | The Boneyard, Australia | | Report spam→
Just uploaded some photos from an independent photographer on our site. Gallery of images about a prosthetic limbs war protest.
http://www.wesay.com/Top_Photos/Show.aspx?cat=1&gal=97200812853476&page=1

by Jason Geil | 09 Jul 2008 20:07 | Chicago, IL, United States | | Report spam→
Well, Jason, you seem like a nice guy, but I have to echo stupid’s stupid comments (he always makes me laugh, albeit bitterly. gotta love that attitude man!) just a bit in the sense that I find the advertising on the site terribly distracting from what the site is supposed to be about. The images load sloooooooowly so I am obliged to look around the frame to see if I want to take a ride on the Enola Gay or play with plastic soldiers. I think it detracts from the impact of the stories you seem to be interested in posting and from the dignity of photo journalism.

People, myself included, are getting pissed off because there’s always someone out there who wants our images without paying a red cent. Then we have to run around with release forms and a portable legal office, pay people who are convinced that we’re becoming millionaires on their incredible image. Not to mention the Orphaned works legislation. So, yeah, how are we supposed to stay “inspired” or committed to our profession under those circumstances? This isn’t directed at you, it’s a general comment on where we seem to be. We have to find a way out of this and so many other things.

by David Lauer | 09 Jul 2008 21:07 | Chihuahua, Mexico | | Report spam→
I hear ya David. I hate the way advertisements distract from the photos, and you’re right that the site is slow. Those are things we’re working on. It’s a work in progress so eventually we will get to a point where the ads are better positioned and galleries upload much faster. If I had my pick, ads would be gone altogether.

by Jason Geil | 09 Jul 2008 22:07 | Chicago, IL, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Jason Geil, Photojournalism Jason Geil
Photojournalism
Chicago, Il , United States
Michael Bowring, photographer Michael Bowring
photographer
Belgrade , Serbia
Stupid Photographer, Dazed, shocked, stupefied Stupid Photographer
Dazed, shocked, stupefied
(Stupid Photographers Agency)
Holy Smokes , Holy See
Peter Hoffman, photographer Peter Hoffman
photographer
Naperville , United States ( ORD )
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia
David Lauer, photographer, translator David Lauer
photographer, translator
Chihuahua , Mexico


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