this morning, i received an email from a group called bio-tour, thanking me for my interest in doing something with them. i thought i’d share their e-mail and my reply to them with this group of photographers interested in “sustainability”. i hope i’m not standing alone against this type of exploitation.
Thank you for your interest in joining the BioTour Team as photographer for the Fall 2007 Tour. We have reviewed your photos and were impressed. Below I have given a brief description and the opportunities ahead for our nascent project. After reading this info, let us know whether this is position is a good fit for you. If so, please provide brief responses to the questions below. We will be reading many of these so please make responses thorough yet succinct.
BioTour: Journey Toward a Sustainable Future
After taking a cross-country trip on the bus last August, we witnessed an incredible reaction from people across the country who were excited about BioTour’s message and adventure. People we met also expressed uncertainty and a vague understanding of the relevance of global warming, peak oil, renewable energy and sustainable living to their own lives. The co-directors, Ethan Burke and Alan Palm saw an opportunity and need to turn BioTour from an occasional awareness campaign into a full-time year-round non-profit. We started BioTour nearly six months ago, with the goal of combining adventure, cultural exploration, celebration, environmental education/activism, and political activism into a project that would “enliven the renewable energy and sustainable living movement while exploring the depths of America—the people, land and culture.”
We left Boston in April of of last year with only a few paid bookings at colleges and high schools with the school year winding down. The plan was to build BioTour on the road, making a name for ourselves and working to build our program and organization. The first tour was a great success. The people we met, the adventures we had, and the inspirational renewable energy projects we encountered made for an incredible journey.
In addition, we have earned a reputation and currently are receiving requests from colleges, high schools, and community organizations across the nation who want to bring BioTour to their community for paid presentations and exciting events. We have received requests from local as well as national TV shows to appear on their programs and plan to dedicate much of our efforts in promoting BioTour in mainstream and alternative media. There are big plans and tremendous opportunities.
The role of BioTour photographer is to document the various events, sustainability projects and adventures across the country. The photographer is responsible for taking photos, editing photos, and periodically posting photos on our website, facebook, and myspace accounts. Hours are uncertain. There may be events at 8am, or late night into the AM. You may be shooting a presentation, a sustainability project, a gathering, a party, or a hike into the wilderness. Some days will be hectic, other days will be slow, others will be free. The photographer is always on call for when a photo op presents itself. BioTour is fast moving and constantly shifting and flexibility is required.
In addition, the bus is our communal living space and as a crew we share in the normal responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, etc.
All basic living expenses (groceries, housing, transportation, and basic cell phone costs) will be covered. In addition, BioTour’s photographer will be given a weekly stipend of $100. Health insurance is not covered.
BioTour will be a terrific opportunity to to promote your photography. We receive media coverage across the nation, with new and bigger opportunities ahead. We will be working to syndicate BioTour blog entries and articles in various publications, and promoting our finding and adventures on various internet sites. There will be unparalleled opportunities for photos of social conditions and landscapes across America. In addition, photographers will retain the right to sell their photos.
We are excited about the opportunities ahead and have high expectations for BioTour. If you feel you would be a good addition to the BioTour crew, please respond to the following questions:
1) Have you traveled much? If so, what are one or two of you favorite places and why? If not, why do you wish to travel now?
2) What are two places you desire to see in America and why?
3) Have you worked and lived closely with people before with little private space? How would you feel living in tight quarters on a bus for three months?
4) Which photography skills do you believe you have that will allow you to have success working in the environment described above?
5) Which editing program do you use to edit photos? If you had 25 raw photos? How long would it take you to edit those photos so they are: a) presentable in a updated slideshow on the website, and b) finely polished for use in BioTour posters and promotional material?
6) What about BioTour’s mission makes you want to be part of BioTour?
A final word. Alan, Fernando, and I are motivated but easygoing people who work hard and know how to relax, explore, and enjoy the moment with work far from our minds. This will be a fun, exciting, and rewarding job, despite the many hours it will entail.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Ethan Burke and Alan Palm
Facebook Group: BioTour
i too believe in “sustainable living” and a community driven society, therefore i cannot take part in a project that so blatantly disrespects my profession and community.
as exciting as your project sounds (and it does) and as much as i’d like to be a part of it (and i would) i cannot shoot myself and my community of professional photographers in the foot, in the way you are asking.
100$ a week, even on a non profit, and without even the most basic medical coverage, is in fact asking me and my fellow photographers to donate much more than anybody on that bus does. you are looking for freelance photographers, people who usually make a living from photography… to donate their skill, very expensive equipment, expensive hardware and software and time to a project that makes an effort to show the world responsibility. while asking that from us, shows the exact opposite.
instead of the 100$ per week, i will be happy to consider an offer of 100$ per day, that in fact, will go towards covering my basic costs. and make sure my profession still exists in the future by not succumbing to projects that take advantage of younger, less experience photographers who will do a lot to get their names out there even to the detriment of the very profession they are trying to get into.
you are not asking for a volunteer to grab a point-and-shoot and give you some vacation clicks, you are requesting for a pro with pro gear and pro skills that spent a lot of time and money acquiring that gear and those skills to basically donate all of that and cover his own expenses in the hope of some possible future sales.
i sincerely hope you rethink you’re offer, and choose to be responsible in your own actions, not only in what you teach but also in what you do.
i hope you join me and my fellow photographers on our own “Journey Toward a Sustainable Future”.
Tel: +66 –
current base: Bangkok, Thailand.
21 Aug 2007 05:08