I went over to Pensacola Naval Air Station on Wednesday. I originally had an interview set up to sit down and record a WWII veterans story. But after I got there I was told in another hour it would be to noisy to record anything because the Blue Angels were practicing. So I rescheduled the interview and watched the Blue’s 🙂
I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to film and photograph, I’ve had many pieces published over the years and made very little from it. I think Mickey Smith sums up the way I feel thus far in his video “Dark Side Of The Lens“
“If I only scrap a living, at least its a living worth scrapin. If there’s no future in it, at least it’s a present worth remembering. For fires of happiness, and waves of gratitude, for everything that brought us to that point on earth in that moment in time, to do something worth remembering. I never set out to be anything particularly, just to live creatively and push the score of my experience for adventure, for passion.”
I get so caught up in the business of things. The money end of everything, I forget what it’s about. Making the paycheck is ultimately the goal. But living life, enjoying life, and doing something I take pleasure in is what it’s about. A snippet from my friend Tiffany, who really said it best, can be pinned to every photograph I truly enjoyed taking. Those moments are what create something not just for the cover, but for your soul.
“”love: basically all those things that allow “yeah” to unconsciously an assuredly slip from your lips.”-Tif
I have to say in a way it is like growing up in a small town and working in a city. Growing up in a small town you are friends with everyone, you TRUST everyone, you believe people when they say they will do something. The city? Not so much, people will take advantage of you every chance you give them. Lie, cheat, and steal. It’s a sad fact, but one we have to face. You can not believe what is told to you, you have to have it in writing. Half down, before you do any work at all. A signed agreement to the terms of what you are doing, the deadlines of when a final product is expected, copyright to where the work can be used, and when full payment must be paid.
Good business is designed that way. Get as much as you can for as little as possible.
But I have come across to many situations where business is much like Congress. Twisted.
A college wanted to hire me to film a production for them. Having had issues with this college paying their bill in a timely manner, I sent a contract to be agreed to before I would film. I outlined what I would do, the time I needed to edit, exactly what I was giving them, and they had 30 days from time of invoice to pay their bill in full or there would be a penalty charged. They refused to agree and retracted their offer for me to film the production. Sad I talked myself out of a job, but I thought it fair and not to much to ask that they agree to terms before I filmed. Odd that they would refuse to agree to such conditions and makes you wonder if they had something up their sleeve?
It’s a fine line to walk. I have become almost over paranoid taking on a job by a verbal agreement. I almost did not film a band this weekend simply because of my paranoia from being taken advantage of so many times. I thought they were going to not pay men, pay half and refuse the rest, or not be satisfied with my work and want revision after revision. These things have happened in the past. I took the job though and I look forward to filming the band. Keep your fingers crossed.
Imitation Is the Greatest Form of Flattery.
What about poor imitation? Is it flattery when you butcher someones idea? Denis Smith is a photographer from South Africa who has been creating these amazing light painting called “Ball of Light”. I fell in love with these photographs the min I saw them. I went out to try to make my own ball of light, and I have to say this is going to take a couple tries haha.
Well, here is TAKE ONE!
And of course while I was there, I snapped a couple other night shots.
I photographed the soccer tournament this past weekend for the Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission. Here are a few shots I liked and thought I would share
The goalie kept an eye on the ball every step of the field never taking her eye off it.
This shot has such power in it! Obviously it’s a bit difficult to see in the small picture but the pure concentration on the faces of the girls in the foreground, the girl in the background standing on the edge waiting to react, and the goalie screaming. Love it.
I kept putting myself in their shoes. In this shot I thought “Oh man, if I was that kid the only thing I would be saying is… oh crap oh crap oh crap”
These next two shots I really thought were Cartier Bresson moments. That moment just before. Is it going in? No? Yes?
Happy Ball 🙂
WHO wouldn’t LOL at this capture?
I sat down and talked with Dale Wilson this past week and recorded his story as a nose gunner on a b24 in WWII. This is the first cut from the highlights reel.
Oh what a beautiful day it is! Makes it difficult to be inside working. I’m making progress though and I’m sure I’ll have some stuff posted through this week of video’s im cutting together. I’ve got the Veterans History Project, where I sat down and talked to Dale Wilson who was a nose gunner in WWII. I’ve got a short video from Bahama Bobs which is a great little dive place on the beach for food. And I’ve got some video to put together from the airport. I went out and filmed some from the Birds of Paradise biplane rides, so I’ll be posting something from that as well. SO stay tuned!
Oh and by the way, yesterdays post was not intended as a ‘poor pitiful me’. I post shorts about those sort of things so the rest of the photography community can see what a pain things can be at times. I finished college 4 years ago and was in no way prepared to deal with the real world of business. College teaches you the craft, the rest comes from dealing with people and talking with those who have dealt with blunders and good times. I want to share my blunders and good times so other artists emerging in the world know what to expect.
This is a super interesting story. Really shows what the world is like for artists. We constantly have to fight! Of course this guy is really laid back about it and brings an interesting question up. Is it ‘ok’ that his work has been used countless times even though he hasn’t been paid? It does mean practically unlimited exposure to his work and to his name, and that can’t be a bad thing. I say its horrible, its bad that his work has been used countless times and he has never been paid. In a few places someone else took credit for the photograph. Not to mention his work has been used to promote messages he may not agree with. Who’s to say I would even want my name associated to that piece of work if it was used in that manner.
These are types of things we fight with daily. Or I know I do. A lot of times you think, well surely if its a big company or a respectable place like a college, they won’t take advantage of you. WRONG. Of course I have to say this is not always the case. I have worked with some amazing people before. Friendly, considerate, and will pay you for your work. Sometimes the downfall to working for companies though, they take credit for your work. The image, artwork, or video is not credited to you the artist, it is credited to the company. Is that right? Again, I say no. If you are the creator of a piece of work, your name should be credited to it.
A few stories of the experiences I’ve had:
I contracted to film a web video for a colleges website. I go to watch a report on the local news stations website and my video is the precursor ad. Not only was it used out of context for what they paid for, it was also chopped up where they had someone else cut the intro and add a different slide at the end. Because of this editing the video no longer went to the beat of the music, it was just mixed junk. I, in no way, wanted my name associated to that video.
The employees at studio I worked for would smoke inside. By law this is illegal. When I asked one of them not to smoke at my computer in my workspace, he blew smoke in my face and walked away. I would find cigarette butts in my can of coke on my desk. Ok, this is more of a crap work environment that a story of misuse of work lol.
A college hired me to film and cut together a commercial for them. They provided me with the script and prerecorded voice over for the commercial. I filmed and cut together the video. They changed their mind and said the audio was not approved even though they gave me the audio. They did not want to pay for the work and in the end sent a check for 90% of the agreed price saying the video was only 90% done.
Two other separate occasions. I filmed and cut together a video. They approved them and put them on air. A month later they still had not paid their bill. On two different occasion they had filed away the invoice with the purchase order and never turned it into the business office!
I contracted to work for a studio were they refused to hire me as an employee. I continued to freelance but was called into the office where the boss told me I had to make a business decision. Whether I wanted to continue to receive a check from him, or to continue freelancing for others.
A studio I worked for wanted me to spend time out on a barge with construction workers and a crane to film a project. I had to sign release forms with the construction crew in case I was injured. The studio refused to cover me medically if anything happened but said I had to do it to keep working for them.
The new manager for a studio I contracted for overstepped his bounds demanding I do extra work I was not contracted to do. I would do the work and bill them for it. They refused to pay the bill. I went to the head boss about the problem of the manager overstepping his bounds constantly demanding other work. They fired me. I asked “did I do the job asked of me? Did I meet all deadlines?” They refused to answer any of my questions.
SO, to the point. As an artist you have to fight constantly. On one side, its business, smart business is getting as much as you can for as little as possible. Crooked business is getting as much as you can and cheating others out of as much as possible.
I’ve been slowly working on a new project the last couple months. Of course with any project, its months of planning, setting stuff up, making contacts, and THEN you get around to actually doing something.
The project itself is simply to document our Veterans. I know I would give anything in the world to have a video of my grandfather talking about his life. I don’t have that opportunity now, but it’s something I can give to others. I have been talking with a lot of people and trying to schedule interviews with veterans, particularly WWII veterans. The second part of the project is to submit the interview videos to the Veterans History Project. The VHP is a permanent collection in the Library of Congress dedicated to archiving our veterans stories.
I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and chitchat with a couple people thus far, and I just sat down with Dale Wilson and recorded his story. I have some editing still to do but I will post a piece of it once I am done. As for now, here are a couple notes he had recorded that he shared with me. A brief log of his time in WWII.
Friday February 18th – 20th
I left Gulf Shores to go on vacation. Usually its the other way around, everyone comes to Gulf Shores for vacation but I needed to get away for a few days. To relax, hang out, fend for myself, and to get away from everyone/everything. So I went camping. Not completely ruffing it, I had everything I could need in my truck, so I slung up my hammock, built a fire, and enjoyed it. This is a short video of my time away.