Pay to Play

Today is one of those days when I just want to do photography for the fun of it.  No more paid gigs, just personal work and if someone wants to buy my books or art then cool, if not then oh well and still just do what I want to do.  It isn’t because I don’t love photography and it definitely isn’t because of my clients at all.  I just really like creating new images and shooting projects because it is what I love to do.

It is similar to when I write music.  I don’t think about who I am going to impress with my writing, I don’t care if there are only 3 people at an open mic night or if I ever play to a huge crowd again.  The only reason I write music is because it is in me and I just have to do it.  Photography is a very similar journey for me.  I shot personal work for years, did weddings and portraits because people asked me to.  I started photographing models because nobody else did it in my area for many years.  I was the go-to guy.  Things have changed.

Now so many people are photographers.  Every other guy in LA wants to shoot pretty girls and call it fashion.  Models are now photographers, which if funny because they are now realizing how other models don’t want to pay photographers, including them!  The whole industry is over saturated with mediocre talent, very much like commercial radio today.  Magazines are not paying for photography because they don’t have to, there are thousands of photographers submitting work for free or even paying to be picked up by a magazine!

I never paid to play as a musician and I refuse to as a photographer.  For some reason everyone thinks photographers are made of money, this is so wrong!  To be perfectly honest, I work my ass off just to get by.  Granted I do have a nice house and car, but I got a great deal on them both and I know people who are living in shitty apartments and paying more rent than I do.  So I got lucky and searched for a great place to live and somehow lucked out on my new car.  But my point is that I don’t have extra cash to pay for hair and make up, pay for a model, pay to build a set, pay for the film or whatever I need to take the pictures with and then pay for the magazine to run my editorial to get one little blip on their website.  The industry is so fucked in so many way.

But now when it comes to doing it all just for the fun of it, I have no problem paying for all of the above.  Because I am doing it for me and for anyone who would enjoy viewing my work.  This is why I sold my own CD’s of my music, never signed a record deal for my own music and may wind up starting my own label one day.  Artistic control is awesome, but having people ask to see your work because they like it is far greater than having to pay people to look at it.

I know I’m digging my own hole here and I know that I will probably have fewer “fans” because I am not shooting for magazines anymore.  But so what.  I am just thankful that people still come to this site and still follow my work and rantings.  These are the people who keep pushing me forward.  Many people have told me they liked my work and have never bought anything from me, and I’m cool with that.  I’m cool with that because they are here, free of charge, they don’t solicit me for money and we can all just appreciate the work.  Of course some people tell me they come here for my rants, these are the same people who read Playboy for the articles. 😉

Charlie by The Average Jim