I Pledge To Screen My Photographers More

I Pledge To Screen My Photographers More

With thanks to the multi-jobing Daryl Lang over at PDN, for bringing to our attention the member of the press corps who interupted the speech by Sen. Barack Obama recently (Video: Obama Photographer Self-Destructs, 8/7/08). Go watch the video, and read what Daryl wrote, and follow his links. In short, a credentialed member of the press covering the news made himself the news.

This isn't new. And Let's remember folks - you get what you pay for.

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Let's be clear - this photographer was working for Bloomberg News, and I know full well that they have a great deal of assignments they need covered. But, the problem is, they don't have a stable of photographers everywhere, and they are harried. So, they cut corners, and when they are paying as low a wage and with as substantial a rights grab as they are, this is what they risk getting.

I can't know you the number of times I have been in a press pen, and watched as other "members of the press" applauded and whistled when a speaker made a remark. Often, it's just one or two, and it happens a few times a month. It happens, and I cringe. Or, when I am at a press availability, and the "reporter", before asking their question, has to know the musician just how many albums they have of the artists, and right after the press availability, are trying to get me, or some other member of the press to take a posed photo with their camera (usually a point and shoot) of them and the artist. I always decline, as do my professional brethren.

We are there to cover the news - whatever the news is. We are not there to fabricate the news or become the news. If there had been a forum for a Q&A with the candidate, then the question "why don't you start your events with the pledge of allegiance" might be appropriate - from a reporter. Surely, NOT from a photographer.

When you want a professional, hire one, and pay them a professional wage. When you're not paying a professional wage, the ones who see professional, act professional, shoot professionally, and are true professionals, will decline your assignment request. I recommend you take a minute to see how professional (and legendary) photographer PF Bentley handled a bad-deal situation in this previous post we did - At least the Hypocrite Knows Right from Wrong (1/11/07). When you have decided that any Joe can do your assignments as long as they have a camera and a few photos on a website, and the Joes that know that what you're paying isn't a fair wage, and say no, the Joes that don't know see at this as either a great opportunity to "build their portfolio", or, as a great opportunity to make a political statement.

Please post your remarks by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

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