I get it: photographers are not thought to be as “important” as electricians or bricklayers, nor are they generally thought to be as valuable as teachers or meat cutters, but has anyone ever attempted to organize photographers into anything more than an elitist collective like Magnum?
My thoughts on this are as follows: most photographers are petty and despise the work and success of their contemporaries. It’s pretty hard to organize into a brotherhood when you think that way. You cannot be petty and small-minded if you want to unionize. It would be nice to, for example, have standard levels of apprentice, journeyman and master photographer, and to have wage scales commensurate with said levels. This would make shooting for a major publication a straightforward process financially speaking, and may add clarity as to what an apprentice should charge to shoot a wedding as opposed to a journeyman.
Let me pause and say that I’m a political moderate AKA a registered independent. I’m not typically the guy who has strong opinions about labor unions. There are all sorts of counter-argumentative things to consider when organizing a photographic union, and price undercutting and scab behavior would be rampant, but this is just a thought exercise, not a proposal….
Actors and screenwriters have unions, so it’s not like you have to just build or fix or teach something in order to unionize. There can be artists (if we are indeed artists) who form unions. Many photographers would be utterly terrified of being blacklisted or denied work, but I also think many of us on the street photography side would consider joining such a union. Street photographers don’t get paid anyhow and most of us earn a living through conventional jobs. It’s the wedding, portrait, sports, magazine and commercial shooters who would bitch up and cross hypothetical picket lines in all likelihood. I understand that we all have families to feed, but a union would be beneficial to all of us in the long run and provide a much needed hierarchy and eventually structured payment to the whole genre. Of course, as I said earlier, most photographers seem resentful and jealous of other, more accomplished photographers. That is unfortunate and is part of the reason, along with affordable amateurism, that the whole of the photographic profession is drying up money-wise….
This is no micro-struggle. This is real shit that I’d love Peta-Pixel or one of the big dog blogs to address. We are dying and we need to band together in order to survive. Of course I could be wrong for caring about this, being that nobody else seems to….
I don’t know if you fine citizens in America have noticed but social media is nearly unusable during the weeks leading up to an election for President. I can’t enjoy one good WorldStarHipHop fight video before I see folks who only watch CNN when there is a tragedy, all of a sudden write posts as if they are talking heads or political pundits. I had no idea watching two debates on TV gives a citizen an honorary degree in political science.
So this week more than any other before, my Facebook feed is largely anti-Trump posts (most of my Facebook friends are black liberals) or the occasional “Hilary sucks too” post. My white Facebook friends are all over the map topic wise. Some are dreading nuclear war if Clinton is elected. Others are offering up no-chance third party candidates. Many are dead quiet, and these are probably folks who have decided to vote for Donald. Your boy Ric Ray is a moderate and is a registered independent. I never know who I will vote for until I’m in the booth staring at the names. The last two times I voted for president I was overcome with the spirit of “we shall overcome” and voted for Obama. In truth I wasn’t too keen on him or his opponents. I’m just not enthusiastic about the major elections at all.
Scrolling through my Facebook feed, and to a lesser degree my Instagram feed, I am horrified at the depths to which people are going to in order to bash these candidates. I understand that in a democratic nation such as ours, coupled with modern tech and social media, this is what is going to happen. There will be doom-and-gloom posts and deeply ironic judgements rendered on a candidates’ character, judgements that a person would never want made against themselves. When confronted with that argument people like to say, “…but I’m not running for president!”
My response is always, “…you would if you could”
Every working adult would accept the position of president or king or queen if the position required little to no effort to gain and maintain.
I get it. This is the first, full-fledged, reality-TV based election. Both candidates are famous for being celebrities mores than for being good politicians, even though Clinton was a senator for a decade. The same way people bash or blindly worship Kim Kardashian, folks will do with Trump and Mrs. Clinton. I’m not even saying this is wrong. I just don’t want to see it on my Facebook feed. Thus, I’m unfollowing damn near half my feed until this whole “leader of the free world” thing gets sorted out…..
Unless you are one of those folks who post mean political attacks, please like and share my post….