Friday, September 25, 2009

Why I don't sell out....

I have had several people tell me lately that I need to sell my pictures or I need to think about getting a career in photography. While I am flattered, thanks but no thank you and I'll tell you why I am not interested: because Art is subjective and I don't like a subjective paycheck. The second you sell out something you love for a dime, you will love it less and less as time goes on.

A few years ago, when I had my little design company with a few clients and was contracting with the local school board, I learned all about Art being subjective. As it stands now anything I do, I do it for myself. If you like it great. If you hate it, fine: don't look. The issue with being creative and wanting a paycheck out of the deal is you have to bow to the whims of the client and most clients have no idea about complimentary or contrasting color palettes let alone the myriad of other design elements. You may try to steer your client away from the neon puke green color that they just love with the pepto pink border but in the end, they are your client and if you want to get paid you best deliver what they ask for. I am so over that aspect of being creative.

One of my most favorite places on the planet is the Dallas Museum of Art. I have spent literally hours in that place. I have wept in front of the Monet's there. I finally learned to appreciate Van Gogh sitting in the DMA and I learned art is subjective by viewing something that looked just like this:

Yep. That is a black rectangle set atop a white rectangle. Art. Art! Art? Really? It is in the museum so it must be art, right? What is your view on it? Mine is simple: that ain't art my friends. This is art:

*sigh* Monet

However there are some folks out there that will sing the praises of the b/w rectangle and I am sure they sell posters of it and that savvy people buy them to hang in their offices or homes. How could I ever compete with that sort of mentality. I can't, so I won't bother. I won't mention that I made a comment at the DMA stating that the rectangles weren't Art. Thankfully a docent over heard me and stated that it wasn't so much that the piece was Art but that this artist was the first one ever to put a black rectangle on top of a white one. Really. The first one. Ever. Some how I think not. I think they were the first one to get someone to actually buy the piece as "Art" instead of it being hung on a refrigerator where it belonged. But I digress...

The other issue I have about selling my photos is that I am lazy. I really don't like the idea of watermarking all of my images and then posting about copyright etc. ad nasuem. If you are going to tell me I could just disable the right click capabilities on my site, I could. But if you know anything about html then you know you can easily work around that disability. The only real protection is the watermark but that is also problematic in and of itself. The only way for a watermark to work is it needs to cover your entire photo as shown below:

and a watermarked picture is just plain ugly in my book. Sure you get the idea of what you will be paying for but I just hate the whole aesthetic of the watermark. Besides, there are several programs available to remove watermarks and heck, if you are pretty handy with PhotoShop you can remove them yourself without really harming the original. And sadly enough most people only watermark the corner of their pictures and they don't even think about someone borrowing their picture and cropping their watermark right out. My view is pretty simple: if someone wants your image, they will get it. Period.

Now I could submit photos to the likes of Dreamstime and hope they accept what I submit and then sit back to rake in the dough at 20 cents per download. Actually, I am already planning on dumping Tobey and buying a villa in Italy next to George Clooney on my proceeds. Not. Don't kid yourself though, if Nat Geo ever came calling, I would sell my little pixels to the highest bidder but considering everyone has a camera these days and that eventually you will take a fantastic picture whether you mean to or not, whether you know the difference between aperture and ISO and what they do for your shot or not, I figure the odds of getting rich off of any thing I snap is slim to none.

I'll close this post as I started, I take pictures for me and to document our lives for my children. One day when I am not around, it is my hope that they share with their children some of my shots. Where am I going you ask? Why to the Villa in Italy of course, George Clooney is waiting on me.


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