Yesterday, as I walked down memory lane, looking for photographs I took with the Canon Rebel XT, I came upon this. I took it with my Canon 20D, back in 2010. This photo is significant because it was my first photograph ever published in a magazine.
It was several years ago. I was excited to get my picture in a glossy magazine — a nicely done, local Austin publication. I told my readers not to sell yourself short, but I have to admit that I did just that. It was the first and only time for a commercial publication — I gave my work out for free. I did ask for payment but they said that they didn’t pay for non-commissioned work. It was probably just a line to get my stuff for free. I didn’t care. I was seduced by the chance to get my work validated.
It was fun to show the magazine to house guests. It made me feel like a real photographer. But I got it out of my system. I realized that giving your work away helps no one, especially the pro photographers. Commercial publications, yeah they can pay for the privilege. I responded to future inquiries with a price. I may negotiate but the era of getting something for nothing was over.
I look at this photograph, not with regret, but as a marker of my maturity. Sure, I still like to see my stuff in print, but not without demanding my fair share. In the age of rapidly declining value for creative content, I may be waging a losing battle. But that’s okay. Because I now realize that what I produce has value.
I’m part of a community of content creators and we should look out for each other. My boys, 14 and 10, actually buy their music, as do I. There is no free downloading in this household. At least while I have some level of control over my boys.
Yeah, musicians. They too need all the support that we can give them, as do photographers, authors and even bloggers.
Click on the photograph to see a larger image and hover over the photo to see the exposure detail.