I was joking with a friend of mine the other day. She asked me to take a look at something on my iPhone and I asked her if it were eyeball worthy. Kinda like the ‘sponge worthy’ episode of Seinfeld . Because I did not want to waste precious eyeball time on something that was unworthy of viewing. She assured me it was worthy…she was wrong and I told her so. She then asked if I had just made the whole eyeball thing up? “Kinda. And I see it being used a lot this year”. I could not see her face over the phone but I am certain she was shaking her head. But the way I saw is if we only have one verifiable lifetime and therefore finite eyeball time, wouldn’t it best be used viewing beauty.
What I love most about being a photographer is the way practicing one art heightens your appreciation for other forms. There is a commonality that binds that which I believe is beautiful, but it’s form takes on infinite shapes. I try to surround myself with great art and design as much as possible. And much like Carrie Bradshaw’s addiction to shoes, I am drawn by unique interpretation, limited availability and perfection. I like cufflinks that look like the innards of watches, watches with Swiss precision and artwork that tells a story.
I guess that is why it surprises me when an artist devalues the work of his or her peers. It really hurts when a musician or designer places a high value on their music or couture but then is unwilling to properly compensate me for my work. Would they be willing to trade me the master copies of their upcoming release or the patterns from their upcoming line? Then why would they expect me to give my years of training, extensive knowledge of craft, not to mention my time and effort away? A collaboration is when a model, hair stylist, makeup artist and photographer come together to create an image. But when a fellow artist takes ‘our’ work to sell ‘their’ product or service it leaves a bitter taste and bad feelings.
I have turned down a lot of trade work this year. Probably more that I have in the previous two years. I really do not want my art to be defined by how much one pays but without the exchange of money I find that my work is often taken for granted and used inappropriately if not illegally. So while I find the balance, I will err on the side that allows me to leave a shoot feeling at least respected…