Business partner Tim Smith send me a link to a very interesting article about the Photography Business that I want to share with you. This is a very controversial topic as the photographer Evan Amos from Brooklyn, NY went out of his way and is giving images away for free. Read this excerpt and the link to the original article is at the bottom. And… do let me know what you think of this. Fame or fortune? Stupid or genius? Does he have to make money with the images or will he make money somewhere else?
I’m a very accomplished photographer. My photos have been in magazines, newspapers, textbooks, blogs, online videos, television and any other medium that you can think of. My work has been seen by millions and will be one of the most important resources for the history of video games. The only catch is that I’m almost never credited and don’t get paid for it.
Wikipedia is one of the internet’s most powerful sites, with its massive user base and high-ranking results in search engines. As a result, the photos associated with its articles quickly become some of the most-seen images on the internet. This massive visibility, however, comes at a cost: to place a photo on Wikipedia a photographer must give away all rights to the photo for free. This leads to massive exposure for your work, but at a price: you must release your rights so your photos can be used by anyone, for any purpose, without any compensation.
Read all of it on Gamasutra.
I think it is great that there are now better quality photos on Wikipedia. Most likely he learned through this personal project how to streamline the process. It helped him to become an expert.
I think all great photographers in some way start in a similar way–they photograph their passion. It is often a personal project that no one pays them to do. The process helps to establish them with a great portfolio.
Now can he leverage this work going forward? I think he can. Now if he approaches all his work this way then he will need to find some revenue stream to keep him going.
To think when he started that someone would pay him to do this with his portfolio may have been a stretch, but today he has the portfolio due to the project that should lead to work.
I think the key is everyone must have a personal project that they are passionate about, which becomes their porfolio/calling card.
Yet another example of a pro shooter dragging down the industry. There’s nothing wrong with free work, under some circumstances. Personally, I donate some of my work to NPO’s and different ministries. But I’d never give my work away for commercial or non-NPO work. Even with my pro-bono work, there are restrictions on usage. For someone to give away work, along with all rights, to a company like Wikipedia is ridiculous. It reeks of egocentric activity.