An e-mail arrived yesterday, and I must say, I did a double-take on the date when I finished reading it. I thought, with absolute certainty that it was April 1st. Then I thought that maybe the former head of a high school pep squad had gotten ahold of the NY Post's photo department, holding tryouts like he did on the cheer squad, carrying out a "simulated assignment during your visit, so please come prepared", read the missive. I thought - oh, are they going to start a fire on the 33rd floor of the building to see how the assignment would be covered? Rent police uniforms and then beat down the interns to see how the photographer captures the intensity, and if they're wimps and use an 80-200, or are really committed and and get into the fray and use their 14mm, and then compare those that use their 14mm, with those that have a 14mm rectilinear? Play street rules basketball in the lobby and see if the photographer knows how to set backboard remotes on the fly?
Who gave this guy - David Boyle, a photo budget and the balls to call for photo tryouts! Try looking at portfolios, websites, or ask for some sample work. Heck, look at your own paper's credits to see who's work you like that you've already paid them for! Here's what he wrote:
Dear All,Bring lights? Like my arena strobe kit? All my Norman's? My paparazzi point-and-shoot? My digital bodies and my F2's I use as a doorstop? All of my equipment? What? You wouldn't take my list of insured equipment as a legitimate statement of my capabilities? As a journalist, I can't actually be trusted to be honest when I state I have the equipment I do? Perhaps if that's the case, I can't be trusted to not alter my photos either?
As you know, we pay our freelancer rates based on experience and equipment. As such, we’re updating our equipment records in an audit, and need you to come into the office for one day to meet with David Boyle and Dave Johnston.
We will pay a day rate for this visit.
Please bring all of your equipment along with you, including your laptop
We will be looking for the following types of equipment:
Radio (for monitoring police/fire)
Your Camera Bodies
300mm Lens and Converter
All Your Lenses
All Your Battery Packs
Point & Shoot Camera
Any other lights
You can schedule an appointment by contacting Jessica Hober, our new photo desk assistant, at (212) 930-8530
You will be asked to carry out a simulated assignment during your visit, so please come prepared.
And what the hell does the fact that YOU are going to an equipment audit have to do with calling in freelancer's gear, unless you think they stole from you when you were practicing your home team cheers from days gone by and weren't minding the store? Are you logging all the photographer's serial #'s of their own equipment? How truly Orwellian of you! Is this 1984? Do you think that someone will forget that they lifted a 300 2.8 from your equipment closet and bring it on down and represent it as their own?
While you're at it, why don't you collect all the freelancer's Photoshop serial #'s to make sure they're not infringing on the copyright of Adobe when they are editing the photos for you, since every photo that you work on in Photoshop now has embedded within it's metadata the serial # of the Photoshop you used? Ditto for PhotoMechanic - make sure they're legit copies, what, since these freelancers can't be trusted! Ask them to prove they've registered their software!
I can only hope this is some grand scheme to mock someone (or me!), and this isn't the new reality.
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