"... I don´t have to do the assignment if I don´t want or don´t need to...."
"...I never thought of sticking with them in the long term, really...I´m already in the changing process, since I need to shift my focus to more reliable assignments/clients. Time to grow up..."
Gone are the days where your ability to be hired was based significantly on the source of the tear-sheet/clip. Yet, far too many people think that getting established should be easy - or easier. If you've not put in your time covering the non-glamourous work, learning the craft, then being able to make images at "the big game", is going to mean giving up something - revenue.
Just because, however, you understand the argument against spec, doesn't mean you have a valid counter to it. The prevailing attitude is a combination of "I make my money elsewhere, I don't have to care if I am hurting others" combined with "it's not really hurting others...". Others then write "Really the bottom line is this. What I do should not affect you.", but it does. If a photographer is willing to shoot for free, that diminishes the value of the work that everyone else is doing. The argument from drunk drivers caught is "I didn't hurt anyone", and smokers opine about how their smoking isn't hurting others, despite reports to the contrary about second-hand smoke risks. It certainly does increase the costs of healthcare to everyone. Shooting spec does affect others as well.
Another photographer suggested that shooting "on 'spec' meaning give back to the community type of work for some small colleges and high schools. I also made money on them from parents and relatives of the players...", which reveals not the magnanimous nature of the photographer, but rather, the profit-making angle, as he then goes on to say "don't brand me as someone who gives away his work. Just ask my kids if I EVER give anything away and they'll tell you NO in an instant." Thus, this photographer is, in fact, operating a business on the sidelines - turning up to local games and making images with the intent to sell prints. If these are semi-pro or youth-sports leagues he's doing this at, there may be limits on earning income from non-professional athletes.
One photographer, who, after 20 years in the business of information technology, suggested that "perception is reality for everyone", and, were that the case, anarchy would rule the day. Reality is not maleable to one's circumstances or perspective. Just because very smart early historians perceived that the earth was flat, didn't make it a reality.
Further, the attitude is that photographs of pop warner football, to demonstrate ability, just won't cut it. This just isn't the case. In fact, at pop warner games, you can actually make arrangements with coaches and staff much easier to get access into the locker room beforehand, and afterwards, to be able to make the same behind-the-scenes great images that an SI or ESPN photographer can get of the major sports leagues of athletes "preparing for battle", celebrating victory, or wallowing in a bad defeat. Showing that behind-the-scenes coverage along with strong game-time imagery will let prospective paying editors know that you can tell the whole story, not just what happens within your narrow purview of your 400 2.8.
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