Friday, March 13, 2009

It's Friday, Do You Know Where Your Ballot Is?

Previously, we wrote and encouraged you to learn about, and subsequently, to vote "no" on the referendum before you (that likely just arrived in your mailbox), as an ASMP member (and if you're NOT a member, click here to join) your voice should be heard.

I wrote extensively about this previously (read it here), so I won't rehash what I wrote then, but I WILL repost it today as the deadline is March 15th (meaning mail it today or tomorrow!). Let me make one thing clear about this referrendum - I am not on ASMP's board, I was not in the past, and I don't currently have any plans to be on the board. Further, ASMP has not asked me to take a position, I am doing so because I think that the referendum is ill-advised, and will be detrimental if passed.

A few weeks ago, in response to an ASMP seminar in New York, the leader of this referendum - Scott Highton - sent out a missive with criticisms of the messages that were put forth, and suggested that what the presenter said at that seminar was "flat out wrong" and that the presenter "should be ashamed of misleading members this way."

As Scott Highton suggested in his letter in criticism of the brief remarks that the presenter made, Highton reports that the presenter said "the current By-Law referendum, and claiming that if passed, it would prevent talks like this from being presented by ASMP in the future."

Actually, what the presenter said was, in point-of-fact, the truth.

That presenter, who is on the National board of ASMP, and is a leading expert on digital asset management for individual photographers, would not be in the financial position to be traveling the country away from his photography business giving those talks. Other national board members who are experts in fields like website search-engine-optimization, and so on, would have to choose between volunteering their time to serve the membership at a national level, and giving presentations. Thus, the cream that has risen to the top and are volunteering as leaders on the national board could not also serve as traveling presenters to chapters, and earn a token amount of money for their 2-3 day commitment they have for each of the cities they have to travel to, loosing money because they were not available for photo assignments for their clients, and giving great benefit to the members their programs touch. And, let me remind you - these token payments are coming from sponsors via ASMP, and not coming out of membership dues.

Further, this referendum would eliminate the token $15k payment to the President for what is essentially a 40-hour a week job for a year. Further, the Library of Congress project that came to ASMP was, in-point-of-fact, brought to ASMP by a board member - and, if this referendum were passed - that would not - in fact could not - happen in the future.

What Highton hasn't been so forthcoming about is the fact that he was on the national board at the time that it was voted that directors should be paid, and he voted in favor of the very thing he is now opposing so hard. Scott Highton could easily paraphrase John Kerry's famous flip-flop line about funding the war, and say "First I voted for paying directors for giving talks, and now I am opposing it." Nice flip-flop Scott. Good luck getting elected.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)


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9 comments:

Virginia Annual Report Photographer said...

It wouldn't take a one eyed rabid raccoon 2 seconds to knaw holes through Scott's continued referendum tirade.
This will strip ASMP of any and all credibility as the experts driving ASMP will be forced out and the hopeful amateurs try to take the helm only to find the unpaid burden too much to bear.
Forget thos member benefits, foregt thos eever frequent improvements - all pissed into the wind if this passes

I'm disappointed I supported this motion ( a motion I thought entirely different from that proposed) with my name used in emailings of would-be supporters. Scott was not at all straight about the true wording of this disastrous resolution and had I know I would have take a huge steaming bump upon it.
FedEx you "NO" vote in immediately!!

THE Annual Report Photographer said...

I am so very happy that I let my membership in ASMP fade into my photographic history.

It is a tribal organization that loves to fight among themselves on what they consider "important issues."

LIFE is too short to waste a moment or a breath on this group.

ASMP Member said...

The biggest problem with what Scott has done is that it furthers the impressions of the previous poster. In fact, the entire leadership (both national and local) sees the referendum as a divisive and unnecessary effort. That's unprecedented in ASMP's history.

The fact is, it's messy to represent the interests of any business group, and photographers are particularly difficult because they are so independent. If you see photography as your profession, then you should support someone working in your interest. While it would be nice to think that someone other than ASMP can do this effectively, the truth is that other groups, such as APA, simply don't have the reach. APA can muster only the barest outline of a national organization, at least up to this point.

While it's possible that going down in defeat might make Scott Highton be quiet, it's pretty unlikely.

ASMP Life Member said...

John,

I wonder why it is that you are so eager to name those whom you disagree with in your biased missives (such as Scott Highton), but not the board members who are receiving money from ASMP, which you seem to be trying to protect somehow

Isn't it true that you also have been paid by ASMP to present programs, while so many other dedicated ASMP members have not?

You may disagree with Scott on this and other issues, but if you look at his history in ASMP, you'll see a pretty extensive commitment over many years. Maybe you should be looking at the bigger picture, and the problematic ethics of ASMP's directors continually approving payments of ASMP's money to each other. These are not just minor payments, either. They appear to be thousands of dollars at a time. And ASMP's board won't even provide details of who's getting paid what!

I certainly share Scott's concern, and fully support this referendum. The fact that I've been harassed by national board members, and even my own chapter president for supporting this reform, makes me understand the need for it even more.

Advertising Photographer said...

ASMP INFIGHTING

SEE

Dick Weisgrau

ASMP = TRIBAL WARFARE

Anonymous said...

As a former ASMP member I can only say that in my experience there are good and not-so-good reasons to enjoy membership in this association. But after a while it became clear to me that leaving would be the best thing that I could do for myself; to move me away from the infighting that was taking place within the ASMP.

After being a member for over 10 years and seeing; again in my opinion, that the membership was getting "watered down" with many photographers that didn't do photography as a full-time profession; and membership turning a blind eye from other members that were doing the business harm by giving away all rights and so on, it was best for me to move on.

Today the ASMP is not what our "Founder Fathers" envisioned it to be when they just about gave up their careers in the late 40's to get this association off the ground. Eugene Smith would be truly disappointed if he could see how things have changed within the ASMP.

The ASMP is now a toothless multicolored tiger that spends it's days chasing it's own tail.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting Comments:

"It wouldn't take a one eyed rabid raccoon 2 seconds to knaw holes through Scott's continued referendum tirade.
This will strip ASMP of any and all credibility as the experts driving ASMP will be forced out and the hopeful amateurs try to take the helm only to find the unpaid burden too much to bear.
Forget thos member benefits, foregt those ever frequent improvements - all pissed into the wind if this passes."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"The biggest problem with what Scott has done is that it furthers the impressions of the previous poster. In fact, the entire leadership (both national and local) sees the referendum as a divisive and unnecessary effort. That's unprecedented in ASMP's history."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"Maybe you should be looking at the bigger picture, and the problematic ethics of ASMP's directors continually approving payments of ASMP's money to each other. These are not just minor payments, either. They appear to be thousands of dollars at a time. And ASMP's board won't even provide details of who's getting paid what!"

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"After being a member for over 10 years and seeing; again in my opinion, that the membership was getting "watered down" with many photographers that didn't do photography as a full-time profession; and membership turning a blind eye from other members that were doing the business harm by giving away all rights and so on, it was best for me to move on."

Comment:

This seems this more about longterm control of ASMP than anything directly benefiting the membership IMHO. It will cost them membership from some portions of the community but it would appear the lemming populas may be out numbering the professionals here.

A friend of mine use to always say " I just want me and my family to have an unfair advantage in life"

John Harrington said...

Dear ASMP Life Member:

>>> I wonder why it is that you are so eager to name those whom you disagree with in your biased missives (such as Scott Highton), but not the board members who are receiving money from ASMP, which you seem to be trying to protect somehow

Let's see, because Scott is just wrong, mis-informed, and on a witch hunt. Further, Scott has been very outspoken in naming and criticizing several board members, who's names are irrelevant insofar as this referendum isn't targeted at those individuals, but at the by-laws that govern the board. To name them would make it appear as if I were defending those individuals, and my position is not specific to them, but to Scott's incorrect and misguided efforts.

>>>Isn't it true that you also have been paid by ASMP to present programs, while so many other dedicated ASMP members have not?

Yes, of course. I have also said I am not a board member (if I was, I would be specifically precluded from writing what I have) and that I do not have any current plans to become one. Thus, this referendum would have no effect on me or my presentations. Further, I have not hidden the fact that I have been paid for my presentations, but these payments are token amounts, a I earn my living making pictures. I have, however, made the point previously that I quantified that I have lost over $10,000 in shooting/assignment fees from clients because I was out speaking to ASMP chapters instead of shooting during the SB2 program that I spoke on, and was away from my clients for. Further, as I have already made clear - if I am speaking to my local ASMP chapter, or even other nearby chapters, I have not charged, and only had my expenses covered (but not always). By way of example - this week of am speaking during 3 programs at the NPPA's Northern Short Course being held locally, and I am doing that for free - which will interfere with paying assignments that I can quantify will cost me over $1,500 in shooting fees I will be paying someone else to cover for me. To suggest that I have a dog in this fight with your insinuation as an effort to diminish my argument is nothing short of laughable.

>>> You may disagree with Scott on this and other issues, but if you look at his history in ASMP, you'll see a pretty extensive commitment over many years. Maybe you should be looking at the bigger picture, and the problematic ethics of ASMP's directors continually approving payments of ASMP's money to each other. These are not just minor payments, either. They appear to be thousands of dollars at a time. And ASMP's board won't even provide details of who's getting paid what!

While I have never been a National Board Member or Chapter President, I have been keenly aware of the ASMP politics - by way of example, I was one of the charter members of MPCA, which, since you're a life member, you'll recall no doubt. Further, not only have I not always agreed with ASMP, I was very very vocal in my criticisms of them last Summer on several issues - I do not take a lock-step flag-waving mindset to ASMP, I support what's right, and I challenge where I conclude they are in the wrong, or misguided. In this case, Scott is just wrong, and, if you are a supporter of this position, so are you.

>>>I certainly share Scott's concern, and fully support this referendum. The fact that I've been harassed by national board members, and even my own chapter president for supporting this reform, makes me understand the need for it even more.

Enjoy your membership, and the full privileges of the first amendment. You are entitled to your opinion, no matter how wrong it may be.

-- John

Anonymous said...

You could not pay me to belong to ASMP. Those guys would rather crow about injustices than do anything and they prefer to belittle each other.

What a joke.

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