Business is good? Business is bad? What's your answer?
There is a lot to look at these days, and to come up with an answer. Just as Chicago delivers its chosen son to become President, and one of its premier photographers to become official White House Photographer, both papers are joined in the pit of bankruptcy.
Life Magazine has, as Daryl Lang so rightly points out, devastated the value of a wide swatch of photographic imagery. I can hear the mantra now "heck, Life Magazine published the best images of the 20th Century, and if they are free for me to use, why should I pay for others?" (And, as someone who has been published in that magazine - one caution - I registered the work with the Copyright Office, so I await the infringers mis-step.)
C-Registry as the roadkill of the
Web 2.0 era.
April 15th is just around the corner. Yes, friends, the tax man cometh. How many of you are sitting down right now and realizing that 50% of your profits are going to the government, and realizing that you didn't save anything to pay Uncle Sam, and are now wondering where you're going to come up with the money you owe?
To comment on another piece by PDN's Lang, it was written about the demise of Studio Photography magazine (that I will miss from my mailbox) that "The industry is shifting away from a business-to-business segment and more toward business-to-consumer, spokesperson Kathy Scott said in an e-mail." Hogwash I say. While B2C, in the form of weddings, senior portraits, family portraits, and so on, will remain steady and consistent, B2B continues, from this independent photographers' standpoint, to be a growth area. The higher likelihood is that their titles were not seeing the ad revenue necessary to sustain it, in print form. Photographers are getting their information from broader sources, much of it online. Previously, the print platforms were the gatekeepers of insights and knowledge, and now, as a critical mass (AC Nielsen reports Sixty-four percent of Americans age 12 or older have used the Internet in the past year...Almost half of these Internet users (31 percent of all US residents age 12 or over) report going online everyday) is achieved, sources for trusted and thorough knowledge are available to the masses with a few mouse clicks.
Two weeks ago, against the advice of my investment advisor, I took I bet out on a banking stock that was at $1, and now I have tripled that investment - because I was in a cash position to make (and, yes, possibly lose) that investment. If that investment (bet) had tanked, I would have been just fine, so it was as safe a bet as I felt I could make, with a significant potential upside.
Despite concerns in Q4 of 2008, we have staffing levels that we have not had to diminish, so as the calls are coming in for work, we have the post production capacity and logistical support to prepare estimates and collect on invoices.
It has been suggested that this blog is about hits and traffic, and as anyone who actually reads this knows, thats never been the case. The purpose for this blog is to give insights and analysis on the business of photography. Sometimes instructional, sometimes informative, and, yes, often critical. When we see bad moves by players in the industry, we call them out on it. Whether it was Xerox, PDN, Getty, Icon, Nat Geo, USPW, ASMP, AP, PACA, Conde Nast, DRR, Microsoft, or any of the other players regular readers have come to know more about. When these players try to slip a mickey to photographers, we try to be the antidote.
When the economy is down, as the saying goes, cash is king. The time to buy is in a depressed market - if you can. When you have no ulterior motive, the people standing around trying to figure out what your motives are for doing the right thing often would benefit from a bit of self-examination. As Ice Cube says (here), "check yo self before you wreck yo self."
Friends, the glass is what you make it out to be. From my perspective, the future is bright, and, for some, as they say, it is darkest before the dawn. For others, it's always darkest before it's pitch black. Go figure.
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