Friday, February 13, 2009

ASMP Referendum - Check Your Mail

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 weekly between now and March 15th. 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.

Last night, 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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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Extreme Skin-Flint

Sometimes you can't make this stuff up. Our "Skin-flint" for today is one spa in the Palm Springs area.

You must:
1) Shoot stills and some short video
2) Competing against another photographer, who is female for "a range of insight", on the same day, using the same models
3) Have "great eyes"
4) Willing to work in exchange for trade only
5) If male, cannot use the trade alone
6) Must shoot quickly

Oh, and "...the photographer is able to work nude or top free and sarong as this is A nude shoot and the staff of -X- is also all female,top free or nude etc and there are Never any single men on the property."

Again - You MUST work nude, or (and I am presuming this applies only to women) top free and a sarong.

The ad, and link, after the jump.

(Continued after the Jump)

Until such time as the fountain of humor (which would actually be funny if some of the postings they had weren't serious) that is Craigslist ceases to publish these things, we will continue to have a chuckle at the ends to which some clients will go (and, yes, likely, some photographers too) to get work for free and cheap.

Here's the listing (until someone flags it):

FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER FOR spa resort shoot (palm springs)

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2009-02-10, 12:01PM PST

The -X- awarded resort is seeking a female photographer for our annual spa resort shoot -This is going to be a Nude shoot !
This spa has many accolades and awards and is a nude spa hotel and club too-

There are never any single men on the property at sea mountain spa
The x-x-x-x-x-- inn is located in DHS minutes from Palm Springs California

If you know couples or models who want to be part of this let us know-! Their compensation is also $1200 in trade and use of photos.Let them know too

We seek updated images for our web site and some short video for flash movie for smi resort

You as the photographer, may also KEEP and Exploit the images that you take in any way you deem fit for the future-the photos should be not too posed although you as an artist may chose to pick some and make for creative cool art shots.
We are showing the resort as a Nude spa resort and club and also need shots of implied nudity too.We have a pool and spa and gardens and a 24 hour dance club and 4 star hotel rooms too that need to be shot.

There will be other female photographer on the property on that day as we seek a range of insight -The images you take are yours too for your sales or portfolio. The models are also keeping photos too

The spa hotel is also offering to YOU $1200 of spa trade which is two midweek VIP nights food and drinks too for two persons and two day spas eve spas any time in exchange for the shooting of these images for us and delivery of photos. We will have open model releases of all models.The trade is worth more then $1200

We should have at least 10 to 15 couples and mostly females available for the shoot that day -We do need to shoot quickly as there cannot be other hotel guests on the property and are shooting for the 8 am Monday March 2-SO the shoot might be 2 hour MAX- march 2 monday at 8 am shoot

There may be room at the hotel the night prior if you are coming from a distance and should know more about this soon too.

We are seeking Great eyes- We also ,since we are a nude resort need to know the photographer is able to work nude or top free and sarong as this is A nude shoot and the staff of SMI is also all female,top free or nude etc and there are Never any single men on the property. -X- is for couples and women only no single men -

It's the vibe thing as we want to photographer to blend with all of this . Thus the photographer must be comfortable with this -

This is in NO way a sex shoot! look at our site for samples and accolades asap!
send link to your work your resume photo etc.

Thank You

-x-x-x-x-- spas

This is here in large part for your humorous consumption. Yet, the sad reality is that SOMEONE will likely do this.

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Greed, Capitalism, and Free Markets

Is greed good? Were I to quote a Hollywood icon from the movie Wall Street, the words "Greed is Good", I would be showered by many with criticism. It's all about altruism, peace, love, and free stuff, right? So, instead, I will point you to several insights about greed, and suggest that, perhpas, the word "greed" has been made out to be a villain.

Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. Wikipedia has:

Greed is the selfish desire for the pursuit of money, wealth, power, food, or other possessions, especially when this denies the same goods to others. It is generally considered a vice, and is one of the seven deadly sins in Catholicism.
Yet, I believe that to apply the extreme position that greed applies "...especially when this denies the same goods to others", is an editorialization on the definition.

Greed - the desire to have more than one needs - is relative. To suggest, for example, that a priest or monk only has what they need, and nothing more, is to then suggest that anyone not "of the cloth", is therefore greedy.

If I, for example, have a two bedroom house, and three children, some may say that all I need is a roof over my head. I, on the other hand, would want a bedroom for me and my wife, and one for each of my children. Is that greedy? Do I need a bedroom for each child? That's relative to your perspective.

My city offers public schooling, but I am of the opinion that that education is poor, (and independant studies back me up on this), so I am sending my children to private school, and paying for that. Is that greedy? Here is something free, but I want something better. Some one argue I don't need that.

Where do we draw the line?

How often do I need a new car? New clothes? A new camera? New computers? How many assignments a month do I need, and how many do I want? Do I need to make a profit off of every shoot, or is it just that I want to?

The first video worth a listen to is from decades ago, with Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman:

More videos after the jump.
(Continued after the Jump)

Next up: Milton Friedman on self-interest and the morality corporations pursuing profits.

Milton Friedman debates Naomi Klein (by creative editing):

Charlie Rose takes this look at Friedman for almost an hour:

And finally, a bit of hollywood's take on Greed, thanks to Michael Douglas:

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Northern Short Course - Approaching Fast

Each year for almost a decade now, I have cleared my calendar mid-March and made my way to wherever the NPPA's Northern Short Course is being held to volunteer and make my presentations on the business of photography, and I've done so pre-dating my book's publication. This year, it's in my own back-yard, just a few miles from home, March 19th, 20th, and 21st, in McLean Virginia (map).

It's an amazing three days, and this year, Adobe guru Julieanne Kost (at left) will be giving two presentations - one on Lightroom (info here) and one on Photoshop (info here).

I have a presentation that is the same on Thursday and Friday (info here) on business and negotiating, and my friend and colleague Bill Foster is giving two talks (#1 here, #2 here) on getting your web pages ranked (a.k.a. search-engine-optimization) which will be well worth attending. I am eager to check out the video presentations, too.

Register Today. Register Now.

(Continued after the Jump)

In addition, Friday I will be moderating a panel on what to do if you've been laid-off or have taken a buy-out, with several people with different experiences participating, so that should be interesting.

Saturday will showcase several notable photographers - Melissa Lyttle (photographer and blogger - A Photo A Day), Brenda Ann Kenneally (Pulitzer nominee), Stephen Katz (2008 Photographer of the Year), and Scott Anger (25-year veteran photographer and Director of Video for the LA Times).

Register Today. Register Now.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Keep 'HOPE' Alive - Fairey Sues AP, Garcia a Writer?

Bloomberg News is reporting that Shepard Fairey is suing the Associated Press. Fairey has gone to court - Fairey v. The Associated Press, 09-cv-01123 - which was filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

In this filing, according to Bloomberg - "Fairey seeks a court order that the image, created in January 2008, doesn’t violate AP’s copyright. According to the complaint, Fairey’s work is protected by the Fair Use statute, which allows limited use of copyrighted material to make original works of art."

On the other side of the aisle, there seems to also be a flurry of activity with the AP working behind the scenes to file their own lawsuit against Fairey in New York as well.

Meanwhile, back in DC, Mannie Garcia shared with us the first two sentences of the contract that he did sign with the AP, on March 1, 2006:

"The Associated Press appreciates the services provided by independent freelance writers. Clarity about the professional relationship between the AP and each freelancer is essential."
Writer? Seriously? I mean, I know Mannie can write a clear and concise caption, but a writer produces text, a photographer, well, not so much. So much for clarity.

The plot thickens.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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The Inauguration of Barack Obama: Logistics & Perspectives

The inauguration of Barack Obama meant a great deal to the nation. To the photographers covering it, while it's historic, it is also familiar. Yet, everyone has their own perspective and approach.

For those coming from outside of Washington, or who are here in DC and covering this big event for the first time, we produced the "Inaugural 'Pre-Game' Behind-The-Scenes Video" to let you know as much as we could about how the "big day" was going to shape up. Following that, preparation continued.

We taped off a 30" x 5' section on the floor of our office (if you look closely, you'll see the tape on the carpet early in the video at the end of this post), and set up our most sturdy tripod.

We next turned to the duration of the pinacle of the day - the actual swearing in ceremony. We recounted our testing of the cameras, and CF card speeds in this video - 30 Seconds and counting - where we learned the best solutions for achieving the maximum number of images. While we had two cameras set up to be triggered remotely (as noted below), we also took a minute to talk to our colleague Scott Andrews of Canon - Scott Andrews, Remote Cameras, and the inauguration - about his perspective from the center stand.

(Continued after the Jump)

Once we were content with our tripod's rigidity, we attached to the top of the tripod the lynchpin of the setup - a Bogen 131D lateral Side Arm, which allowed for two Bogen 410 geared head with quick release tripod heads, as well as two other Bogen heads to be attached with Bogen super clamps in the middle. Attached to the legs are two Bogen magic arm, camera platform, and super clamps holding the D300 and D700 as well.

Below is the camera setup as seen from my standing position. The Tripod was leveled first, then the Bogen 131D arm attached. Then each of the end heads attached. Following that, the super clamps in the center, each with a head holding a 300mm and 500mm lens respectively (click the image to see it larger).

Below is the setup, as seen from above looking down on it. In this image, you can better see the D300 in the front. You'll also note that while I am making this image with the missing D3, all the other cameras are triggered by the D3, which is the only one I will be looking through. Every other camera has been prepositioned and pre-focused and locked down.(click the image to see it larger).

As someone who spent more of my formative years than I had planned living in the wilderness of Alaska, I earned the hat I am wearing, and it is keeping my head very warm indeed, and I've worn it for several of the last inaugurals. In the foreground of this image is the Canon XHA1 video camera that we used to do all the interviews in the video at the bottom. (click the image to see it larger).

Final preparations and packing took place on Monday, January 19th in the afternoon, as I had an assignment that would keep my busy until 1am Monday night. By the time I got back to the office it was 2am, and 30 minutes later I was asleep. The video below picks up two hours later, at 4:30 am.

In a bit of a departure from our normal videos, we've started with the departure from the office, then the journey to the Capitol, and we then turn our attention to interviewing several of my colleagues - Dudley Brooks of Ebony/Jet Magazines, Dirk Halstead of the Digital Journalist (read more of his thoughts here), David Burnett of Contact Press, Vincent Laforet of Time/Laforet Visuals, Chuck Kennedy of McClatchy Newspapers, and Paul Morse, working for the Official Inaugural Book Project.

(to view the video on Viddler with a lower bandwidth connection, click here, and if you have more bandwidth, and want to watch it FULL SCREEN, click above on the lower right corner of the screen, or click here to watch it at Viddler.)

To answer the obvious question - yes, each camera made exactly the image I had planned. All were just focused as planned, and I have multiple perspectives to consider, as do those looking to license an image I produced. The payoff was that all the planning and attention to detail resulted in a smooth execution without any significant problems.

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