Calling all artists...photographers, makeup artists, stylists, hairdressers and anyone else who wants to join as we strike to send a message to the rest of the industry and those who need us that our talent and skill is valued and should be compensated fairly.
We, and I use "we" because I have been guilty of "TFP", collaborations etc. myself. Not just in the very beginning but along the way. There are a few schools of thought behind the collaboration/TFP. Maybe we're doing it to get our name out there. Maybe we're trying to prove ourselves to some agency that we can do the job, that we are good enough etc. Sure there is a time for this type of thing...in the very beginning, while we're building our book/portfolio....when we're not good enough. These are not the people I am reaching out to. I am reaching out to every talented artist I see who IS good enough, has tremendous skill/craft who are still doing this. STOP! We are being taken advantage and used.
What other industry would do this? If you cleaned pools, would you really clean a bunch of pools for free to get started? Discount maybe...free probably not and you definitely wouldn't continue to do it once you were a pro. And imagine if your business was cleaning pools, washing cars, making sandwiches if people were to approach you and want you to work for free. That's crazy right? but we do it all the time. Why would we do that? Oh right, because it's 'collaborative'...it gets our name out there. Guess what happens...that same person you shot who is going to post and get your name out there...he/she is also shooting with every other artist and giving them equal advertising as well. Kind of cancels out what we were trying to do. Speaking of our industry. There was a day not that far in the past where things worked like this. If you were a new model or new photographer and trying to build your portfolio you would find others to collaborate with at your level. Once you had a solid portfolio and had a rate you moved forward getting paid for the work you did. Now that free work and collaboration continues as if we're trying not to let the sand slip through our fingers. Take a look at the modeling agencies. There was a day when photographers who shot models from the agencies got paid. They had to...there were only so many talented photographers who shot that kind of work around. But today with DSLR cameras/gear becoming more affordable and knowledge and software a click away, so many photographers are knocking on agency doors they no longer have to pay. We did this to our own industry.
What if we stopped working for free? ALL of us. What would agencies, boutiques, designers etc. do? They would have to pay. So to keep it simple, I am asking all artists to join me on a strike from any and all free work/collaborations. While I'd like to see it go on forever and completely take our industry back, I am just asking that we all try it for 2 months (Dec and Jan). Just to see if we can make anyone take notice. I mean, what if not one photographer shot one agency model for 2 months at the start of the season here in South Florida when they need to update their portfolios. 2 things would happen....the couple photographers who do still get paid from time to time would get more work than they could handle and two, some of the rest would start getting the paid work they'd been missing. Is it scary...sure it is. If only some of us go on strike then we fear everyone else is progressing and getting new work/clients. The universe is bigger than that....there is enough abundance to go around to everyone. Someone else's success has nothing to do with our journey. We have to trust that and value our time, our talent and our craft. We and what we create is worth it.
SO please join me by posting on your social media in your own way that you are supporting this artist's strike against free work. On a last note, you are welcome to share this post with a fellow artist to show what it's about but I'm not looking for followers or any attention (will probably lose some). In closing, this is about all of us. We share the same issues, pain, struggle etc. Let's come together for a change. Let our clients choose their artist based on talent instead of who is the best who will work for free. Let's take back this industry together.