Commercial aspect of photography...

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Mumfandc, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. Mumfandc

    Mumfandc TPF Noob!

    Jan 3, 2005
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    New York City, Chelsea
    Well, I start my intership with Peter Halley tommorrow (I'm both excited, and NERVOUS as heck)! I was reading his bio and noticed that some time ago he once hired photographer Collier Schorr as an assistant. I thought that was really cool!

    I first saw Collier Schorr's work on a documentary on PBS (Art:21...I HIGHLY recommend the DVD, it's excellent), and really admired her dedication to her photography. Her photographs largely deal with gender and identity, with many androgynous subjects. But she mostly focuses on the masculine side. One of her strongest bodies of work is her portrayals of young German men in (Nazi-like) soldier outfits, who certainly possess the apparent quality of being one, but inside aren't and feel some level of discomfort. Another series, is the portrayal of male and female subjects in poses/setups based on famous classic paintings.

    In general, her images have a VERY personal quality to them.

    Well I've been to her exhibit at the 303 gallery, and did some follow-up on her work. Her talent has now significantly moved into the realm of commercial work. I was looking at her portfolio online and was kind of UPSET at what I was seeing. She now does assignments for many major fashion magazines...shooting your typical professional male runway models, movie celebrities (Orlando Bloom, Rachel Weisz), an ad for ESPN sports. Reading bio's of Schorr, they describe this transition of work as a sort of success.

    Her look is still "there" in the photographs, but does her original aesthetic sense still apply? (if you know what I mean)? They seem so "FALSE" in comparison. That's not to say I DON'T LIKE photography with commercial purpose (I highly enjoy Erwin Olaf's images)...but in this case it's kind of like Diane Arbus shooting a hairspray ad or something.

    Extra financial back-up I suppose...I guess there are times when you have to reach a compromise between your own artistic endeavors and regular work.
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Aug 25, 2003
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    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I keep personal photography and client photography separate. Personal work is mine, and where I get most of my satisfaction out of photography; I don't have to compromise.

    Clients wanting portraits for friends and family and wedding photography usually do choose to hire me based on my "style", but with commercial jobs they always say, "Love what you're doing! Now do it completely different for us." I try not to look at it as a sleight of my "art", but rather an exercise or challenge.

    My passion, and where I think I do my best, is with medium and large format BW film and hand done gelatin silver prints. If I could be picky I would only do BW; portraits (personal and commercial) and a few weddings a year using only BW film with the output being gelatin silver prints. Unfortunately in my market not enough folks share my opinion; they want color, and if it's commercial it's going to end up needing to be a digital file. So that's what I have to give them if I want to get paid.

    When easy money jobs are popping up, the checks are rolling in, and the jobs are going smoothly I feel like a pimp. When the art director is getting bitchy, and cropping my photos all wrong, or when I feel desperate for a job, then I feel like a whore.
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

    Oct 30, 2003
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    Hermosa Beach, CA U.S.A
    Making money from your art is a personal decision. Using your example; there is a lot of money to be made in photography. You have to give the client what they want. This where it gets tricky. Most of the time the client and the artist walk away proud. Sometimes the artist runs away vowing to give up art and get a job as a mason. Seems like she is proud of her work and that is really satisfaction. Who can question job satisfaction?

    From my experience; I get paid to produce well lit shots of interiors and products. Sometimes I want to say "hey man; there are shadows in life. save yourself some money and let's get this over with. Sometimes I say "hey; this is really challenging". Most of the time I say "I am proud to be behind the lens for a living".

    My personal work is a whole other story. It is what keeps me from becoming a mason.
  4. gypsyIX

    gypsyIX TPF Noob!

    Jun 12, 2005
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    brooklyn ny
    diane arbus did loads of commercial work. she had to pay her bills too. in the fifties, diane and allan arbus were an unstoppable team and a household name. that's partly how she became so successful with her personal work, she was already so well-known in the industry.

    don't be too disappointed. lots of people "sell out"... lots of them are happy that way.

    and good luck with your internship... sounds exciting!

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