The problem with expecting everything for free is the myth that free means many think they are saving money when in reality, without spending for something that they think adds value to their life, they are halting an economy. Everyone want to be paid for their work, but they don't want to pay for others' work. If others aren't making money, they can't reciprocate payment. It makes an economy grind to a halt.
If you do get something for free, realize that it may be monetarily free, but you are paying with something else. Social Media is a perfect example of this concept. Everyone uses social media and grumbles at the idea of paying for it, but social media is gathering information on everyone and selling it to the highest bidder. People are paying for the service/app with their privacy. You are their product.
Another thing people seem to want for free is education. YouTube has a wealth of educators, but the quality varies so widely that free isn't necessarily free. Your time has value. Sifting through multitudes of videos with inconsistent content is paying with a large amount of your time. Additionally, the content is reduced to small, random bits. Many get frustrated and want more, or they aren't seeing any improvement in their own work. This is because they are not getting a well-rounded education from short, inconsistent videos.
Photography is not free. With social media and the proliferation of camera on cell phones, the perceived value of photography has diminished. However, when people see a really well executed image, the expect the photographer either has a "good camera" (<sarcasm> because we all know it's the equipment that does all the work, just like a stove cooks and prepares a delicious meal and a guitar plays itself </sarcasm>), the photographer will give them the information and they can go out and photograph the exact same image, or the photographer will gladly just teach them everything they know...for free. To get good at photography, you have to have a lot of dedication, a lot of hours behind the camera, and a style that is all your own. Technique can be learned, but the thought and "eye" behind the camera comes from the photographer. The skill and artistry did not come for free to the photographer. Why do people think photographers should just give it away for free?
Film is not cheap to use. But I buy it and I use it and I develop it (or pay to have it developed, depending upon the film and my darkroom limitations). However, I want film to remain an option. I also want development labs to remain in business. As an artist, I choose film or digital based upon what I want for a final result, the subject I am photographing, and many other variables. There is a cost to keeping film in production. Each frame has a cost. If I need and want to pay for the supplies, why should I give away the image?
Why not shoot digital all the time since it is cheaper? As I explained previously, it depends on the end result that I want and the subject that I am photographing. Also, digital isn't cheap. As I mentioned with wasting time on YouTube videos, culling images costs time. Yes, I treat digital like film and think before I press the shutter so I don't have as many images to cull as a "spray and pray" style of shooting. However, skill, knowledge, talent, don't come free. It all takes time to develop.
I overheard a woman complaining about the fee to enter a park. If the park were free, the cost was taken out of taxes, so it's not free. If there is a fee for the park, it's because there is a cost to maintain and manage the park for each user's enjoyment. If no one paid for the park in one way or another, there would be no public spaces to use and enjoy.
Expecting that anything desired should not cost a penny is selfish. No one is entitled to have everything they want. Nothing in life is free. There is a cost for everything: money, time, personal information, privacy, and etc. Besides, if it's all passed out for free, there is no sense of achievement from working toward a goal. There's no appreciation for the item and it's discarded quickly. It's best to think about what you really want or need, and then work toward that goal. The endless dissatisfaction and constant searching for the "thing" that will bring happiness may fade because happiness comes from within.
I owe everything to my dad. He taught me to be independent, to work hard, to be responsible, and to be respectful. This is the first Thanksgiving that he won't be sitting across the table from me, but he'll always be in my heart and his lessons will always be in my head. The best way to honor my dad's memory is to do the same for other young artists and family members. It'll help them on their journey and It's a great way to keep my dad's memory and lessons alive.
I am thankful to have had you in my life. I love you, Dad.
I finally sat down and watched the movie "Kodachrome" with Ed Harris and Jason Sudekis. There are many lines in that movie that nail the "why" of film photography and the " why" of photography in general. I enjoyed the movie. While it was predictable, the performances range from nuanced to solid. It tackles the themes of life, the struggle to stay relevant, the preservation of historic processes, the need to make amends, the deep loss of a bygone process, and the need to feel loved. In the movie, Ben states that photographers are "preservationists." He is right. We should be committing the most important moments to film, to preserve for future generations.
For it being a poor year for Fall colors, I have to say I've been pleased with the few film images I did manage to produce. I wish I had more days for hikes and Fall color photos, but the few I did have were lovely.
With that said, I am able to enjoy and photograph these beautiful natural moments because of public lands. We all have a right to them and it's very frustrating in a day when everything is polarized, that you can't say anything without it getting misconstrued to be "for" or " against." There is a vast majority who are in the middle. There are many who are on seemingly opposing sides, but who want the same goal. Such is the case with preserving public lands.
While I have spoken out against trophy hunting, many misunderstand and take it to mean that I'm against all hunting. There's a difference between hunters who are conservationists and hunters who are wasteful and greedy. Hunters who are unethical kill for the sake of killing and don't consume what they've hunted. These are the hunters I consider trophy hunters. There's no reason to kill a predator. You don't eat it. It comes down to being childish about another predator being competition. They also don't care if they wipe out the last of a species. But, say anything against trophy hunting and you are considered anti-hunting. I am not. I don't see any reason to hunt an animal that is endangered, but I do not have an issue with hunting animals that are plentiful and are prey.
Oh my gosh! How can I be for and against? This is the issue with social media and online debates. This is uninteresting. There's no drama. It doesn't make good news and click bait and it's not unreasonable to say compromise, conserve, and maintain. Don't over hunt. Don't let prey animal populations become so large that they destroy their own food sources. It's called balance. Balance is severely lacking into today's online discourse.
If you consume meat, then you paid a hunter or farmer for that meat. Most people are removed from the process because they buy their food already slaughtered from grocery stores. While I am not a hunter, I don't have the heart to kill a living thing, and I'd rather photograph animals, I do consume meat.
With all that said, nature photographers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts of all types, anglers, and hunters do need to work together to protect public lands and natural resources. I don't know about you, but I sure want to have places to hike. I would hate to have a world of nothing but buildings, sidewalks, and streets. I cannot state this as well it's stated in this "Outside" magazine article:
As he states in the article, that deer is our deer, which means we need to learn to share. Don't kill everything to extinction, but don't take away the privilege of hunting from the ethical sportsmen. Our public lands are funded by those sportsmen. We wouldn't have hiking trails, protected lands, and parks without them.
"Hunters and anglers spend over $63 billion annually in pursuit of their passions. Wildlife watchers contribute some $30 billion. Skiers, snowboarders, and other snow-sports enthusiasts throw down $73 billion. Trail-sports folks shell out more than $200 billion. The total spending of outdoor enthusiasts is approaching a formidable $900 billion. Collectively, our economic footprint should be able to kick down the doors of the partisan safe havens where politicians go to do bad things."
Armed with my film camera, I headed out to photograph this structure in the Fall colors. I've had this image in mind for a while, but there's no guarantee on lighting. You are at the mercy of nature. This particular morning, the sun was covered by clouds. I didn't have much hope to that this image would happen. Without the sun, the colors would have been dull and the structure would have been a dark blob. Then, for a split second, the sun broke through the clouds behind me and lit up the colorful trees. One image...that's all I had time to create before the sun was covered again by clouds. It never reappeared that morning. More clouds came in and then it started to rain for the rest of the day.
On a brisk Fall hike before the Winter cold front arrived, knocking the remaining leaves from the trees and coating the forest floor with ice and snow, I came across some sort of pulley system from years past.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."
Henry David Thoreau
I am a Warren, MI based photographer.