We all know that this is a tough “new” economy and I wonder how successful college grads will be in looking for work in their fields. But I also wonder what would I do if I was in my 20’s, finishing school and wanted to be a photographer. Where would I start looking for work? I was a staff photographer for the first 20 years of my working life, and staff positions still exist, but not as many, and I’m not sure where. Plus, I assume, the photographers in those jobs aren’t leaving until they retire. Newspapers are also laying off staff and TV news channels are relying on the “public” to share their pictures with them (CNN Lays off Staff). Photographers interested in stock photography will discover the falling of prices and competition from the general “non-pro” shooter who posts their images on Flickr and Getty decides to use those images. “Yikes! Ma. I gotta compete against some guy who just happened to get a lucky shot, or if my image is chosen they’re gonna pay me only $3?!” (Time Magazine uses iStock photo dirt cheap.) Then there is assisting other photographers to learn the ropes on both the business and technical side. I never assisted. I landed my staff position and when I was laid off, just like all those other photographers, I opened my own business. What I needed at that point was assistance in learning how to “run” a business so I struggled through it but I wonder how many “new” photographers are getting the opportunity to assist and learn. I say this because I see many seasoned pros turning to “educating” the newcomer – lectures for a fee. And other pros who are leaving the photo business thus not providing opportunities for the newbie to assist and learn. And other photographers, like myself, who are reasonably busy but don’t hire assistants because the jobs don’t demand it. I’m getting more and more requests from recent college grads wanting to assist. I know that I’m not the only one they’re contacting, but I always feel bad when I have to say that I don’t need their help. It’s always been a scary world, but it just feels like it’s getting scarier, at least if you’re looking for work as a photographer.
The image above was taken as a test shot before taking the actual portrait. It was used as a background for the portrait.
My son is entering his junior year in college. What makes it different is that he’s leaving home. While he’s not completely moving out, he’ll return when school is not in session, it is something that I haven’t really been prepared for. His mother, sister and I dropped him off yesterday at his dorm. We helped in move in, moving all his clothes and other items into his room. He has been very excited about this move, but on the day of the event, he was nervous. I am confident that he will acclimate to his new environment quickly and succeed in his studies, but I’m not so sure how long it will take me to accept this new reality. It’s only one day but I am missing him already and it’s going to be a month before I see him again. The longest we’ve ever been apart was a week, when he went away on vacation with his buddies. I guess that I should consider myself lucky that he’s attending an in-state university and he’s only two and half hours away, and I have texting, email and video conferencing to keep in touch, but he’s not under my roof. I can’t just walk into his room and see him sitting on his bed. His education is an investment in his future – both career and family – but the time I have spent with him has been wonderful. I really don’t want it to end.
The photo above was taken on his first day in kindergarten. It is my absolute favorite picture of him.