Is TF Killing Our Industry? Part 2

Last month I wrote about how TF was killing the industry I am trying to survive in – the modelling/photography/fashion industries. Two things have come to light this week which have only served to damage its chances still further. The first is the the Government Copyright White Paper. In a nutshell, and as per the first paragraph of the article:

‘Photographers, illustrators and authors will be amongst those to lose their digital rights under radical new proposals published by the Government today. New legislation is proposed that would effectively introduce a compulsory purchase order, but without compensation, across an unlimited range of creative works, for commercial use.’

In layman’s terms it means every ‘bloke with camera’, would be artist and blogger will lose the exclusive rights to their work once it appears online. It means this page you are now reading will no longer be my property.

The finer points are within the article and the background links are at bottom of the page. It makes for sober reading. If you are in one of these industries and posting your work on line, this will affect you.

And today I have been reading how high end editorial magazines are now charging photographers to put their images in their publications and are getting away with it. So what happens to those photographers who used to get paid by the same publications?

The state of the industry is not unique, it’s true. In times of recession everyone pulls in the purse strings. But this is not a recession based problem, it’s a saturation of market problem and it’s been on the increase for some time. It’s the big companies who should be supporting the artists and paying for product who are pushing creatives into a corner and forcing them into a situation whereby they either adhere to these ridiculous requirements or face not getting their work printed. It seems now that unless you are prepared to work for nothing, you will find yourself at a loose end. How is anyone supposed to work for nothing?

The industry has no regulation meaning that, quite literally, anyone can buy a camera and call themselves a photographer. It’s the same with models many of whom seem happy to work for final images and little else. Adding inexperienced young girls desperate to have a go at modelling has put them in a dangerous situation. Many of them will try lingerie, glamour and nude modelling and are putting themselves at enormous risk when they meet photographers who have to answer to no one and have no tried or tested reputation. The results of such shoots are often dubious to say the least and the horror stories I have heard of abuse and attacks is just terrifying.

On a professional basis what it means for those of us trying to produce high quality images and collaborate with professional teams is that in order to keep working we will have to do it for nothing. That means we will have to get second jobs to keep a roof over our heads. That means we all become hobbyists.

Even high end fashion publications seem able to demand payment from photographers in return for magazine space. And if you’re the one saying no I want to be paid, there is always someone in the queue behind you willing to pay them.

It’s a very worrying time for anyone trying to survive in the industry. Whilst this does not affect the clothing design side of my business it means paid or published styling work with rates is non existent at the moment. I don’t want to be put into a situation of having to find a second job, but it’s becoming a serious consideration if things do not improve soon.

Do you have a similar story to tell? I want to hear from you! So let me know as I’ll be monitoring this situation and updating the blog.


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