Like so many other people in the creative industries I used to whine about working for trade or people who always wanted to work with me for trade. But you know what, the world is full of freebies, so just get over it.
Last week I volunteered myself as a ‘massage model’. It basically means that invariably on a Friday I’ll be asked to be a student’s guinea pig for a final assessment at a Manchester therapy college. I get a free massage of some sort, and they get someone to practice on to help them qualify. It’s a legitimate trade off. In the modelling industries photographers will get models they don’t have to pay, and hopefully the models will get images to up the anti on their portfolios.
The basic end to all these things is to eventually be taken seriously enough to get paid. For me, whilst TF is not the be all and end all of my styling work there are times when getting the images you really want means offering up your collections for ‘nothing’. And that’s fine, Because I’m not actually getting nothing.
Hopefully I will get images that show off my garments to their best. That means I look better as a designer and I get to sell my product. Models get to wear amazing clothes and up their portfolio quality and photographers get everything for ‘free’ in an effort to produce great all round images that again, end up on everyone’s portfolios ‘or’ advertising.
The world is full of TF. Internships, work experience, skill swaps. It happens. It’s what gets people on that first rung of the ladder. And it’s what keeps some of the most creative work I’ve ever done, in circulation.
If you don’t want to TF then don’t do it. But some of us truly are benefiting from it.