Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mixed Signals

I have been a professional photographer for almost 25 years. In that time I have been a member of the Professional Photographers of America and for the last 5 years I have been a Certified Professional. What does this all mean? Well basically it means I have been paying the PPA dues for a lot of years for some sort of guarantee to the general public that I am actually a working professional. I also get a nifty magazine each month with topics ranging from marketing your studio to new products. Lately all the marketing articles have been on how to market in a slow economy and how to educate the photographic consumer on why they should choose a professional photographer and not an amateur. This would be interesting and beneficial if they really practiced what they preach, but the rest of the magazine is a dumbed down version of "How to be a pro in 10 easy steps". The articles are either of cheap tricks on how to kind of do what a real pro does without having the creative knowledge or hawking new gadgets for those who can't actually use their equipment. They are really starting to try and cookie cutter the industry and make more money for the association in the process. They sponsoring workshops by these so called Master photographers who for $99 can teach you how to shoot like a pro and how to create 50 poses in 10 minutes. So the same organization who was originally looking out for the true professional and pushing unique creative talents now is pandering to the amateurs with a Wal-Mart digital camera. Whatever happened to integrity, creativity and actually learning your craft?
I am a photographic artist, each client is unique and special and I try and treat them that way. But it seems "cheap" is starting to out-way quality and that is something I will not do. I will not compromise my artistic integrity for the sake of a quick buck. That is the reason that as stated in my previous post, that I am stepping back from the commercial retail location and focusing on the special commissioned portraits and weddings for people who expect a professional to actually be someone who has honed and worked at their craft and someone who takes pride in every image they take.
I don't begrudge the amateur weekend warrior but it is shameful that the organization that touts itself as being an organization for the working professional has lost it's own integrity, value and vision.

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