I’ve officially been asked enough times about photographs that it seems high time I put down my thoughts on the subject so I can answer the question once and for all. In short, yes, I’ll be happy to take your picture, but there are a few provisos.
The first question people ask is, “how much do you charge?” The surprising answer to this is, simply, that I do not charge. I have a job already so the last thing I need is a side business to worry about. I enjoy photographing just about everything so if you want your picture taken, then just tell me and we’ll make arrangements. Quite honestly, to me, photography is *almost* art and I have a fundamental problem with being paid for the creative process. One might as well ask me to accept money for writing something or painting a picture. The mere thought of it makes my skin crawl. When you introduce financial considerations into artistic endeavor then they cease to be art but instead become mechanical and rote. So to be succinct, I’d love to take photos of whatever you might want photographed, but don’t try to pay me.
Now that that unpleasantness is out of the way, let’s move on to the second proviso. As I said, I’ll happily take your picture or a picture of whatever it is that you find important whether it be your house or your dogs or your family. I’m infinitely flexible in that regard. However, one thing I do demand is that you DO NOT POSE. Photography should be about things and events that actually happened and existed. Having your picture taken sitting on a plastic log in a photography studio is a travesty against all that is right and good in the world. In fact, it’s a bit self-insulting. Is real life so drab and dull that the most interesting and attractive situation you could think to put yourself in was posing in front of a painting of a beach? We can do much better than that. Real photos that mean something and that you remember will be about real things that you really DO. I’d much rather spend 4 hours trying to get a few good shots of someone doing something real than get a thousand shots of someone staring into the camera. Real life is good. Let’s capture that.
Alright, ready for the next thing? Typically when a photographer takes your picture those photos are the property of the photographer. You can get all the copies printed up that you want but you have to pay them $20 each for the right to do so. If I take your picture, however, those photos become part of the public domain for all the world, including you, to see, download, make copies of, send to people, whatever you want. All I ask is that if you get something back that you really like, just tell me about it. I’m not naturally a people-photographer so I appreciate the feedback. Aside from that, you can do whatever you like with them. Also, in the interest of your privacy, I don’t post any identifying information with your photos. You’ll get a link and they’ll go into my Picasa albums but it’s not like I’m going to post your name and address or anything. Your anonymity is safe as long as you don’t break it yourself by uploading photos to Facebook or something of the sort.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I don’t actually guarantee any results. You might absolutely hate everything I take. I don’t tend to expect that you will, but it’s a distinct possibility. My view on most things is a bit skewed when compared with the average person so it is likely that in some cases you will look at least a few of the results and say, simply and politely, “huh?” I accept that completely and appreciate it if you’ll tell me if you see a “huh?” I can often explain them in one way or another. One thing I can tell you is that if you do ask me to take photos for you that you’ll have my utmost and undivided attention and determination to get you a result that you like. Don’t let the price point fool you. Despite the fact that I don’t charge for my services I take this VERY seriously and have no desire to waste either your time or my own. If you peruse my gallery and like the general sense for what you see then drop me a line.
Postscript: Readers of this blog post should also reference Can’t Even Give it Away. To date I’ve had no takers on this offer and this post attempts to explore why that’s the case.