Take It To The People

Oakover Show 2014 113Well, I’m starting to get a view of the state of the trade out at the car shows. I’ve been to a number of them this last couple of years and have noted that there are a number of photographic studios doing trade displays at them. Today’s visit to a small Show and Shine out in the Swan Valley also included a Pinup Contest and that seems also to have its workers.

I use the term workers rather than professionals deliberately. I have met a number of photographers who take pictures and who are paid money for those pictures. I have met many who are competent and workman-like in their approach and who produce good images. I have also met a number who are …well, they just are…

I cannot be too harsh on some of them – they come out of art schools or TAFE training and try to get jobs as highly-paid iconic award-winning superstar mentor legends. Unfortunately these positions are already filled with photographers who are armed and determined to remain in them. Every week bodies of would-be usurpers float out to sea, covered in lens-shaped bruises…So it is incumbent upon the newcomers to make their way – and frequently they try it with new studios.

Cottesloe car 119

Some of these studios are conventional – they try for wedding work or commercial contracts or babies and families. The adventurous attempt animal photography. Or dance classes. Some have decided to try car photography. Some have hit upon pinup shooting. I know of several niches for photographers that remain unfilled and would provide a steady income – but they would require people of decided dedication and interest and as yet these have not come forward.

Cottesloe car 120

Today’s show had two pinup studios in close proximity. One was trying to do photobooth work on the spot and one was trying to book shoots in conventional settings. I hope they succeeded in getting some return for their efforts – tents are a bugger in the wind and glamorous tents would be even harder to do. I once attempted historical photos at re-enactments and found it nigh impossible with the contents of one car.

Oakover Show 2014 142

Still – they have the right idea. They are taking themselves out there to the customers rather than opening a door and just waiting for their talent to attract dollars. I don’t think it does in photography – unless you are an iconic superstar who has politicked up enough support in the local chapter of the photographic trade union. Then the talent is frequently in the talking, as much as it is in the doing.

Oakover Show 2014 143

In case someone asks who I consider a professional photographer to be…I return to the root of the word – one who professes something and can demonstrate the truth of that profession.   I have met a number of these and it is worth learning what they teach. Unfortunately as the lecturing lurk has become fashionable in photography it is also possible to sit at the feet of frauds.

Fortunately they do not seem to last past a couple of seasons and usually the only casualties are the wallets of their students – and wallets can be re-filled. Regrettably, some of them also practise upon photographic clients and produce terrible results. As far as I know none of these pests have been shot by outraged brides…but I read the police column in the newspaper daily with a frisson of excitement. One day…



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  1. i think, uncle Dick, that were the pay and conditions not so terrible and soul destroying, I would suggest you teach your philosophy at a School, along with the many skills you have acquired over the years.

    • I have thought of teaching but I realise that the things I could teach would be rejected by most. Oh, technically I could do something, but the real wisdom is something that many people don’t want to find. I don’t want to find it, and whenever I do I put it in a sack and dump it off the Fremantle traffic bridge.

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