I’m thinking of pressing the new government of Western Australia to nationalise the photographic industry and to set up a labour exchange for the workers in it. I’ve reviewed the 1909 Labour Exchanges Act of the British Parliament and think it will do dandy…with a few minor changes.
To start with, we’ll need centralisation. No good expecting dozens of firms to compete effectively on an open market for contracts. The Central Photographic Committee will receive requests for photographs and assign photographers to take them. They will then inspect the raw results and assign post-production teams to complete them. Payment for the jobs, minus departmental expenses, will be mailed to the photographers and retouchers twice a year.
The over-use of photographs at weddings and social events will be strictly monitored – one shot per guest at a wedding or ball. A bridal couple or executive committee being photographed will be allowed up to four additional exposures.
Landscape and architectural shooters will also be required to submit formal requests in writing for coverage of scenery of structures that have already been covered extensively by past photographers. Thus, the over-shooting of Canal Rocks or The Gap, as well as a number of Northwest gorges will finally be brought under sensible control. The cost savings in inkjet inks alone should be enormous.
Family shots will be catered for with a simple form available in most metropolitan libraries – fill one in, post it to the department, and you will eventually receive your permit to take a party, sports carnival, or graduation picture. A tag system will allow you to have your memory card downloaded and approved at your local post office or police station. Country residents should make sure that they remember to pick up the forms when they are in Perth like normal people.
The TAFE’s and universities that are currently struggling to find jobs for the dozens of photographers that they turn out of their doors each year will certainly welcome the establishment of the new laws. They can cut the students down to a sensible number of three per year and redirect their funds to purchase of new canteen facilities for the teaching staff.
Who said that politics had no place in Art?