The London marathon and the value of photography and photographs

Posted on April 23, 2012


The BBC news website amongst a whole host of others news sites are now-a-days asking for the public to send in their photos to their website . I was unable to make the London marathon yesterday as I was still recovering from returning from a grueling trip abroad and the jet lag. When reading the news of the marathon online is an option on most news websites (BBC News)  asking for you to submit your photos, so you can have the joy of telling your friends that you have your photos on the news site.

I was taught by Robert Johns  a great photographer and lecturer who teaches at the London College of Communication amongst other things. He was a real advocate that if an image is worth displaying then in has value. Everyone sending in their photos and having them displayed on these websites are effectively giving away their images for free. I would never go to Tesco’s and ask to eat their food for free but then tell them that the could watch me eating and show their friends. Its the photographers hard work and effort, trying to capture the image, and by uploading to some of these sites you can effectively give away your copyrights and license the sites to use your images however and whenever they want.

The thing is, I dont have a problem with people giving their own things away for free, its up to them…. what does annoy me is the culture it creates for everyone to begin expecting thing for free! I was approached by a media company doing an advertising campaign for Braun to sell shavers or shaving equipment. They wrote me an email explaining they wanted to use one of my photos, and how nice it was, how i’ll be credited, etc. But as soon as I mentioned that I was a working photographer and that we needed to negotiate fees, they immediately cut communications with me. No doubt they will probably approach some else, and then someone else, and on and on until they find someone that will simply accept that being credited for a photo is enough for them to lose all rights to their photo.

This is a problem occurring for all photographers in modern times, especially with mobile phones having 5,8,10 mp cameras built in. The question is, how do we stop this demise of the industry?? everyone has heard of or know that mp3 downloading of music and videos are harming the industry, but somehow photography is not recognised. How do we raise awareness??