Friday, August 01, 2014

Photographers digital has divided us

Christians in Photojournalism July meeting in suburbs of Atlanta, GA

Staff photographers have always had a built in community through their work places. Freelance photographers in the days of film had some community through their professional labs and camera stores.

In the days of film even when you processed your own film as a staff photographer or if you were a freelance photographer dropping your film off at a professional lab you were able to interact with other photographers.

Just as indoor plumbing did to the watering hole and air conditioning did to front porches, digital photography eliminated the informal gathering of photographers.
Genesis 2:18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. ...”
Most still photographers work alone as compared to motion photographers who work in teams of film projects.

When you work with freelancers you learn about depression. Once I have built a good relationship and can be open and honest with another freelancer many of them suffer from some sort of depression.

A lack of strong relationships is an acute risk factor for major depression and addiction. At a minimum, going into an office every day requires you to shower, get dressed, and at least nod to a couple of people. Freelancers are in danger of having less sustaining human contact.

Freelancers go through feast and famine periods. They have less access to the health, retirement, and insurance benefits that may help traditionally employed folks sleep a little better at night.

Jason Getz shares some tips and wisdom he has gained after the Atlanta Journal & Constitution let him go as well as Phil Skinner and Johnny Crawford when they downsized their photo department from 10 to 7 positions the end of 2013.
We had a meeting of Christians in Photojournalism at my house yesterday and three of the photographers who lost their jobs this past year at the Atlanta Journal and Constitution were there. We all enjoyed seeing each other's work and listening to how everyone is learning to adjust to this ever changing industry.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
One of the things that Jason, Phil and Johnny talked about after losing their positions at the AJC was the loss of built in community. Now they must be intentional and reach out to friends.

There's an App for that

I think one of the reasons for social media to be so successful is because we all crave community. CIP uses Facebook to announce our meetings and I know some photo clubs that use an App for that called Meetup. Meetups are neighbors getting together to learn something, do something, share something…

I think the more things you have in common the better the community can be for you. Combining faith and work is a great way for freelancers to build a strong community.

Johnny Crawford shared with the group his new direction of pursuing teaching photography. He is working on his masters degree to open up more doors for him to teach.
Building the informal into the formal

I think one of the best things about the days where we gathered around the local lab and camera stores was the informal serendipitous moments. You may see a photographers work next to you on the light table as you were editing. I remember this often work spur conversations and I learned a lot during those moments.

One of the best things I enjoy about when the Christians in Photojournalism group meets is the 5—minutes we give to everyone that comes to share their work with the group.

Sometimes people are looking for help on a project and many times they are just sharing a recent project.

Jason Getz shares a pleasant surprise of getting to fly in a helicopter with the groom at a wedding in Savannah. 
Formalize the informal

I encourage you to find a group where you can be in dialogue with the other photographers. You need a place they accept you as a person and let you share your work and you get to see their work. You need to be able to ask questions and share your insights as well.

Check out our group as a possible group to join at Christians in Photojournalism.

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