Monday, September 22, 2008

Free at What Cost?

Let me make one thing clear, I'm not much of a business man. Maybe that's why I never pursued freelance work during my time as a staff photographer at the Post.Of course the occasional extra curricular job would come my way but they were mostly far afield of the photojournalism that I most enjoy. I did know quite a few photographers who earned a living running studios or doing on site corporate work. When digital photography arrived things began to change for all of us. In my case it was adjustments in equipment and methods and in some cases loss of control on the final presentation of the photograph in the Post. I think the impact on my colleagues that didn't work for a newspaper was far more career threatening. Digital cameras with their auto this and auto that make it possible to ensure that pictures "come out".Of course the quality of the image is still problematic. I was reminded of this shift from photographic ability to photographic automatic when I read a recent feature piece about a well meaning couple who attends a local high school and take pictures of sporting events to give to the participants. It's a nice gesture but I equate it with giving away hot dogs, pizza and spirit wear. It is a revenue stream that is eliminated.Another entry level opportunity for income is gone because the best price we can hope for, is the one that costs us nothing. © Melvin Grier

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back to the Streets

On Friday September 19, some of the us former Post employees and other media types got together for the Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists 2008 Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Inductions. I was not on the list of award recipients. I have no complaint because SPJ has been good to me in past years. I attended to support several of my former colleagues. For me it was a bittersweet evening. Seeing some of the people I worked with brought home how much I missed that daily interaction with the accomplished journalists I worked with. As E.W. Scripps chairman William Burleigh made his speech,  pages from various years of the Post flashed on the screen the audience saw what I always knew, the Post did good and sometimes great work. Far from the Grand Ballroom at the Phoenix and on the pavement of Main Street in Over The Rhine I encountered a vendor selling Street Vibes, an alternative newspaper that addresses issues of homelessness and social justice. This vendor is as grassroots as you can get. To photograph or write about those type of issues is why a lot of us got into journalism in the first place.I worked for a company whose motto was "Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way". On December 31, 2007 it got a little darker here in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. © Melvin Grier