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Friday, 26 August 2016

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Truthiness is now the norm whether in art, news, whatever. Everyone is now officially an artist if they choose to be, just as everyone is now a journalist- if they just so choose to be. And that is, of course, just plain, dead wrong.

I'm very much all for maximum citizen participation- but there are also very definitive drawbacks to... everyone's a winner, everyone's the homegrown professional of their choosing. And it's sad that in a capitalist society, it basically (ie- always) comes down to money- surprise! One investigative journalist recently commented how just the first paragraph of an investigative piece in the NY Times amounted to the equivalent of $10,000 in research. Instead of coming up with more equitable financial solutions to maintain and expand professional services, we are more and more relying on alternative (ie- cheap or free), but not anywhere quite equal "solutions" in terms of actual quality.

I am saddened to hear that Brooks Institute is closing. When I was young that was my dream school. I never made it there, all the way across the country. Instead, I learned through NYI's correspondence course and the Army's Signal Center and School at Ft. Monmouth where I also taught briefly. I still regret not making it to Brooks, a matter of money and distance.

Back then photography was taught as a set of skills with a solid understanding of the process, how photography worked and why. Any content on the 'art' of photography was rather formulaic (rule of thirds, etc.). The art part tended to come with experience.

I think one reason that a case can be made for excellent images by casual photographers today is a combination of camera automation plus the explosion of images being produced since the advent of digital photography. If one shoots enough, he/she is bound to get a good photo occasionally simply as a matter of luck. I am rather dismayed when I read "pros" tell about how they went out and shot 2-3 thousand images in a day and how long it took them to cull for "the good ones". When we were shooting film we couldn't afford a strategy that depended more good fortune than on skill and creativity.

"... but the gist is clear—that people aren't sufficiently appreciative of what professional photographers bring to the table. And, no surprise, aren't enthusiastic about paying for it fairly."

Ummmm..., that concluding sentence above just sounds like America in general these days, at least for the majority of workers outside of the financial sector, the higher/highest ends of government and its symbiotic corporations, and certain bits of the "professional"(law, medicine, etc) classes. Just sayin'.

Word of Brooks' closing may very well kick start my midlife crisis. The times are a changin.

My experience with graphics training at the School of Visual Arts is similar. I went before they became part of NYU, and finding a job was not too difficult. This was in the fifties, and jobs were plentifull, though starting salaries were not great.
Then in the early nineties, the computer did to graphics, design, and illustration, what digital photography and the cellphone has done to the photo profession. It made it possible for anyone to be an artist, and turn out professional work with the likes of PowerPoint, Word , and Excel. One didn't need to hire a "professional", except for the occasional 'tweak', and if you were desperate enough, you took it!
I may be somewhat jaundiced in my point of view, but I don't think our culture respects creative talent. Oh we will exclaim how wonderful a art work is, then go to a "Starving Artist" sale at a local motel or such, and try to pick up something similar for $49.95!

Styles come and go...same as it ever was. Now-a-days being authentic is more important than technical perfection. The demographics, of the people who actually buy advertised products, skews-younger. And younger is into authentic now—but maybe not next week, because styles come and go.

Before commenting, I read both Terry Hart's and Jonathan Brand's web articles.

Terry Hart said The photo, taken by Australian photographer Cameron Spencer for Getty Images, captures the Jamaican runner a full body length ahead of his competitors, legs and arms blurred, but torso and ear-to-ear grin in sharp focus as he crosses the finish line. What does this have to do with retail wedding/portrait/event photographers and commercial photographers?? My answer is absolutely nothing.

Jonathan Brand said For many situations where in the past firms would have hired a photographer, they now rely on an employee ... still hire professional photographers for special events or ad campaigns, but the overall demand for them is lower. I can't argue with that.

Some Very Serious Photo Enthusiasts (with lotsa gear) get outshot by their little sister, using an iPhone. Owning gear and being a photographer are two very different things. Gil Garcetti (former Los Angels DA) isn't a professional photographer https://www.amazon.com/Iron-Erecting-Walt-Disney-Concert/dp/1890449288

A late friend of mine was a Brooks graduate (about 1970) and he really knew his stuff. But he made his money when he abandoned photography, and started another career.

Almost as good as professional licenses are Guilds/Unions. Start as an Apprentice and work your way up to Master. If I needed and extra crew member for a busy day, I could call the local and they would send out someone who was competent.

But Guilds/Unions would never work for still photographers ... for many reasons.

I don't know what all the fuss is about -- it's easy to make a small fortune in professional photography. Just start with a large fortune.

Professional Photography is done.
You might make some pocket money shooting weddings but even doing that you'll be making less pocket money every year.
ou'd want to be insane to be considering it as a viable full time profession in th ecoming years.

"In my day, print advertising dropped off a cliff during the First Gulf War and nobody has ever adequately explained why; it just did. "

The 1990-91 Recession (from July 1990 to March 1991). It lasted eight months and saw US unemployment rise to 7.8%. It was worse than the 2000-01 recession following the bursting of the dot com bubble.

Gulf War 1 just kicked it up to a new level (when oil prices through the roof on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait) and caused a lot of belts to be tightened.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_1990s_recession_in_the_United_States
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_1990s_recession


The reason advertising photography changed and fell off a cliff is largely based on advertisers response to 911 and then the massive rise of stock photo's.

Companies shocked by the turmoil caused by 911 became extremely conservative and simply continued to use their existing images. If you were a commercial photographer that did not license based on time, usage, etc. you most likely went of business.

Then the next wave was art buyers getting much smaller budgets and looking to stock as a way to do it on the cheap. It worked for awhile and still does for some, but then they started to understand your brand was at risk for using a image that 10 other companies might also used. So stock has been declining in advertising.

But, now you got the ultra cheap and increasing price pressure as photography has been and will continue to be greatly devalued as a professional skill. Sites like Thumbtack are mostly a joke for Pro's. I see request for quotes that sometimes seem to written by a agency person, very specific on requirements, needs, photographer needs to supply location, model, etc and then the budget is $250. It a sad joke.

To succeed today, and perhaps this was true for most in the past, you need to be part of a team. Being a lone wolf photographer in the commercial is almost impossible now. A team of very skilled people in marketing, post and what ever else your target market needs is essential now.

I work with a team targeting aerial work. I mostly do all the post work and some shoots. Another person runs the business and does all the lead generation and another person simply does all the flying and aerial gear maintenance. It works for now.

I wonder how many TOP readers have had formal education in photography? How many make a living through photography? And how large is the intersection of those two groups?

Who is to say just who is an artist? Is art so narrow and regulated now?

The Australian Institute of Professional Photographers is trying go down the profession path where you would need to meet their criteria and join their organisation to be allowed to call yourself a professional photographer. They see it as a solid marketing point; a guarantee that the photographer is properly trained, has up to date skills and will act in a professional manner. I don't think they're actually trying to prevent others from charging money for photography, just keeping the label "professional" for those that really are depending on photography for their livelihood rather than a bit of spare income.

Regarding photographer's earnings: Most of the people I see starting photography businesses are earning far less than the mid-30s Michael Elenko refers to. Most of the beginner photographers I talk to have never made more than $10 an hour in their lives -- and don't see much chance of things getting better.

If I had a choice between $8 an hour standing over the grill at McWhattataco or squeaking out 15 or 20 grand a year at photography I'm pretty sure which way I'd go.

That is a beautiful image by Ernest H. Brooks II.

Wonder how many pros, or not, can come up with that idea ... even with today's amazing tools ...

Photographers who are trying to make "art," or document some kind of societal process (or ill), are usually not considered "professionals," although some of them do paid-for work from time to time and have all the skills of regular professional photographers. (I suspect many TOP readers fall into this category, and as far as I'm concerned this is the heart of what you might call capital P Photography.)

The question of what's happening with pros, however, may have more to do with a differentiation of skills than it does with a disdain for professional photographers, or a declining need for professional advertising photos. I recently became aware of a high-level professional photographer who shot a series of photos for advertising purposes, but the shoot was eventually taken over by a more creative person who wanted different things done. The photographer went along with it, because he kind of had to, and none of his substantial number of photos was actually chosen for the ads. In other words, the photographer became more or less a technician who could produce the right light and shade, and the right exposure and focus and the good Photoshop cleanup, but the creative part (and the most important part) of the shoot actually was inspired by somebody else. The wedding albums you usually encounter make me think of technicians, as does most calendar art; there's not much creative thinking involved, IMHO. And creativity is now what earns the bucks, not an fairly easily acquired technical skill.

The difference between a great photographer and a great professional photographer is the latter's social/networking skills and business/marketing skills. Both types work hard to produce memorable pictures. Kirk Tuck is an example of the latter.

I have a long standing dislike of the use of the word Professional to describe all people who make their living from working as photographers.

I much prefer to use Commercial to describe them. In my experience their are any number of Commercial photographers, but within that group very few have any right to claim the the word Professional. Professional implies standards, quality, respect, and I must say talent. Something that seems to be missing in many of the Commercial photographers I seem to interact with.

We have a term for this - "uberizing" - using tech to disrupt an industry and put people out of work. Uber used technology to put cab drivers out of work then wants to use another technology - autonomous cars - to put current Uber drivers out of work. Do these people just hate other people so much they want to make their lives miserable?

I think photography is best studied

I am near the end of my professional career in corporate photography, apprenticed as a19 year old with a firm in the UK, emigrated to canada and started on my own.
I have enjoyed 40 years of work and earn 4 times the average photographer wage every year, not because I am a great photographer but because I took a business course at a college in Toronto when I arrived.
I sometimes take a summer photo student from a local college and teach them Professionalism and running a business, hardly anything about photography because they will tell me "I will fix that in photoshop" instead of getting it right in the camera. Art and Photoshop have ruined photography.

There was a strong defense of professional news photographers in yesterday's Globe & Mail (Toronto):

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/if-we-want-true-images-of-events-we-need-to-let-photographers-do-their-job/article31585593/

When discussing photography for hire, it might make more sense to use the term trained photographer instead of professional photographer. As far as the client is concerned, it makes no difference if the photographer derives a little or a lot of income from photography, but the training (formal and on the job) is directly relevant.

The raison d'etre for professional guilds is to protect the public from false practitioners, and this need is most acutely felt in medicine and law, where lives may be at stake. It is cheaper and more effective for these professions to police themselves than to have the government do it. The chief byproduct of professional guilds is the ability of members to limit competition by keeping out otherwise qualified practitioners.

Hairdressers and taxi drivers fall into a special category in which there is only a marginal need to protect the public from false practitioners. Simple laws or regulations would be sufficient to prevent an epidemic of bad haircuts or exorbitant taxi fares. Yet in many places around the world these professions form themselves into guilds in order to benefit from the ability to limit competition in the marketplace. The Government of Portugal was in recent years on the verge of financial collapse and required financial bailout from creditors. As part of the bailout agreement, creditors demanded the government stop supporting professional guilds such as hairdressers. The aim was to reduce unemployment by opening up job opportunities for enterprising and aspiring professionals.

Why would someone be required to join a professional guild or hold a licence to be able to sell a photograph or an image? Sure, event photography is an overcrowded market, but a professional guild is the wrong solution to that problem in my opinion.

A situation analogous to "Professional Photography" exists in IT, except that it's less obvious because technology is at a different point in its development history than is photography. Part of the reason that software is so bad -- and so vulnerable to hacks -- is that many of the people who write it are largely self-taught, and even among those with degrees, too many of their instructors/professors were also self-taught. As a profession, "software engineering" lacks the standards and licensing that apply to even the lower-level professions (eg., barbers and stylists, and I mean "lower-level" purely in terms of income-generating potential, as opposed to, say, physicians) that have been around for a much longer time At some point, creating software will be as simple as taking a picture with an iPhone, and many, if not most, of us who work in IT as unlicensed and uncredentialed "professionals" will be offering our services through on-line portals to the highest bidder, and finding that the bids aren't very high. To some extent it's already happening. Employers of IT "professionals" attempt to mitigate this situation by demanding "certifications" from IT job candidates. But those certifications only indicate some level of proficiency with a single software product from a single vendor, and all to often a very low level of proficiency at that. Organizations like IEEE have developed standards for IT and other engineering professionals, and while it has worked well for electrical and other engineers, the current demand for IT workers is such that many students are drawn into the workplace prior to finishing the degrees that might ensure their long-term success. The level of success that exists for IT professionals at this time will fade as the demands for IT services wane once the industry matures, develops tools and standards that have lasting value (rather than one-offs to meet an immediate need) and embrace the level of professionalism that will be required to continue to do business in an increasing cyber-hostile environment. At that point, no one will be willing to hire a coder who can't consistently produce secure, functional code, and those whose coding skills are at the same level as the photographic skills of the average DSLR owner. Those coders will then operate at the fringe of the IT market, if at all, much as many aspire photograph professionals do now. Technologies, industries and skill sets develop and if they have value, mature. Part of that maturation process involves establishing and enforcing standards for skills and practices. Eventually, the product or service produced becomes more universally accessible, then it becomes a commodity, then it becomes devalued. It's already happened to photographers, where there are few lucky (or exceptionally talented) professionals, and a lot of amateurs who fancy themselves "professionals" for some period of time. Life and experience proves most of them wrong. The situation is similar in sports, music, food service, writing and arts, too. In each, you have an industry that employs the superstars and the necessary support staff, and you have the rest, the luckiest of which are employed at a level that can at best be described as artisanal. There's a little movement at the core, with stars and artisans sometimes changing positions: failing or aging stars become "artisans" or support staff, and artisans and support staff who are lucky (or who learn how to marketing themselves) become stars. But at the fringe, there are only people who support themselves otherwise and only pretend to be "professionals" or who somehow extract a meager living for a shorter or longer time. I can't think of any profession that is totally immune to this phenomenon.

Too bad all professional photographers can't find a schmuck to pay $6 million for one of their photographs. That would help pay some bills.

1. Professional now means someone pays you. It doesn't mean you're good at your job. See: The Oakland Raiders.

2. Anyone with a Canon Rebel and an Instagram account is now a professional photographer if they can get someone to pay for their photos. Those photos do not have to be any good, they just have to be adequately competent.

3. In Presets Nation, the "adequately competent" part is now automated.

4. Nothing has really changed, it's still "It's not what you know; it's Who you know."

5. Which I keep trying to remember after having my sister & niece snub me, a family member with over 45 years of experience and some of the best glass in the region, in favor of my sister's friend's daughter, who has had a DSLR with a kit zoom for the last five years, for my niece's paid Senior Portraits gig.

Here's a family portrait I made for my sister a few years ago:

The Bath Family, September 15, 2012

I did not get paid for that gig. I don't know "the right people," apparently. I'm not bitter, but I am hurt, because it's family, and I'm frustrated, because my skills and experience no longer have market value.

I find commercial photography to be like most other businesses. There are businesses that market well and do effective advertising. They work hard at developing relationships with clients and potential clients. They are visible in their communities. They stand by the products they create, meet the delivery schedules, bring something smart, constantly innovative and effective to their projects. Most people have a very narrow definition of professional photographers as "jacks of all the trade" who go from weddings to baby portraits to ribbon cuttings. There are still many hard working, professional photographers serving corporate clients everywhere. Many of them are still able to make six figure incomes (and not just in NYC or London). Many have built networks and client bases over decades. In the retail photo press there are always people making headlines by saying that the sky is falling and that we are driving the incomes of photographers to zero. But the reality for well trained photographers who understand their niches and their marketing is that they can still make good incomes. I would suggest that effective commercial photographers can still exceed the national average income of their fellow citizens if they work smart and have a sense of the value of continuity in their businesses. Many software, tech, engineering, and retail businesses fail. The success stories tend to obscure the true picture across industries. Clients with high standards and specific needs will gladly pay for the expertise they feel is necessary for their particular businesses. Continuing evolutions of style and technique are vital. Taste trumps technology. Human skills trump most everything else.
My university degrees were not in photography. I think that has been the biggest advantage I have had over my competitors.

I'll try not to get into the discussion as to weather or not being a photographer is a profession or not, suffice to say it's how I make a living. There is so much about being a photographer that lives in the gray area between other professions. For instance Dentists, CPA's or surgeons don't do it for fun, stimulation, relaxation or a need to create on their off times, we do. So being a professional photographer is one of the few occupations that can be financially rewarding as well as emotionally and creatively satisfying, all the while informing each area. The interesting part of the discussion is how we get bogged down with technology, or gear when if we simply remember we are story tellers the pursuit becomes so much more involved and interesting. There are many instances where I'm bidding against other photographers and I often loose, however if I can get in front of a client or agency and find out what they want from the images, how they will be used and what their business needs are then I have a much greater chance of getting the job. as professionals we must find ways of distinguishing ourselves from anyone who can pick up a camera and call themselves a Photographer.

Agree with your suspicion of the link between photography school and success as a professional photographer. I studied Sport Management in college and did work in that industry for 3 years prior to starting my photography business in 1997. I believe I was much better served studying marketing and business in college vs. photography. I get the sense that in photography school you learn to be an artist. That is great personally but probably very detrimental to business success.

RE: Being a "professional". While the term at one time (think pre-1900) might have been limited to formally trained and licensed practicioners, that is not longer how it is defined This is the dictionary definition.

pro·fes·sion·al prəˈfeSH(ə)n(ə)l
adjective
adjective professional
of, relating to, or connected with a profession.
white-collar nonmanual
(of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful.
expert accomplished skillful masterly masterful fine polished skilled proficient competent able experienced practiced trained seasoned businesslike deft ace crack top-notch
worthy of or appropriate to a professional person.
paid salaried
denoting a person who persistently makes a feature of a particular activity or attribute.
noun
noun professional plural noun professionals
a person engaged or qualified in a profession.
a person engaged in a specified activity, especially a sport or branch of the performing arts, as a main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.
professional player paid player salaried player pro
a person competent or skilled in a particular activity.

I was formally trained but no one ever asked me to get a license.

Good riddance to Brooks and hopefully RIT and the rest of the fraudulent photo programs that fool gullible students and their parents into believing they were getting professional educations. These schools were and are schemes concocted to provide well-paid tenured employment to a handful of elite photography professors. The immorality of saddling earnest students with lifetime debt should be damning, the system is corrupt to the core.

If you are talented and hard working, with an ability to network, take risks, and live in an active market (NY or LA) then you will be a successful commercial photographer. With or without a photography degree. Even in a declining market.

Every one of the other millions of failed photographers has an excuse for why they don't live in NY or LA, failed to take risk, developed an anti-social personality, lacked talent or ambition. Not that their excuses aren't valid and life is rarely fair... but the reality is they were unlucky and/or unwilling to sacrifice and push hard enough to be successful.

Edward Steichen made millions during the Great Depression, so did dozens of other top-tier professional photographers.

Right now there are hundreds of photographers billing millions per year, and only a handful went to Brooks or RIT.

Most people want to believe that if they follow a nice, safe course and go the right school and intern with the right company and marry a nice spouse and follow the proper path everything will work out hunky-dory. And sometimes it does, but not for photographers.

I think Beuler has got it about right. Some trades are a serious risk to customers. And the risk may not be immediately obvious - if a bridge initially remains standing, a patient survives the treatment, or a contract seems to be watertight, but is flawed. Lives or well-being are put at hazard, so government-approved professional bodies exist to certify (or debar) practitioners.
Hairdressers, are a marginal case, and taxi drivers are a contentious one. Some see the licensing of these trades simply as a way to force up the market price.
Photographers (and other artists) surely depend almost entirely on their corpus of work and on their reputation to show that they are skilled, dependable and worth their hire. The client will judge the cost of a poor performance - higher for non-repeatable or time-critical opportunities, such a ship launch or a wedding.

It's almost semantics, isn't it? If you define "professional" to mean getting paid for doing something, then that's what it means.

Belonging to a "profession" like medicine or engineering or law, connotes having absorbed and mastered a widely recognized body of knowledge for the safety and well-being of the public. I guess that strict libertarians might be happy with caveat emptor when dealing with a heart surgeon (or maybe they don't, I don't really know), but I prefer well-regulated and policed professional standards. It won't do me much good to find out too late that my cardiac surgeon was incompetent. Sure, in the long run the market for surgeons will sort itself out but my death seems like a high price to pay.

The worst thing that happens if I hire a bad photographer for my wedding is that I'll end up with lousy pictures. A temporary frustration sure, but small potatoes no matter how you look at it.

20 years ago when I took the state exam for an electrical contractor license, 25 of the 100 questions were related specifically to running a business; regulations, types of businesses, OSHA requirements, insurance, etc. This was implemented due to the high failure rate of construction related trades because of poor business knowledge. Perhaps a similar test should be required for anyone starting a business. But testing for specific standards in any art related field would be challenging, if not dangerous.

For me, the term Professional Photographer is very straight forward and works across all jobs. If you are a Professional Photographer, you make your living as a photographer, period. It says nothing about how great you are as a "photographer."

The subjectivity of art, and photography specifically, seems to make this desire to objectively rate the practitioners a lost cause. But money talks. If someone can provide a service of photography that clients continuously want to pay for, and that photographer derives his or her entire income from this work, they are a Professional Photographer.

Through college and post college, I played professional racquetball. I was not a professional racquetball player because I never earned my living playing the sport. Many of my peers did - they were Professional Racquetball players. I was better than some of them, but that does not change the distinction.

I broke down in tears after reading that Brooks was going to close. When trying to explain to my girlfriend (who 10 years ago had offered to send me to Brooks on her dime!) why I was so upset,she said I needed "Professional" help.

That's one item on my Bucket List that's not getting crossed off. I'm sure there will be more...

There was a time, and not that long ago, when being a Professional Photographer was a respected career path. Now you're a $39k shmuck.

For those who still dream of the idea of being
a Professional Photographer I'll close with this.

“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Suspect in the short term the rapid increase in the availability of technology to allow any one person to record/take a reasonable image,
perhaps has done more damage to the term professional
photographer than anything else.

The "Way Back Machine"(Ricky and BullWinkle)
has many of us recalling larger format devices and the wet process to process film and then produce a final result, called a print.

Presently as a result of technology the ability to photograph anything using a
device ostensibly called a mobile telephone
allows millions of "others" to record the passing scene, all without the assistance or of hiring what may be termed a professional
photographer.

Sad in a way, however think of what other
professions or careers have also been altered or even destroyed by the advancement of technology. One many of us would know, the traditional automobile mechanic. Said person now has to be also a computer user and manipulator to repair most modern wheeled transport; the traditional oil changes and the like are still performed, beyond that though that technological advance called a comuter enters into the equation.
Another example, teaching; the traditional piece of chalk and a chalk board has been replaced by students doing notes on onstensibly a computer, taught by instructors also utilizing computers.

What's happened to the personal hands-on existence of careers, eh?

M. Elenko and Mike,

You've all been sort of dancing around the crux of the problem, which is of course, that professional photography relies on the acceptance of the work by the individual who is paying the bill. If a "professional" photographer is a person who makes their sole living, or greater portion of their living, off of a selling photos to end-users, then that acceptance and bill remittance is the proof.

BUT, as any person who actually was or is a professional photographer will tell you, the level of people buying the work is all over the board! I've known "photographers" who had horrible work, and made far more money than I did because he had a willing market for it. Ever work with a really high-end, well-paid art director from a large city agency? Watching what they like and marked up on your contact sheets, vs. what you liked, it's a real eye-opener. Photography, illustration and many other fields are "taste" businesses, where the acceptance of the product is done on one person or maybe a few, liking what you did. That "taste" is uncodifi-able, but it doesn't make it a non-profession!

Save us from people that have codified and self-defined their requirements for employment tho; those types are ruining the country. I'm in creative media precisely to escape those people!

You might want an engineer to have the education to ensure that a bridge he/she designs doesn't fall down (wait a minute, that actually happens more than you think), but just think of those poor guys like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who weren't let into the computer business because of their lack of a college degree: yeah, exactly.

Delivering an uncorrupted file on time, and having it accepted by the person paying the bill, and having performed that actual production of the job to the satisfaction of the person paying the bill; are the only requirements to be met by professional photographers. One of the tenets of being a professional is using professionals. The idea that so many alleged design professionals are using amateurs to furnish their images is being driven by the lack of professionalism in their industry, as well as photography.

Save us from people that want to codify everything on the planet. If you followed the rules of modern education; award wining illustrators with 4 year degrees can't teach at a college, while terrible illustrators who never did a job professionally, and never worked in the industry, can teach and become department head, by nature of their staying in college for their 6 year, and then going right into teaching (a situation I know of directly). Most of the Bauhaus wouldn't be allowed to teach in college in the U.S. today!

The latest information I read, BTW, is that the industry average has dropped 10K between 2004 and 2014, to 28K a year. Sad, but true. But a lot of that is that the professionals up-stream aren't being professional either. If a junior AD at an agency wants to hire his or her buddy to shoot pics, then fix them all, spending hours in PhotoShop, because they're not professional level, well, the problem really sits with them, doesn't it. It just manifests itself on the pro photographer.

When M. Elenko started talking about "professionalism" and codified structure, I got the shivers. My company just dragged an IT based project management system across our corporate structure to be used as a performance review structure, and it doesn't fit the way 90% of the work gets done in our company! They want to codify our performance reviews. You know the joke that ends up about "shooting the lawyers first", it's going to be "IT engineers second"...

I'm not sure about the last bit of Crabby Umbo's comment. I worked as part of a team doing safety-critical stuff for cars, and safety-critical systems and software certainly need standards and qualified people. Similarly for air traffic control, planes, power stations, etc, etc.

To John Ironside, absolutely understood, but don't drag your process into the arts...

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