Saturday

Posting Portrait Price Lists Online - PART 4 of 4

Continued from Part 3...

 It's not as black and white as I would like.
Nonetheless, if the budding Rice Krispers's vision of being a "photographer" is an emulation of Pennys/Sears, who I am to pop their bubble or question their paradigm?

This might be true were their feelings not so terribly hurt and hopes dashed when they score a 67 on their comp print, all the while posting a website price for an 8x10 under $50. It's even more distressing that they believe they've made a profit at such naive pricing, or that they're contributing to the advancement of their profession.

The issue, as I see it, is not that the online price-posters/Rice Krisper's don't care. For they too are merely a product of our culture - a culture that wants it now, and where price is valued, while value is neglected.

However, though I would hope that every soul who charges a fee for creating photographic images would be profoundly considerate of the impact their business practices are having on the industry I love, the truth of the matter is, it's not as black and white as I would like. I have to remind myself, these folk too are looking for creative expression and are in many ways, like us all, just groping the dark, looking for meaning and significance. For so many, photography is that "answer" they've been searching for.

As much as I carry on about the Krispers, and how much it might comfort me to garnish them with a Whiplash handlebar as the symbol of villainy and the prime perpetrators responsible for devaluing the art of fine portraiture, I have to pause and equally consider that, for so darn many, it's simply a matter of putting food on the table. Whether this excuses/explains their peculiar contribution, or is an indictment against them, is a question that might be prove worthy of an illuminating debate. But for me, I'll leave it to those who are a whole lot smarter than me. Nonetheless, it is a sobering thought.

With this in mind, it seems to me that the redress is not one of ridicule or finger pointing, nor is the question one of sincerity or of intention. The way I see it, the best and only way through our dilemma is none other than good ole' education. And the only way the remedy is going to see the light of day is for those of us who are enlightened to show the way for those who are not (i.e. one reason for posting my thoughts). This is going to require patience, compassion and imagination. Above all, it's going to demand perseverance.

Spreading the word not only means reaching out to the Krispers, but encompasses professional organizations, labs, and the ancillary businesses they rely on. This could involve putting pressure on such behemoths as PPA, as well as local affiliates, which, from my perspective, seem to have acquiesced rather than upheld standards of excellence. Instead of lowering the bar in pursuit of short-term profits, it needs to be raised to new heights, energized by a clear vision of what it could be. Albeit with the understanding and confidence that we are all in it for the duration.

When we stand together, we can endure the most turbulent of wakes, no matter how much our collective boats have been rocked. I'm willing. How about you?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Part 1
Part 2

Mark
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