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Author Topic: David duChemin - Work or Whine. A Rant.  (Read 2957 times)

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helix7

« on: February 08, 2012, 20:24 »
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Every artist/photographer needs to read this, especially us microstockers:
http://www.pixelatedimage.com/blog/2012/02/work-or-whine-a-rant/

It's brilliant top to bottom, and especially relevant in the current industry climate in which many people (sometimes myself included) can get caught up in complaining about things. Some of my favorite bits from David's rant are:

Quote
...they post those photographs to a microstock site, and they make $1. But they make that dollar 500 times. Or 1000 times. Or they dont make a penny because their photograph isnt remotely as good as others available to the same market, and they have to go back and do it better, get a little more creative and make a photograph that hasnt already been shot. Unfair? Its the fairest its ever been its fair because it relies on how good your work is and how hard you hustle...


Quote
...To get to the other shore you need to let go of the one youre leaving, accept the unpredictability of winds and waves, and shout into the raging storm at times, is that all youve got?! and then pull the sails a little tighter. I wish I could tell you more. But all Ive learned from my journey that universally applies, is that the journey is worth it, and that its often harder than we wish it were. Youve got a handful of years to do your work, dont you dare waste those moments whining instead of creating something amazing...


« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2012, 21:29 »
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It's very heroic, but I don't think life needs to be a constant struggle for one to achieve a measure of success.

« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 22:19 »
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Every artist/photographer needs to read this, especially us microstockers:
http://www.pixelatedimage.com/blog/2012/02/work-or-whine-a-rant/

It's brilliant top to bottom ...


No they don't and no it isn't. It's painfully simplistic and lacks any understanding of the reality of being a microstocker. He's yet another self-important, blogging wannabe philosopher;

"David duChemin is a world & humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, and international workshop leader. David uses his powers for good and not for evil."

"His powers"? Bless! It appears he was told he was really special as a 6-year old ... and he still believes it.

« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2012, 22:36 »
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glad to know that there are still many exclusives happy with their royalties, RCs, whatever, hope they will never come here to whine..

« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2012, 23:32 »
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It comes across to me a bit like those motivational speakers. Bit too glib and rather binary when the world is generally a lot more complex and they gloss over a lot to make their neat and tidy points.

I do buy in, generally, to the notion that we need to adapt to the environment in which we find ourselves, but there are a lot of stacked decks, unfair business practices and power imbalances that make this "if you're not succeeding, you're not working hard enough" a bit meaningless. Agencies are taking advantage of contributors because there's a power imbalance, and they can get away with it. That power imbalance didn't entirely come about because of microstock although it may have contributed to it. You could argue that many labor disputes (hockey, baseball, football) are whining, but I think they're a power struggle between two groups to get a bigger share of the pie. Most of us are not in situations where we can fight back on a level playing field.

As we've all seen, even for those with great portfolios, an agency changes the search engine and you might as well not have any images for sale at all. Not sure how my positive attitude can change that.

I guess the post pi33es me off because it seems to dismiss and minimize some very real problems.

« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 01:33 »
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I thought it was a good read. I just took it as that you have work a little to get the things you want. If you have the things you want, then you have to work a little more to make sure you keep them. I think we all forget that every now and then, and it's nice to be reminded.

lagereek

« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 01:45 »
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Yep.  you find little David duChemins just about everywhere.

« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 01:53 »
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I liked the post. I think it's fair to say any blog/post/article/essay must oversimplify its subject....since no industry or issue can truly be encapsulated in 500 words or less. I agree with much of the sentiment behind it. I think the attitude he's talking about is using "change" as a scapegoat for not competing well.

that being said, what I think the article forgets to mention is that just because things change doesn't mean that we have to passively migrate through change. change is a living thing, and it is affected by those variables propelling it and those variables reacting to it. I think he misses that.

his photography is beautiful. can't argue with his success.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 02:17 by SNP »

« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 02:18 »
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I've decided to do more work and less whining this year.  Just reading all the constant complaint threads about istock takes too much time.  I can't be bothered discussing the latest best match change, I'm independent and istock doesn't make much for me now, so why does it matter?

I don't think we are in a nice position now though.  A few years ago, commissions were higher and it was easier to predict future earnings.  I don't mind having completion or having to raise my game but I'm not going to work harder for less money.  That's why I'm concentrating more on alamy, they have a decent commission and don't look like cutting it in the future.  It's a solid platform to build on.  I just don't have the same confidence in most of the microstock sites.

lagereek

« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 02:48 »
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I've decided to do more work and less whining this year.  Just reading all the constant complaint threads about istock takes too much time.  I can't be bothered discussing the latest best match change, I'm independent and istock doesn't make much for me now, so why does it matter?

I don't think we are in a nice position now though.  A few years ago, commissions were higher and it was easier to predict future earnings.  I don't mind having completion or having to raise my game but I'm not going to work harder for less money.  That's why I'm concentrating more on alamy, they have a decent commission and don't look like cutting it in the future.  It's a solid platform to build on.  I just don't have the same confidence in most of the microstock sites.

Youre right!  micro on the whole is not in a nice position, not at the moment anyway. Yesterday, it was enough to supply good quality images, that was all thats needed. Today its a whole differant story, today we are getting mixed up in external and internal politics and policy problems which are far beyond our control and with the exeption of a few, its not the friendly pal to pal business anymore.
The markets seems fed-up, agencies are here today, gone tomorrow, bugs and glitches everywhere, buyers who has lost their search for quality and who can be satisfied with pics from their own family albums, add to that, contributors who are uploading the same old ports, same old files with the same old keywording, same old spamming to dozens of agencies. No wonder its a mess.
In the midst of all this, we are trying to do business?  yeah, right. :)

helix7

« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 07:40 »
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No they don't and no it isn't. It's painfully simplistic and lacks any understanding of the reality of being a microstocker...

That's kind of the point, that really things aren't all that complicated. The business model isn't all that different than is used to be, minus a few percentage points at a couple of lame duck agencies. Despite the changing atmosphere, the simple philosophy of working hard and not letting the changing tides influence your willingness to adapt is probably the best recipe for success in any part of the creative industry.

So things are changing, especially at istock. Big deal. My istock earnings are down 90%. And yet because I made good business decisions, my overall income is up. In this shortest month of the year I'm actually on pace for a BME. Regardless of what's been going on, the simple strategy of doing good work, adapting to what buyers seem to want, and pushing my own craft has all brought me through the perceived storm and much better off on the other side of it.

Maybe painfully simplistic is what we need more of around here, instead of the complexities and distractions of the changing marketplace.

« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 09:00 »
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^^^ Sorry, but is the idea of working regularly and working hard somehow 'revolutionary' for you? As opposed to sitting on your arse, doing nothing and wondering why your income doesn't increase? I'd have thought most kids would have understood that much from their parents by the time they were 10 years old. Dressing the painfully obvious in flowery metaphors doesn't make it 'new' or any less obvious than it was in the first place.

helix7

« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 09:32 »
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^^^ Sorry, but is the idea of working regularly and working hard somehow 'revolutionary' for you? As opposed to sitting on your arse, doing nothing and wondering why your income doesn't increase? I'd have thought most kids would have understood that much from their parents by the time they were 10 years old. Dressing the painfully obvious in flowery metaphors doesn't make it 'new' or any less obvious than it was in the first place.

Actually my parents were more of the "work smarter rather than harder" philosophy, as am I. And I don't think duChemin was saying to just work hard. The main point of the article was about the unwillingness of many artists to adapt to change. I'd say working hard and working regularly are just as foolish on their own as "sitting on your arse" is. Without the willingness to look around at the industry and make adjustments as necessary, hard work is an exercise in futility.

lagereek

« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2012, 10:08 »
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^^^ Sorry, but is the idea of working regularly and working hard somehow 'revolutionary' for you? As opposed to sitting on your arse, doing nothing and wondering why your income doesn't increase? I'd have thought most kids would have understood that much from their parents by the time they were 10 years old. Dressing the painfully obvious in flowery metaphors doesn't make it 'new' or any less obvious than it was in the first place.


Bloody right!  these young tossers dont know what hard work means, they think MICRO, is hard work. Nah, just a bunch of layabouts walking about with their extende P/S, thinking they are photographers.
Bloody cheek!  throw em out. ;D

jbarber873

« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2012, 10:25 »
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Yep.  you find little David duChemins just about everywhere.

 I could give you a list from over the years. The first guy i assisted many years ago used to go to workshops given by a photographer who discovered that there was a lot more profit in running workshops than running a studio. Since then, these guys pop up like a wack-a-mole game. The list of sponsors on this guy's home page tells me more about his business than anything else. But that's really his point, in an odd way. There are many ways to make a living, but you have to go after them. If microstockers have one typical problem, in my experience, it's an unwillingness to adapt to a changing world. Just because microstock was something new 6 years ago, you could throw up just about anything and it would sell. Some people approached it in such a way as to dominate a niche ( smiling businessman/woman/doctor mugging for the camera ) and are now upset at the "competitors", as though they weren't just ripping off traditional stock, consciously or not. Welcome to the real world. Many times in the past I have mentioned video as the coming market, and have gotten responses mostly along the lines of "it's too much work, I'll just stick to stills". At one point I mentioned expanding your markets to your local community, and was stepped on big time. I won't bring that up again. The point is that it's a business, and if the cost of your product exceeds the return on investment,then it's a bad business. You can whine all you want about how it used to be, or how it should be, but in the end, you better be aware of how it really is. Complaining about competition, or dreaming about not allowing images that copy your best sellers isn't going to work. If you came up with an idea that did well for years, then you will have to be happy that you made the money when you did, not join the "pull up the gangplank, I was here first" mentality. You have a skill, but you need to expand your markets. And that doesn't just mean going to the next agency startup whose idea of a long term plan is to sell out to getty. You have to think beyond microstock to the wider world of how images are used, and what markets need. But the days of someone else doing the hard part are over. I've been making my living at photography since I was 17 years old, and I'm in my late 50's now. I see just as much opportunity now as I did when I was 17- maybe more.  (oh, and by the way, Lagereek, when i say "you" I don't mean you- you're one of the ones who gets what I'm saying.)

michealo

« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2012, 10:31 »
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Yep.  you find little David duChemins just about everywhere.

 I could give you a list from over the years. The first guy i assisted many years ago used to go to workshops given by a photographer who discovered that there was a lot more profit in running workshops than running a studio. Since then, these guys pop up like a wack-a-mole game. The list of sponsors on this guy's home page tells me more about his business than anything else. But that's really his point, in an odd way. There are many ways to make a living, but you have to go after them. If microstockers have one typical problem, in my experience, it's an unwillingness to adapt to a changing world. Just because microstock was something new 6 years ago, you could throw up just about anything and it would sell. Some people approached it in such a way as to dominate a niche ( smiling businessman/woman/doctor mugging for the camera ) and are now upset at the "competitors", as though they weren't just ripping off traditional stock, consciously or not. Welcome to the real world. Many times in the past I have mentioned video as the coming market, and have gotten responses mostly along the lines of "it's too much work, I'll just stick to stills". At one point I mentioned expanding your markets to your local community, and was stepped on big time. I won't bring that up again. The point is that it's a business, and if the cost of your product exceeds the return on investment,then it's a bad business. You can whine all you want about how it used to be, or how it should be, but in the end, you better be aware of how it really is. Complaining about competition, or dreaming about not allowing images that copy your best sellers isn't going to work. If you came up with an idea that did well for years, then you will have to be happy that you made the money when you did, not join the "pull up the gangplank, I was here first" mentality. You have a skill, but you need to expand your markets. And that doesn't just mean going to the next agency startup whose idea of a long term plan is to sell out to getty. You have to think beyond microstock to the wider world of how images are used, and what markets need. But the days of someone else doing the hard part are over. I've been making my living at photography since I was 17 years old, and I'm in my late 50's now. I see just as much opportunity now as I did when I was 17- maybe more.  (oh, and by the way, Lagereek, when i say "you" I don't mean you- you're one of the ones who gets what I'm saying.)

+1

« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2012, 10:47 »
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No they don't and no it isn't. It's painfully simplistic and lacks any understanding of the reality of being a microstocker. He's yet another self-important, blogging wannabe philosopher;

"David duChemin is a world & humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, and international workshop leader. David uses his powers for good and not for evil."

"His powers"? Bless! It appears he was told he was really special as a 6-year old ... and he still believes it.

Why so angry? Did David duChemin ruin your birthday when you were 6? Peed on the cake?  ;D


lagereek

« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2012, 11:28 »
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Yep.  you find little David duChemins just about everywhere.

 I could give you a list from over the years. The first guy i assisted many years ago used to go to workshops given by a photographer who discovered that there was a lot more profit in running workshops than running a studio. Since then, these guys pop up like a wack-a-mole game. The list of sponsors on this guy's home page tells me more about his business than anything else. But that's really his point, in an odd way. There are many ways to make a living, but you have to go after them. If microstockers have one typical problem, in my experience, it's an unwillingness to adapt to a changing world. Just because microstock was something new 6 years ago, you could throw up just about anything and it would sell. Some people approached it in such a way as to dominate a niche ( smiling businessman/woman/doctor mugging for the camera ) and are now upset at the "competitors", as though they weren't just ripping off traditional stock, consciously or not. Welcome to the real world. Many times in the past I have mentioned video as the coming market, and have gotten responses mostly along the lines of "it's too much work, I'll just stick to stills". At one point I mentioned expanding your markets to your local community, and was stepped on big time. I won't bring that up again. The point is that it's a business, and if the cost of your product exceeds the return on investment,then it's a bad business. You can whine all you want about how it used to be, or how it should be, but in the end, you better be aware of how it really is. Complaining about competition, or dreaming about not allowing images that copy your best sellers isn't going to work. If you came up with an idea that did well for years, then you will have to be happy that you made the money when you did, not join the "pull up the gangplank, I was here first" mentality. You have a skill, but you need to expand your markets. And that doesn't just mean going to the next agency startup whose idea of a long term plan is to sell out to getty. You have to think beyond microstock to the wider world of how images are used, and what markets need. But the days of someone else doing the hard part are over. I've been making my living at photography since I was 17 years old, and I'm in my late 50's now. I see just as much opportunity now as I did when I was 17- maybe more.  (oh, and by the way, Lagereek, when i say "you" I don't mean you- you're one of the ones who gets what I'm saying.)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Good post!  and I agree 100%.  Another thing, microstockers, even the most prolific ones, seem to be locked in just micro, nothing else seem to exist and the entire world evolves around just micro and as you say, if the going is tough, the world is coming to an end.  Photographers are a suspicious and dogmatic breed, we are known for this.

Yes!  there is always something else around the corner and if micro ended, there will be something else, thats for sure.  In retrospect, in fact, much of todays mess in the micro-world,  we, the contributors are quite a bit to blame.,

WarrenPrice

« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2012, 18:57 »
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No they don't and no it isn't. It's painfully simplistic and lacks any understanding of the reality of being a microstocker. He's yet another self-important, blogging wannabe philosopher;

"David duChemin is a world & humanitarian photographer, best-selling author, and international workshop leader. David uses his powers for good and not for evil."

"His powers"? Bless! It appears he was told he was really special as a 6-year old ... and he still believes it.

Why so angry? Did David duChemin ruin your birthday when you were 6? Peed on the cake?  ;D

Maybe a pot calling the kettle black?   ::)


« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2012, 00:36 »
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Yep.  you find little David duChemins just about everywhere.

 I could give you a list from over the years. The first guy i assisted many years ago used to go to workshops given by a photographer who discovered that there was a lot more profit in running workshops than running a studio.

I know one of these. Every blog post is a plug, and sometimes multiple plugs in one day. It got tiring when the guy had nothing original left to say. It's all about "buy this light because I use it", "oh a new filter pack came out and here's what I did with it. and by the way, here's my referral link. It got tiring and I stopped following his little advertising blog.

David on the other hand is a good guy and he's worth listening to.

jbarber873

« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2012, 18:00 »
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Yep.  you find little David duChemins just about everywhere.

 I could give you a list from over the years. The first guy i assisted many years ago used to go to workshops given by a photographer who discovered that there was a lot more profit in running workshops than running a studio.

I know one of these. Every blog post is a plug, and sometimes multiple plugs in one day. It got tiring when the guy had nothing original left to say. It's all about "buy this light because I use it", "oh a new filter pack came out and here's what I did with it. and by the way, here's my referral link. It got tiring and I stopped following his little advertising blog.

David on the other hand is a good guy and he's worth listening to.

     If his posts are valuable to you then that's all that matters. My overall point is that his example of gathering income from any source available, including workshops, product tie-ins, etc is the way to look at making money as a photographer. There's a wider world than microstock is all I'm saying. Not everyone can teach a workshop, but image users are all around us.

« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2012, 13:13 »
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After reading that, I've had enough goofy metaphors for a year.  ::)

gillian

  • *Gillian*

« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2012, 03:55 »
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Quote
If his posts are valuable to you then that's all that matters. My overall point is that his example of gathering income from any source available, including workshops, product tie-ins, etc is the way to look at making money as a photographer. There's a wider world than microstock is all I'm saying. Not everyone can teach a workshop, but image users are all around us.

This is similar to my thought stream. Most people who do microstock have other income streams. That in itself is an excellent attitude to running a business, so I am often confused to read so much negativity and spitefulness. I get it, you don't want newbies coming into your world. but that fear is part of everyone's world. The only way to conquer it is to be better (was his word "hustle"? lol). I often join photography forums only to discover, with dismay, that I don't like any of the people in those forums, they all need to go to a Tony Robbins seminar and get some happy. For such creativity and general awesomeness, a lot of photographers are just not nice people. 

lagereek

« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2012, 06:15 »
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Quote
If his posts are valuable to you then that's all that matters. My overall point is that his example of gathering income from any source available, including workshops, product tie-ins, etc is the way to look at making money as a photographer. There's a wider world than microstock is all I'm saying. Not everyone can teach a workshop, but image users are all around us.

This is similar to my thought stream. Most people who do microstock have other income streams. That in itself is an excellent attitude to running a business, so I am often confused to read so much negativity and spitefulness. I get it, you don't want newbies coming into your world. but that fear is part of everyone's world. The only way to conquer it is to be better (was his word "hustle"? lol). I often join photography forums only to discover, with dismay, that I don't like any of the people in those forums, they all need to go to a Tony Robbins seminar and get some happy. For such creativity and general awesomeness, a lot of photographers are just not nice people.  

I wouldnt say anybody is afraid of newbies, etc, I certainly am not and I know everybody has to start somewhere. In Micro however, newbies and weekendsnappers do tend to spread a lot of carbage around them, such as terrible keywording, spamming and lots of quite irrelevant material, then they just quit, leaving all this stuff around them. Ofcourse there are exeptions but in micro, they are hard to find.

This is one of the reasons, the Trad agencies, almost exclusivly prefered to work with fulltime photographers since they tend to take things a bit more serious.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2012, 06:17 by lagereek »

« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2012, 13:09 »
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There was value in his rant.  Also, keep in mind who some of his intended audience was, those who had outcried his publishing a book on microstock photography.  So, some of the harsher criticisms here might be more acceptable if he was preaching just to the choir, but remember this was a reponse ALSO to those who just outright hate microstock photography/photographers.

Many comments in this thread also have much value.  And Lagereek, you are funny as hell :)

PhotoDuneMicrostock Insider

 

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