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Archive for August, 2012

Giving Away your Photos & Writing

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Everybody gets to make their own choices in life about whether to give away work for free. My answer to any situation where I’m expected to give work away for free, like the answer to anything worth asking, is it depends.

It Depends on Several Factors

Some people (usually successful people with an income) suggest that you do anything to get your work out there. Others (also usually successful people with an income) say never to give anything away without crossing your palm with silver. That’s kind of confusing and a little binary for the real world so I’ll put forward some of the factors that influence that depends.

It depends on whether the entity that wants to use your photograph or writing is making money out of it. You deserve to be able to buy bread to feed your family just like everybody else. Commercial entities, especially business entities, have slipped into the habit of sourcing free content for their marketing and web assets. Don’t be a schmuck – it’s called exploitation.

It depends on their reputation and intentions towards your work. In other words, is this somewhere you feel comfortable about your work being represented? It could be a photograph among prestigious artists on a well known website or it could just as easily be for a poster that will represent a political party that you despise. It isn’t enough to be out there… you need to be in the right places sending the right marketing message to the target segment that might do your business some benefit.

It depends on the relevance of the place that your photograph or content will appear. Is there a direct link that justifies your marketing investment? For example, this week I declined having my photograph used for free on a real estate website because there is no marketing correlation between the web page where somebody is searching for a house to buy or rent and my ability to produce photography. There is next to zero correlation between home buyers and Oh I think I might contact that photographer and buy a photograph. At the same time, real estate companies NEVER EVER work for free in my universe so it’s a little cheeky to be expecting it from me.

Had the request been to use a Holga photograph to appear in a plastic camera book likely to become popular then there may have been a direct marketing link that would justify my acceptance. The market segment buying and reading that book might well want to purchase a photograph and put bread onto my family’s table. However, even when that correlation exists, there is still a judgement call to be made. How do you feel about the specific situation? Because if money is to be made then you deserve to be included to the value of your effort (beyond a vain gamble that you will be noticed as the next Versace). Does the cab driver work for free? The supermarket delivery boy? Would you expect them to? No.

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Grey Nomads & the Dream of Superannuation

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Australian superannuation is a strange and fickle beast that we’ve pegged our hopes to in pursuit of an economically sustainable social welfare system. Unfortunately, it seems to have largely devolved into a Christmas Club for the newly retired (including the rambling Grey Nomads).

Let’s step back in time and ask ourselves why the compulsory superannuation scheme was implemented in Australia under Keating’s Government? The answer looms in a worrying demographic trend that, at this point in time, identifies the massive population bulge we call the Baby Boomers (post-WW2 to early 1960s). They are flooding into semi and full retirement.

This should be no news to anybody because the aging population has been on our radar for decades. It’s the same problem faced by all Western countries where higher education led to smaller families. In short, Australia obviously had no conceivable way to fund the Baby Boomer retirement dream of a decade or two in the burbs playing lawn bowls and drinking beer shandies.

Sigh. The dream of beer shandies (or whiskey on the porch watching sunsets) was always a part of “my Australia”. All the better that life expectancy now puts a good twenty to forty years of retirement on the Baby Boomers.

The single and indisputable reason for the introduction of compulsory superannuation was self-funded retirement. But Australian culture has significantly changed and we no longer want to leave a taxable penny for our children – if we can help it. We want to spend the money we saved. We want to retire and pluck that wealth from our accounts to buy a fishing boat or a Winnebago and have all those holidays we never got to enjoy.

Partly because we’ve watched our children sprawl out into the new world order of the current phase of globalisation (since the 70s) with gusto and abandon. We… want… our… share.

It comes down to equity. We want to retire with a splurge and then plonk ourselves back into the suburbs with a small amount of remaining cash to receive the 20 or 30 years of old age pension that we’ve earned and deserve. Never mind the idea of what superannuation was meant to achieve for Australia in the first instance. This, for heaven’s sake, is our Super Duper Christmas Club for retirement.

At this point I’d like to raise a glass to all those Baby Boomers who whined about all those people who were a burden to the Australian tax-base throughout their long and suffering working life. Because those people are about to become just like the unwashed poor. Broke. On a pension. A burden to the shrinking Australian tax-base. Eventually reviled as hangers-on.

The vast majority of Australians have long lost the entire concept of a self-funded retirement. We want the cash and the pension. And so be it.

Polaroid Super Shooter Down Under

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

On Friday afternoon a refurbished Polaroid “Super Shooter” Land Camera (circa 1975-77) arrived in a sturdy box from the US of A pre-loaded by Michael Raso of the Film Photography Project with a Fujifilm FP-3000B black and white pack film.

Also in the box was a fresh pack of Fujifilm FP-100C colour film & an antique box of Sylvania Blue Dot FLASHCUBES (3 cubes / 12 flashes). If you’re interested, Michael Raso has also created a great intro to Polaroid pack film cameras.

Note that Polaroid pack film cameras shoot Type 100 pack film that is still available from Fuji. But the other Polaroid cameras require their own corresponding correct types of film (available from the Impossible Project):

  • 600 cameras take PX-600 film
  • SX-70 cameras take PX-70 film
  • Spectra cameras take PZ-600 film

The Impossible Project have a great page that outlines all the different types of Polaroid camera and if you would like to buy film you can go directly to an Impossible Project store, the Film Photography Project store, Lofico (located in Australia) or other lomo and film websites. Film can be a little expensive but it’s definitely no longer that difficult to locate.

Nowdays I live by the motto – “Buy film not megapixels”.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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