[imc-nyc-photo] questions to team members
fred askew photography
fritz at fredaskew.com
Fri Jul 23 09:20:37 PDT 2004
AP newswire idea was raised by Tahira, not me. anyway, Fritz, can you send the list a short summery of the idea and what can be done?
Before anyone reads this, keep in mind this has nothing to do with people who want to shoot and publish to the IMC newswire. This discussion is in no way intended to imply the newswire is closed or restricted to anyone who wants to use it.
Anyone/everyone is encouraged to continue shooting events and publishing their photos to the newswire.
This is the beginning of a discussion for a project intended to be outside the newswire for a group of photographers who want to try and make a living being photographers but who are revolted by what that means in a corporate, mainstream world.
There is no reason the IMC should not become a global alternative photo service without compromising its mission in any way.
The option to participate is open to all.
This discussion came about with photographers who want a chance at getting their images published, and getting paid, by for-profit magazines and newspapers who, in the past, have used our photographs without permission or payment. There are many "lefty" magazines that carry a $4.00 - $5.00 cover price and who pick-up photos from the network. There are many others who publish photographs from the mainstream wires because it's easy and the quality of the photography is good-- this is the market we were hoping to get involved with.
There is a belief that left-leaning publications who currently purchase photos from AP, Reuters, Getty, Corbis etc., do so out of habit and ease of access and will purchase from, help support, independents if the option is available.
I've spoken with a number of photo editors (8 or 9 so far), who claim they would consider an alternative if the quality was comparable and the acquisition and delivery as simple as the standard wires.
All confirmed the realities of their publishing cycle, web or print, prevents them from putting much effort into finding photos. Most said, if you send me a letter/eMail the week of, or the week before the convention, with instructions on how to find and instantly acquire hi-res images online, they will at least take a look.
1) All photos must still be available for free within the IMC network
2) A website used to catalog and archive needs to be built -- the software used for F15, Gallery, would probably work. Photos must be searchable by event, location, keyword, photographer's name, date exposed. How to organize the site: by day, by event, by photographer, all of the above?
3) A contact name, phone number, eMail address of someone acting as "photo desk editor" needs to be on the site and that person/s must be available to answer the phone during the cycle and assist in getting images to publishers.
4) Someone to edit photos and move them from the newswire to the gallery as they arrive
5) We will not be able to compete with major wire services when it comes to photos used for mainstream website publications -- most mainstream shooters will be using digital cameras which transfer images to their photo desks as soon as exposed-- Wi-Fi enabled cameras. Mainstream websites will be publishing "breaking news" images within 10 to 30 minutes after exposure-- especially for sensational events such as police/protestor altercations.
6) Most IMC photographers do not correctly caption photos. For an example of what photo editors are looking for see:
7) The quality of IMC photographs is not acceptable to most publications. Many of the editors I spoke with said while there are good images coming through IMC networks, it's impossible to weed through the bad to find the good. Some stated that what they see is about one acceptable photo for every ten in the media gallery/newswire.
8) If we sell photos from under the banner of IMC, what percentage of the sale goes back to the IMC and what goes to the photographer? Does the IMC money go to the photo collective or general? Most of us who have been around for a few years can make a persuasive argument that we have spent thousands of dollars providing free photos to the network and have not been compensated in any way by the IMC. Unlike a writer, we incur costs every time we cover something-- equipment, film, processing, scanning etc.
9) This is primarily a tech and human resource issue. There are many of us who can cover events. A lot fewer who can build, maintain and service an online wire service. And maybe even fewer who have any desire to do so.
Some of my thoughts on what we might do regarding coverage:
Shoot aspects of the event that are not being covered by the mainstream. Hook-up with affinity groups and cover them or shoot events away from the Garden. Try to find things that generally, only we know about. Let's face it, we are far better connected and have much greater access than a mainstream shooter who has no contacts in the peace & justice movement. Do our homework and reach out to people we know who are not posting their events in the AP daybook-- the Holy Grail for the mainstream media and the NYPD.
Also keep in mind mainstream publications are stretched to the max. Most of their shooters will be inside and there is no way they're going to have extensive coverage all over the city. I've met freelancers who have taken assignments from the New York papers and are assigned outside, but primarily only for the UFPJ march/rally-- which will be covered by everyone.
Shoot photo stories if possible and not just singles. There are many aspects of this gathering that could get play after the convention in which we will not compete with a 10 minute deadline.
In my view, the mainstream will own the UFPJ march, and who cares. Their event takes place before the convention even starts and is purely designed for the mainstream media. There will be many things more interesting than a group of people on the West Side highway holding signs. Feeder marches, education centers, babysitters, people who house activists, people who feed activists, affinity group parties and events etc. The more we can put together a comprehensive photo archive of what happened and how it happened in NYC, the more options for sales and publication.
Go to bookstores and copy down the names of magazines and the eMail addresses of their photo editors or art directors that you feel might publish your work. Much of this info is also on their websites.
At this point I feel there's not much we can do in advance of the convention outside of having a website, gathering eMails for photo editors, and trying to cover as many interesting aspects of the week as we can.
If our efforts lead to a comprehensive website when this is over, we may gain the most from promoting the site and getting it in the faces of publications that are bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly etc. I believe whatever goes down at the convention will have a strong media life at least until the election is over. So, if we can have something to show through the month of September, we stand a good chance of getting work published.
PS - The Media Gallery off the IMC website is simply a place that collects any media posted to the newswire and offers us no options for the above discussion. The photo collective should have a website outside of the one discussed above, or as a section of the above. We once had a page proposed for photo essay submissions. The "dummy" page is still hanging off my website: http://www.fredaskew.com/imcphoto/index.html
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