Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New York Magazine Wanted Free Photos. Give Me a Break!

I was contacted today by a guy from New York Magazine online. He told me they were going to be featuring a London Indian restaurant I'd written about and wondered if they could use my food photos (with "credit, of course"). I wrote back saying that I'd be happy to let them use the photos with credit along with whatever token fee is standard, but that I couldn't give permission without at least an honorarium. I received a prompt reply that they don't pay for such things.

Who the fuck do they think they are? New York fucking Magazine! Like they can't pay a token fee for a photo? Is that what the internet has wrought? Now even the online versions of successful commercial magazines think all they need to offer is "credit." I'm pissed, to say the least.

8 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

I'm surprised they didn't argue that it was "great exposure." Good for you, Peter!

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Holly said...

Welcome to my world, Peter. Online & print mags
are constantly requesting free use of Art Kane
photographs. They're cheap wankers every one.The answer is always *no*. Good on you for doing same!

8:24 AM  
Blogger stacy said...

Oh yeah - my composer friends and I have had a long discussion about this very problem as it pertains to film music. "Great exposure" indeed.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

I was in the same situation and I happily gave the photo to a magazine without paying. Why should I care? Starting in the 1970s, I must have given away scores of writing pieces without getting paid. There are those of us who write or take photos as hobbies, and we're happy to give our work away for free.

They'll just find someone else with the next-best pic. I think your stand is kind of out of step with the times. (The New York Times never paid me anything for an op-ed piece, by the way.)

12:49 PM  
Blogger Peter Cherches said...

Assuming you're Richard G., I shudder to think you consider your writing a "hobby," and I shutter to think you're happy to give photos away to commercial entities.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

I completely agree with you. I've been contacted several times from travel-oriented sites wanting to use a photo I took of a historic location in Sydney that's in my Flickr account. One even tried to convince me by bragging about their connections to various well-known, high-end travel sites. "Oh, so I'm sure you have a budget for an honorarium to use my photo, then," I replied. No dice. They sheepishly admitted they had "no budget" for photos.

IMO, this all falls into the same category as what someone called the "mass amateurization" of media. We have devalued creative work to such an extent that I wonder if professional photographers, writers, musicians, designers, and the like will be able to survive.

4:27 PM  
Blogger stacy said...

There are those of us who write or take photos as hobbies, and we're happy to give our work away for free.

Yes, that's just the problem. It's you amateurs that make it so hard for the professionals.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only people who *don't* get paid are those who are supplying the sine qua non: the writing & art. Do you suppose for a minute that the person you talked to was working for free? Why do they think anyone should or would volunteer their talents & expertise? (Well, because some people do, as Stacy said.) My motto (from Samuel Johnson): No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
-Elinor (I'd sign in but lost my password & they don't seem to have a way to retrieve it)

7:37 AM  

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