Too committed?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Dorothy Blum Cooper, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. Dorothy Blum Cooper

    Dorothy Blum Cooper Member

    Messages:
    324
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As some of you may already be aware, the last two years of my life have been quite hectic to say the least. The business (not the art) of my photography has somewhat been placed on hold.
    With our recent out-of-state move and settling in a bit more and our lifestyle changed, I'm finally able to get back into the swing of things.

    They say you should trust your 'gut' and for the most part I always have. But yesterday, I began to have a slight 'tinge' of 'did I just do the right thing?'

    We received a phone call from a very prominent ad agency (I'd rather not use their name as it may bite me on the butt later...I'm sure you all understand :smile: ). They said they found my work via my web site and contacted me based on the impact of my portraits and on the work they needed. They wanted to hire me for an editorial shoot for a national magazine. After discussing the wants and needs of the potential job...my husband (who handles all of our business) told me that they wanted me to shoot portrait work...IN COLOR!! Of course...the whole thing came to a screeching halt! The only time I have or do shoot color is for my own, personal family stuff (snapshots) or when I work with slide film...again, for myself. Other than that...my work has been and always will be in black and white film…Period.

    My husband was very polite but when they stated that they loved my work...knew it was exactly what they wanted and would give them the 'look' they were after, but in color, my husband said 'the work you say you want is all in black and white...part of the impact is the fact that Dorothy's work is black and white film…you just wouldn't have that same impact in color.’

    I felt we did the right thing...I guess it's just the idea of turning down something big because I know that my best work is what I've always done…black & white film. I just wouldn't comfortable seeing my work 'in color'.

    Just a vent...but still, can't help but thinking 'oh, darn.'
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2006
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If it's any comfort, I too think you did the right thing.

    If they liked your work, they shouldn't have asked for something different from what they saw?

    I've turned down jobs myself for similar reasons, and would do it again.
     
  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Dear Dorothy,

    When I was younger I could never how people could do what you have just done. For the last decade or to, I have been unable to understand how they cannot.

    Keep the faith! But also -- commiserations. It hurts turning down money.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    5,861
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's hard, but stay true to yourself. You'd hate it if you weren't able to do your best work for a big job like that.

    You never know.. maybe they'll decide they want b/w after all!
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    To do what we do, you have to maintain your own vision, if you felt it was the right thing to do, then it was.....

    Dave
     
  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,341
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn,Mic
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Some folks can switch between the two mediums. Not everybody can.

    In any case, if you aren't shooting color at the present, you're inviting disaster
    to take on a job that demands color.

    Your choice is just good professionalism.

    ( but it's up to you to choose, or not, to say to the potential client,
    that you're interested in working for them in the future after brushing up on your color work )
     
  7. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Some people will say yes to anything, and then attempt to wing it. Integrity in your work and in your dealings with those who would hire you is far more important IMHO. Take satisfaction in having had your work recognized for the excellent qualities it has, and be glad you've not comprimised. In this case, it's a black and white decision! :wink:
     
  8. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    2,606
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Proud to know you Dorthy Blum Cooper.
     
  9. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,262
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    I am no professional photographer, but I do get asked to give presentations based on my style of presentation. You did right telling them no. I've turned down a few presentations because my knowledge of the subject matter was not as good as it could be. On the other hand I think you might be cutting some potential business opportunities. Maybe this could be the start of a new avenue.

    Could you transmit the same emotion with color film? Have you tried to do it seriously, not just snap shots?
     
  10. arigram

    arigram Member

    Messages:
    5,474
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2004
    Location:
    Crete, Greec
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It is the same dilemma that I have had.
    I have not yet been contacted by any important client, but it has been on my mind ever since I decided I wanted to do photography as a profession.
    Many times I wondered if staying with my artistic decision to do BW would be naive in the broad professional world and I would just end up starving and kicking myself for being such a fool.
    But then, if I did just what everyone else does, color and in digital and whatever the client asked for, then what would be the difference of any cheap whore with a digicam that calls themselves a photographer? Putting artistic and personnal matters aside, what would be the reason to get a job then, if anyone else can do it? Wouldn't my name and my professional status dissapear in a sea of identical clones?
    Practically, would I make any money, or would I just end up working for an one hour shop in cliche weddings and crowded events for spare change?

    Would that decision, to sell my artistic vision out, lead me anywhere? Would I have a career and a future or be a beggar clone with really nothing to look for?

    Someome who makes the decision to stand aside from the crowd has always a rough beginning. But atleast has some chance for an interesting life and career.

    So, in the end, better to be a fool full of dreams and passion than an empty clone.

    There always going to be people who don't understand and ask you to change your artistic work to suit their shallow and ignorant fancies. Don't let them destroy you.
     
  11. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,987
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I gave up color a few years ago and maybe do a couple of things a year in color. People call all the time and want something done in color. If I can't convince them to go B&W I say, sorry.

    To me it's like someone asking me if I want a cigarette. The answer is NO. I don't smoke.

    Michael
     
  12. bart Nadeau

    bart Nadeau Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Also, if you had accepted the assignment - and it was successful - you would then become associated with that new version of your work and be pulled in that direction for future assignments - away from where you want to be.
    Easy for me to say, but sure think you did the right thing.
    bart
     
  13. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Mississauga,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dorothy, you made good decesion. Do not bend your sail agains the wind.


    www.Leica-R.com
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Dear Aristotelis,

    It's not just a matter of principle.

    I know what I can do well. Suppose someone asks me to do something I don't do, or in which I don't have as much experience as I would like. I then have to guess whether I can do it, based on what I already know and have done, or whether I'll do a job *I'm* not happy with -- because if I'm not happy, there's an excuse for them not to be happy.

    Which is one reason that one of the last commissions I turned down (a while back -- I've not sought photographic commissions in years) was 3 weeks' architecture in Saudi Arabia... Still wondering about that one, too.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  16. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,578
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Like asking a good podiatrist to perform brain surgery. Thanks but no thanks. Been there done that. What surprises me is how some of these folks get to be "art director" and have no understanding of the most basic of concepts about impact.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    19,772
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hi dorothy --

    sometimes the hard choices make us rethink who we are, what we do and where we want to go.

    it is a tough choice to let a potential client walk, but it is equally hard to do something you are not comfortable with.




    good luck!

    john
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I've been trying to figure out for close on three decades exactly what art directors DO understand.

    Cheers,

    R
     
  19. wfe

    wfe Member

    Messages:
    1,284
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Location:
    Coatesville,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My vote for whatever it is worth is that you absolutly did the right thing Dorothy.

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  20. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I hope the podiatrist gave you a good discount considering what was the final result! :tongue:

    I also agree that you did the right thing Dorothy. to completly change gears in your style would not allow you to produce your best work.
     
  21. Nancy

    Nancy Member

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It might have been tempting at the time, but chances are you'd have regretted doing it later.
    I'd also bet there's a good chance they'll come looking for you when they have a job to be done in black and white. :wink:
     
  22. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Lehi, Utah
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Color, it's just to great a price to pay.

    Been there as well, and not done that [as well].

    Really, my greatest fear is that the customer, not being familiar with the comparison of black and white to color, would look at the work and wonder why they didn't get what they expected. Then where do you go? Do a reshoot (at your expense?) and hope they liked that?

    No. You did the right thing.
     
  23. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dorothy, I agree with your decision. The only color I do anymore is also very limited...in fact, I'm shooting color for the first time again in a serious manner on the trip my boyfriend and I are taking to Colorado. I say that you should do what you're comfortable with...and do what you want to do.
     
  24. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't disregard color. I disregard when someone thinks I should do what I do not do. If you don't shoot color fine. I would wholeheartedly support you on that. If you shot color and they wanted black and white, I would feel the same way. It is your photography. You are the one to decide what is and what isn't what you do. I find both mediums when done well, to be very pleasing to me. I personally shoot mostly B&W. Yet there are times when color is what really captures the scene and I would either pass or get out the color film. Here in the summer color is just not easy to work with since I take off hiking into the back country, and trying to keep it cool can be a PIA. Winter is great here for color. Yet the somber moods of the lighting just scream out B&W.

    Be true to what you do. It will all work out for the best.
     
  25. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    While I, too, think you did the "right thing", Dorothy, based on my impression (mostly gained here) of your artistic vision, I'd point out (mostly for the sake of discussion) that there is also a different perspective.

    If one approaches photography as a "craft" - rather than as an "art" - the idea of applying one's vision or style to something different is far less of a stretch. Within that extended context, a sensitive portraitist might easily be asked to apply the same sort of style to a commercial product, for example. Similarly, one who does graceful, almost poetic nudes might apply the same skills and style to a high-fashion spread. Vision and style need not be subject-matter limited if it is seen as a more general philosophy or attitude toward all things. A good craftsperson can examine the requirements and objectives of a task, and apply his or her skills in a manner appropriate to the task. One wouldn't expect to hear from a skilled woodworker, for example, "No, sorry. I only make rectangular boxes, not square ones."
     
  26. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I can just hear the ad-guy saying, "Yeah baby, just love that string quartet stuff of yours...but we're looking for some punch. Say, I know this marching band...".

    Murray