Humongous NGO Helps to Destroy Professional Photography

View over Cusco. Artikelvorschläge: Peru-Cusco...

View over Cusco. Artikelvorschläge: Peru-Cusco-Inkas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Professional photographers are constantly lamenting about the state of the industry. People with iPhones, iPads and point-and-shoots think that having a camera of some kind — any kind — makes them a photographer and are willing to prostitute their name for 30 pieces of silver and a byline and photo credit.

Sadly, major organizations that should know better are helping the death spiral of pro photogs happen.

Take “Children’s Village” as one example; and yah, I don’t mind naming names, I’m not ashamed of my bid. I recently was asked to submit a proposal for a week in Cusco, Pero at one of their facilities and was asked to give a quote for providing the following:

  • 5 days “on-ground”
  • 20 − 30 (portraits and pictures of “significant” activities (edited)
  • 10 pictures of landscape and SOS houses (edited)
  • 2 background stories (400 words each), focusing on SOS Mothers, former beneficiaries, children
  • 2 success stories (400 words each) young girls/boys, SOS Mothers and families
  • 2 challenges/needs/opportunities stories (300 words each)
  • 30 minutes (video) short interviews (raw, no editing)
  • 15 minutes (video) landscape/activities/houses (all raw, no editing); with transcription

30 – 40 images, edited; 6 pieces of between 300 and 400 words each; 45 minutes of video and five days on the ground in Peru; and I almost forgot.  They wanted all of this done within 10 days of the gig.

My bid? $1500.00. Their reaction? Thanks, but no thanks. “We’ve decided to hire someone locally,” they said. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling that anyone ‘locally’ in Cusco, Peru, probably has a point-and-shoot.

So why did I bid so low anyway? At the time I believed in what Children’s Village does. They provide a home, security and a family of sorts for children whose parents cannot — or will not — care for them anymore.

I’m all about working with groups that provide a great service. I don’t mind pinching pennies on my end to help a humanitarian group get the word out about their mission in life. But, I figure that if they’re going to use my work as marketing material to help raise funds, then hey, I need to eat too, right?’

Oh well, you get what you pay for.

Maybe I’m wrong and my bid was way too high. Please leave your thoughts and comments.

Featured ExpatBased in Argentina, Jerry writes about social justice issues throughout the world and his work has been picked up by major media outlets globally.

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Jerry Nelson is an American freelance photojournalist.  When not traveling, he can be found on the streets of Buenos Aires as Lead Photographer for BuenosTours, the largest private tour company in South America.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today.

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7 thoughts on “Humongous NGO Helps to Destroy Professional Photography

  1. Very cheap quotation. These charities are businesses. The CEO gets >£80k/y. 23 staff shared £764k, ie averaging around £31k each excluding the CEO. Do you make that from pix and stories?

  2. Yes, that’s what I’d get from the pics and stories. I think their turn-down of the bid was in somehow a reflection of how little people/organizations value pro photogs these days. Thanks for being a reader and follower!

  3. Citizen churnalism has also devalued journalism, especially investigative work. We are all losers because there is less scrutiny of corporations and politicians. How else do you explain the Iraq/Afghanistan wars?

  4. Yep. I agree with what you’re saying. Citizen “churnalism” is definitely a two-edged sword; while it does help get the information out about events that fly under the radar of most media outlets, it definitely leaves a major gap when it comes to major stories.

    Thanks for your comment and thanks for being a reader!

  5. I know as well you Jerry it’s getting harder and harder to make a living in this profession, no matter what field of photography you’re in. It used to be clients would throw out the highest and lowest bids on jobs and then consider the one in between. But now it seems they’re just going for the CHEAPEST way around it …..and it really shows in much of the work they’re publishing. Hope you’re doing well, and getting your share of gigs.

  6. Thanks for the comments and for being a reader! I agree that it’s getting harder and harder each day, so what do you suggest we can do to slow down or reverse this trend?

  7. Pingback: Go Ahead, Ask My Mom Anything! | JourneyAmerica

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