Saturday, October 25, 2003

Eschew negativity

I was covering a book signing at a bookstore today. The author said another author told him (paraphrasing), "If you write a book, don't write it about how you were mistreated by others. Ninety percent of the people don't care and the other 10 percent feel you deserve it."

Great advice.

As such, I thought about this blog. I approached it as a medium to let others interested in photojournalism get to know the down side of the field. So, I've vented a little and sniveled a lot as a way to let people know PJ isn't all champagne and caviar.

I know this is true of any job. I personally would hate to be a pop star. It's a 24/7 job with no down time.

So, I'll try (note the word) to move forward talking about the good things. Not particularly how others might see it, but more how PJs might see it.

For example, I'll be shooting the women's professional football league NFC championship game tonight. Some might be excited to be on the sidelines. I want to get a good shot. I'm hoping to get such a good shot that it goes on the wire.

If it goes on the wire, it might get picked up by a magazine, and I might get another venue for my images and a little extra jingle in my pocket next month. If it's good enough to get picked up, then it should also be good enough to compete and hopefully win a PJ contest or two. This would give me legitimacy at the water cooler.

So what did I really say? Just like everyone in the world, I want to know that what I do every day is good or at least useful.

This strikes at the heart of our fears - large alligators… Actually, that's loathing, but they're another story. I'm concerned about my ability to have a cool job. I know others could do my job better. I work with many of them and compete against more of them.

Some who could do my job better than I have rejected the low pay and chose to do something else with their life. I can't knock them for taking the route most paved with gold, but they can't claim victory for being better skilled at my job. They aren't doing it each day.

Some say, "Those who can: do. Those who can't: teach." Obviously, several teaching jobs would pay better than this field because many retire from the daily grind to teaching jobs. Luckily, I'm at a flagship newspaper, so I get fair pay (compared to the industry – which is horrible).

This explains why the DMN has so many shooters with 10+ years of experience. Once a PJ has suffered through this many years and won a number of awards, they're hooked for life. I've seen a PJ follow his wife to a new market in a different state. I've also seen one quit to make more money as a wedding/commercial photographer. The rest are all here trying to make the best possible images they can each day.

Me, I don't plan to quit. If Fayrouz gets a SUPER high paying job in another city, I'll need to rethink my plans, but I'm actually happy with my job and where I am.

Enough for now,

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