I know it’s not dance, but this is what I’ve been doing all day and it’s a wonderful illustration of room. Room to breathe, room to move, room to whiz over rocks and gravel, gnarly trunks and bright green grass. No room to avoid what I’m assured is a red-rather-than-pink downhill rush of terror, or to imagine that I’ll have a chance of finishing a mad mountain bike ride between Madrid and Lisbon (15 days, 1,200+ off-road km and a combined ascent of 28,000m), but bright sun and clean air and wonderful company, patiently coaching me through the technical basics of mountain biking so I have a tiny chance of adequately acquitting myself on my forthcoming charity challenge. These are the Guided Rides guys and you should go.
But don’t worry. I’ll do a dance interpretation of the word Room for Eleanor (who suggested this #WordyMonday word) next week. Meanwhile you can see some of my other images from the day at ceimages.co.uk on facebook and at moblog.
WordyMonday is a challenge. A word is suggested and I interpret that word with a dance image.
Anyone can join by suggesting a word (as a comment to this blog, to @CE_Images on Twitter or at Carole Edrich Photography on facebook) and anyone can take up the challenge by finding an image that reflects their personal interpretation of the word suggested for that week. If you do, please share what you’ve done by posting a link on this blog and use the #WordyMonday tag.
Two days ago I took this photo thinking it might be worth submitting it to one of the nationals as a potential Picture Of The Day but then decided it wasn’t good enough. Yesterday Alamy featured it on their app. It was a thrilling surprise. I’ve not been submitting many images to the photo libraries because I decided it isn’t really a cost effective activity (I had believed one needed thousands of images in such libraries to make anything that approximates a living).
You can see some of my other images from the shoot here.
Again, I’m on deadline with far too much to do to think of intelligent words to go with this image so I’ll just say that this followed my previous experience of Tony Adigun’s work, fast movements and very challenging lighting. I do so love my job..
This continues a reprise of shots I liked but wasn’t able to use last year and there’s not much writing because I’m on deadline.
by Carole Edrich
Today’s WordyMonday theme, Elephant, was suggested by Ms Hedgehog . I’ve decided to show it through the phrase ‘the elephant in the room’. On researching the story behind Cathy Marston’s choreography I discovered that the attractive Anna Goeldi arrived in the Swiss village of Glarus to work for the local mayor as a maid and became victim of a witch hunt at the time of Europe’s Age
of Enlightenment (well after the Middle Ages). The events around it, which include torture, seem to have been an easy way to remove an inconvenient truth. Research by local journalist Walter Hauser suggests that she threatened to tell others about an affair she had with the local mayor after he threatened to sack her. Hauser says; “Anna Goeldi was a threat to powerful people. They wanted her out of the way, accusing her of being a witch. It was a legal way to kill her.”
Even though an official apology has been issued and there’s a museum named after her, I discovered that some of the locals still don’t believe a formal exoneration would be of benefit. Indeed, on a Radio 4 programme I heard one young villager saying that she believed it would serve no purpose. That’s why I chose these images to represent the ‘elephant in the room’.
by Carole Edrich
WordyMonday is a word game that anyone can join. Someone suggests a word (you can see the current list here) and I try to interpret that word with a dance image. If you’d like to suggest a word
please do, as a comment to this blog, to @CE_Images on Twitter or at Carole Edrich Photography on facebook. Anyone interested can take up the challenge by finding an image that reflects their interpretation of the word suggested for that week. If you do, please share what you’ve done by posting a link on this blog and use the #WordyMonday tag.
Yesterday, after a short set of set-up shots I was able to stay and photograph the entire dress rehearsal of Cathy Marston’s Witch Hunt. Her last choreography for Bern Ballet, this contemporary dance draws on the story of Anna Goeldi, the ‘last witch of Europe’ who was tried, tortured and killed in Glarus, Switzerland in 1782, a time when witch trials had disappeared from most of Europe. The story is well known in Switzerland where there is a museum and an annual Women’s Rights prize in Goeldi’s name.
The set, principally comprised of a large moveable frame which is moved around by the dancers to represent a street, the inside of an institution, a cage, a home and more, is wonderfully stark while the dancers, all in white with white faces add an ethereal other-worldly quality. Their movements and expressions transmit a gamut of emotions, from fraught tenseness to mutual abandon, all the while displaying Cathy Marston’s precise, expressive and technically rigorous choreographic fusion of ballet, contemporary dance and acting (by Mona Kloos).
Although I expect to provide images from it for the Dance Today gallery, the principal reason I went was to get an image of this work to go in a book I’m working on. I didn’t expect to be able to stay for the whole thing and was thrilled to be able to do so. The production is only on at the ROH until May 25th, so you’ve not got much time to see it. I don’t recognise the production shots shown on the ROH site, but after seeing it through the lens myself recommend that you go.
by and (c) Carole Edrich
Today’s #WordyMonday word, Penguin, was suggested by Ms Hedgehog. I thought about interpreting it a little more creatively but in the end decided not to, since Jayne Torvill was even wearing black and white.
Highly social, Penguins move quite awkwardly on land and often travel by tobogganing over the ice, face-forward to their nesting sites.That’s why I chose this second image above.
WordyMonday is a word game that anyone can join. Someone suggests a word (you can see the current list here) and I try to interpret that word with a dance image. If you’d like to suggest a word (as a comment to this blog, to @CE_Images on Twitter or at Carole Edrich Photography on facebook) and anyone can take up the challenge by finding an image that reflects your interpretation of the word suggested for that week. If you do, please share what you’ve done by posting a link on this blog and use the #WordyMonday tag.
In writing this post I discovered that it’s difficult to write about my personal ethics without sounding as if my thoughts are all over the place or as if I’ve disappeared up my own backside. It shouldn’t have surprised me, I feel so strongly about personal ethics that I’ve built my life around them and have, instead of talking about them let the way I live do the talking for me. See what I mean – I sound alarmingly pretentious already!
How do you reflect and respect my desire for personal privacy with your photos?
I try not to intrude on those who, for personal reasons, may not want their photos taken. If I am obliged to do so I do my best to shoot images that reflect my respect the person, their situation and their environment and ideally images that in some way empower them.
If shooting dance classes I will always ask the teacher’s permission to take photographs. I will always suggest we ask the whole class if they mind being photographed, just in case there are individuals who do not want their photos published or even taken. However, whether this happens or not is the teachers’ choice and not mine.
I find it easier not to take any photos with these people in rather than try to weed out chance images afterwards. That said, if I’m covering a class and need a class-wide shot and am therefore forced to include them to fulfill my commission I take care to ensure their faces aren’t seen.
Are there exceptions?
If a dance class, performance or other event is in public or on the street or if the popular press have been invited to shoot the event I assume that the organiser has already sorted everything out.
If I’m shooting in a press photo call or similar I assume that everyone concerned has already given their consent to have their photos taken, sold and published.
Some street photography.
Why some street photography?
This is a very difficult call. I used to shoot people, then show them my image and ask if it was OK for me to keep it. If they said no, I used to delete the image in front of them. After a lot of soul searching I’ve changed this and only share the image with someone I shoot on the street if I’m particularly enthusiastic about it or if I’d like to take more photos of them. I’ve changed my behaviour because, if the more extreme personal rights protection was ever enshrined in law I’d lose the opportunity to do most of my documentary dance photography work and would therefore be unable to use it to earn a living. If the (in my opinion unstructured, fairly random, untrained or ignorant) demands of security and police to avoid taking certain photographs was enforced, this would impinge on the freedom of the press. I feel duty bound to resist both of these restrictions and, even though it has lead to a couple of interesting interactions with police and security (but never with the general public they claim to be protecting) have changed my habits as a result.
What about conflicts of interest or where you’re making money from other peoples’ suffering?
I specialise in dance, high motion and low light images, social events, extreme and endurance sport and related travel so – so far – the latter doesn’t apply. I do my best to help where I can, to be honest in my dealings and in the way I describe situations and to identify, forsee and manage in advance any potential conflicts of interest that may arise.
I don’t like some of the images you’ve produced and want you to take them down.
If you have already given me permission to take the shots I don’t feel obliged to take them down. If you’ve commissioned me in advance I might have had to ask your permission to post them in the first place.
In reality, if I have posted something that makes you uncomfortable and you tell me quickly I’ll probably change it out. It’s not to my advantage to make you feel bad, especially because I’m looking for long term relationships with people who are happy that I shoot them rehearsing, performing and interacting wherever they are over the coming years.
If, as has happened, you change your mind about an image that you had told me you liked, or that you or other people have already commented on I will not be happy to change or delete it and might well, on consideration, decide not to take down the photo at all. Life goes on. We can’t – and shouldn’t – rewrite history – and I am profoundly uncomfortable about deleting images and words that have already been posted. They’re already shared history. When other people have also commented, I feel it’s disrespectful and dishonest to delete the history and thought that their comments represent.
If you have commissioned me on a fixed price or per-diem rate, and our agreement is that you own these images in whole or part, you can indicate which (if any) images I can use in my blogs because you have already paid for them. In this case we will have already agreed a way of working together that keeps you happy, maintains my integrity and gives both of us the comfort and confidence we need.
You go on about being paid for your images, but do you pay the performers you shoot?
You can bet your bottom dollar that if I’m asking a performer to do something just for me we’ll have agreed a way forward before a single shot is taken.
by and (c) Carole Edrich
This follows on from my post Cop-Outs, Contracts and Commissions Part One . It consolidates some of the discussions I’ve had in the past and suggests when and how it’s appropriate for you to ask for free images.
I’ve given you access, why won’t you give me the free images I want in return?
For the same reason you’d not get them from another professional journalist or photographer. You’ve got me there because you or someone associated with you want the publicity, because you’d like to see details of the event published, broadcast or otherwise disseminated. I’ve given up my time because I see an opportunity to get a photo feature or other article published and to do more than this would damage my business.
But I gave you access to take photographs!
I’m a professional, did you pay me to take photos? Did you set up another way for me to earn money commensurate with my skills and the time I spent on them? If you did we’d not be having this conversation!
Do this for free and I’ll put work your way/pay you next time
That doesn’t pay the bills.
If I had a penny for every time someone had said this to me I’d be able to retire!
But I only want one image, why is it so expensive?
The first image is always the most expensive to produce. If you read my post on What’s Involved you’ll have a rough idea of what’s involved. If I’m giving you a choice, a ‘best of 10 shots’ for example, I have to select the ten shots from which you make that choice which also takes time. There is no way on Earth that I’m going to show you all my unprocessed shots (the reasons I won’t would make a whole other post). If I’m doing the work speculatively I’ll select and process all those images I think might work (which – you’ve got it – takes time). If I’ve been commissioned by an editor I’ll process a sufficient selection that the editor will be able to tell the story through the images or add depth or another perspective by including my images.
In summary, the fact that you only choose one image has little bearing on the work I’ve done and no bearing on the level of skill, something that has been built up over years and requires regular considered practice to keep.
Give me your images and I’ll give you exposure
Exposure doesn’t pay the bills.
I’m a specialist dance photographer and journalist with a combined online following that has generated over 895,000 unique visits since mid 2008. The people who follow me on facebook love photography and dance and my images are viewed thousands of times so while there are exceptions – even in social dance – most of the time it will be me getting you the exposure, not the other way around.
If you think you have a really good way of getting me exposure by all means suggest it but don’t insult me or my work. Be realistic. Remember that I’m a professional photographer who earns a living through photography. That means I need the kind of exposure that will one way or another help me make my photography pay my bills.
But you can make money from the people you’re shooting/other people there
If you really believe that you can set it up, sell the images and pay me a fixed fee commensurate with my skills, experience and the time it’s going to take me to take and process them. You can even keep the difference.
I can’t afford to pay for an image I particularly like. I’m not a company or a commercial organisation, just a dancer trying to make ends meet. Will you give it to me?
Possibly. Make me an offer that reflects the value of what I’ve produced (you’ve started well, read all of this post, What’s Involved and Help Me Get You Coverage and you’ll probably get some ideas). Consider the value of the photograph itself. You’ve come here and are reading this because you like my image and know that I’m one of the best. I’m not a hobbyist whose shots sometimes turn out OK, but a professional who has chosen dance photography as a career. Bear this in mind, think of the time it has taken me to get here, the time it takes to set up a shoot and create an image, the time needed to select and process a batch of images, the cost and duration of travel, the cost of equipment and its maintenance. Then think of any opportunity cost involved.
But I gave you the idea!
Thank you! Maybe you did and if you did I appreciate it. However there are far more ideas than space to print them, time to get them together or interested eyes to see them. It’s not ideas that count but the ability to get the ideas into the mainstream and specialist media and then carry the project through that gets the commission. If it worked any other way you’d probably be doing the project yourself.
by and (c) Carole Edrich
Maybe everyone who asks me for a free image thinks that I can provide it because it’s just a one-off. Many don’t seem to realise that a series of one-off freebies would result in escalating opportunity costs and then an inability to pay the bills. Maybe they really don’t understand about how a specialist photographer earns a living or maybe they’ve just not bothered to think. I don’t know and it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that instead of losing time in email discussions with people who expect free work in the future I’ll be able to point them to this weeks posts.
How I pay the bills:
I earn a living through photography and photojournalism with one or a combination of the following;
· as a photojournalist or documentary photographer,
· by formal contract or editorial commission,
· as a commissioned artist,
· as a commercial photographer (such as for PR and advertising),
· through penalty fines from those who steal my work,
· per photo or number of images after the event (personal stock),
· through stock photography.
I’ve ordered these by the proportion of income I gained from them over the last three months. It’s ironic, but I now make more money from people who have stolen my work than I do through agency stock photography and my own stock photography combined.
What are formal contracts and direct commissions?
These occur when a client expressly asks for something in advance. They can be for anything from news or conference photography to family portraiture and range from brand imagining, corporate or academic brochures, images to support a particular article and actors’ portfolio shots. They might be editorial commissions agreed in advance of an event or a result of a pitch with or without some of my speculative work. They can cover random images, fine art, documentary photography, research or ad-hoc projects.
Most of my editorial commissions come in advance because the editor knows me already, because I’ve been recommended by someone they trust or as a result of my pitching an idea.
A contract to produce a piece of work, usually involving images and accompanying words, from an editor. This might be for print, news or the internet or might accompany, document or support a TV program or film.
How I value my work
My charging represents the value of the work I do and the length of time it takes. Find more about it on the post What’s Involved.
If the client chooses to own all of the images they’ll most likely be paying a fixed price or day rate. If the client has agreed to buy a minimum number of images from several shoot(s) or event(s) they’ll most likely be paying a deposit and sliding costs per image. Any requirement may change the value of what I’m producing and what I can charge, and the extent to which the client wants exclusivity and use to which the image(s) will be put are always considered.
Tell me about speculative exercises, stock building and the value of practice!
Sometimes it’s necessary to take the photos before getting the commission, especially when I’m looking to convince a new editor that my work is worth taking on board. In such a case I might set up a shoot or go to an event expecting to make good later.
There are no guarantees with this kind of work, so it’s important to be careful about what to choose.
As a dance photographer it’s vital that I have up to date images for as many different dance types as possible, so that when an editor asks if I have images of that dance I can deliver immediately. Although I contribute some news images to the photographic agencies I tend to concentrate on building my own image library. Dance photography is so specialised that contributing volumes of work to such agencies just doesn’t pay and building my own stock library is a long term investment.
It’s also vital that I keep my skills honed. To get good quality low-light, high-motion images of any kind it’s vital to make sure that I have a practiced eye and fingers that move without conscious thought. That doesn’t mean I need to process the images I’ve shot. Doing that on the off chance that someone might possibly buy one image carries a considerable opportunity cost.
In such a case I might set up a shoot or go to an event expecting to make good later. There are no guarantees with this kind of work, so it’s important to be careful about what to choose.
Are there any exceptions?
Of course there exceptions to everything. I’ve met some fantastic performers who just can’t afford to pay and when I’m able to do so I’m happy to discuss alternatives. I’m also more likely to make an effort for someone who has consistently supported me over a long period of time than I am for a stranger. However, I’m a professional photographer and need this work to pay my bills. Also, agreeing totally different sets of rules every time I shoot an image or find myself with a different opportunity isn’t a sustainable or business-like thing to do.
If we’ve agreed nothing in advance or if the exceptions aren’t clearly specified, the whole agreement defaults to what I’ve written above.
In exceptions, the price might go down but it might also go up. Examples include;
·Value added production photography
·Photography for advertising
·Fixed price agreements
·Really good PR
·Charities, non-profits and similar organisations I already believe in and want to support
·Performers with whom I want to establish a mutually beneficial long term relationship
I have a limit on all the above. Sometimes it takes so long to calculate a safe estimate for a fixed price contract that I might decided not to try. I also know I can afford to charge less or explore other alternatives for a small percentage of my work, so whether I’m willing to talk or not also depends on what else is going on and if I’m doing other work for which I’m not getting the income I need.
This series started with Help me get you coverage and What’s Involved?
One More Thing
If you’re a dancer who wants free images
by and (c) Carole Edrich