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Author Topic: The making of Ghana  (Read 7214 times)
luong
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« on: October 01, 2007, 04:46:24 PM »
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Am I the only one who finds the economic details about the making of Ghana sobering ? The author is a photographer with a vast experience in all aspects of publishing, yet even if the first printing of 3000 copies - a respectable number for a photography book - sells out, the enterprise as a whole would still be money-losing.
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Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 06:02:41 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the economic details about the making of Ghana sobering ? The author is a photographer with a vast experience in all aspects of publishing, yet even if the first printing of 3000 copies - a respectable number for a photography book - sells out, the enterprise as a whole would still be money-losing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143241\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Luong

Never mind a book - just look at the economics of trying to float a bespoke company calendar, something which was my bread, butter and occasional caviar for several years.

Rob C
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 01:32:39 PM by Rob C » Logged

MarkKay
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 10:45:54 AM »
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I think this was quite interesting.  About 35-40 years ago, while I was a Shortwave raido fanatic, I used to listen to Radio Ghana. Part of our hobby was to get QSL verification cards from each station. So I wrote my usual information.  Someone in the post office start writing to me and offered to be my penpal. We wrote back and forth for a couple of years and he started writing me back promising to send me some small goods from his country.  I never got anything  but then he started requesting that I send him funds for various things. I was 12 or so and not in position to send him funds. Years later I always wondered if he had selected me out to try to get money from me or if he was a sincere person whose requests came later.  Once and awhile I do wonder what happened to him as well.


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Am I the only one who finds the economic details about the making of Ghana sobering ? The author is a photographer with a vast experience in all aspects of publishing, yet even if the first printing of 3000 copies - a respectable number for a photography book - sells out, the enterprise as a whole would still be money-losing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143241\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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framah
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 04:27:04 PM »
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I think he moved to Nigeria.
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"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2007, 11:35:42 AM »
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I re-read the article on the Ghana project and the economics. Frankly, I fail to understand why such projects are undertaken, never mind contemplated.

What with Superstar concerts, political agitators of one colour or another, it seems to me that Africa and other third world lands end up as little more than playgrounds in which the superegos, of those with the mobility to do so, go and play out their fantasies of latter day saviours.

Why do people not accept that all real change, should it actually be desired, has to come from within?

There is no purpose served by trying to export a set of ideas/ideals in an effort to impose them on another land where they are so obviously foreign; why is the common lesson of the Spanish, English, French, Belgian, Portuguese etc. etc. empire not more clearly understood? Those people to whom some presume to bring ´enlightenment´ only want to be left alone to run their lives under their own banner. Corruption is rampant, of course it is, but roll up the edges of the carpets of our own Western countries and what do you think you´re going to find? More of the same, only far more sophisticated and deadly.

There is an arrogance in all of this, diguised as caring, which makes me sick to my stomach.

Sorry if this offends anyone, it is simply personal opinion, but I have lived in one of those countries so often targetted, and I know a little of what I speak.

Rob C
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James R
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2007, 01:18:39 AM »
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Am I the only one who finds the economic details about the making of Ghana sobering ? The author is a photographer with a vast experience in all aspects of publishing, yet even if the first printing of 3000 copies - a respectable number for a photography book - sells out, the enterprise as a whole would still be money-losing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143241\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I would assume there are other considerations, such as tax advantages.  Who knows how much is being written off; or maybe this project is being tied into more successful ventures and funds are being drained from them into this losing project.

Remember the movie "Coming to America?"  It cost a few million to make, had gross receipts of over 250 million.  The writer got nothing for his share in the profits.  He sued the studio and everybody connected to the film.  When the accountants and lawyers got done, they proved to a jury that the film lost money. Go figure.  You wonder how the movie industry stays in business.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 01:20:23 AM by James R » Logged
jjj
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2007, 07:12:48 AM »
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Remember the movie "Coming to America?"  It cost a few million to make, had gross receipts of over 250 million.  The writer got nothing for his share in the profits.  He sued the studio and everybody connected to the film.  When the accountants and lawyers got done, they proved to a jury that the film lost money. Go figure.  You wonder how the movie industry stays in business.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143750\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
But that's exactly how it stays in business!
Forest Gump also made 'no money' I believe [and the writer got screwed on that one too], as have many other very succesful films, just so as not to pay out to anyone who had points. Points mean you get paid a % of the profit according to how many points you have. The writer will be lucky to be given any at all, as the writer is very, very low on the greasy pole of film making. Which is kind of odd, as in reality they are the most important person, if any one person is most important in a collaborative process like film making.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2007, 02:16:36 PM »
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The writer will be lucky to be given any at all, as the writer is very, very low on the greasy pole of film making. Which is kind of odd, as in reality they are the most important person, if any one person is most important in a collaborative process like film making.

That explains a lot!  I am constantly amazed by the stupidity of most movie scripts compared with the effort poured into every other aspect of the movies (special effects, actors, sets, costumes, directing, etc.).  I couldn't agree with you more.

Lisa
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Petrjay
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2007, 02:28:08 PM »
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It's not exactly a secret that film studios have been cooking the books for decades in order to make their products appear unprofitable. Unless one has the clout to demand a percentage of the gross receipts, it's probably best to take a lump sum and be satisfied with it. Studios have been playing this game for a long time, and they're very good at it.

What Lisa said about scripts is true, but it isn't even necessary to look that deeply.  A great source of amusement for my wife and myself is to flip through the the cable TV guide and check out the story lines for what's being offered. If vampires and hit men were as numerous on the street as they are on the screen, I wouldn't go to the laundromat without a bushel of garlic and a squad of armed guards. Of course the guards themselves might prove to be zombies or satanic cultists, but at least the clairvoyant talking dogs in the area would have a chance to voice an alarm.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2007, 03:34:04 AM »
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It's not exactly a secret that film studios have been cooking the books for decades in order to make their products appear unprofitable. Unless one has the clout to demand a percentage of the gross receipts, it's probably best to take a lump sum and be satisfied with it. Studios have been playing this game for a long time, and they're very good at it.

What Lisa said about scripts is true, but it isn't even necessary to look that deeply.  A great source of amusement for my wife and myself is to flip through the the cable TV guide and check out the story lines for what's being offered. If vampires and hit men were as numerous on the street as they are on the screen, I wouldn't go to the laundromat without a bushel of garlic and a squad of armed guards. Of course the guards themselves might prove to be zombies or satanic cultists, but at least the clairvoyant talking dogs in the area would have a chance to voice an alarm.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=144080\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I had a clairvoyant talking dog once: sadly, I had to take him to the vet and have him destroyed because his accent was so regional.

Rob C
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Petrjay
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2007, 09:52:27 AM »
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Rob, I never had you pegged as an elitist. Of course if the dog had been on top of his game, he would have seen it coming and made his escape. My own talking dog was scheduled to appear on the David Letterman Show, but I was forced to cancel when I discovered that my cat was a ventriloquist.

Some might think that this thread is past the point of absurdity, but I'd wager that those people do not work in the television or film industries.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2007, 10:24:29 AM »
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Rob, I never had you pegged as an elitist. Of course if the dog had been on top of his game, he would have seen it coming and made his escape. My own talking dog was scheduled to appear on the David Letterman Show, but I was forced to cancel when I discovered that my cat was a ventriloquist.

Some might think that this thread is past the point of absurdity, but I'd wager that those people do not work in the television or film industries.
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Or even in commercial stills photography!

Rob C
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2007, 11:08:02 PM »
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I read and enjoyed the article.  To me it was obvious this project wasn't driven by economics, but by passion.

I certainly hope the economics work out, because such passion to me is an admirable trait.
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2007, 09:32:12 AM »
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I re-read the article on the Ghana project and the economics. Frankly, I fail to understand why such projects are undertaken, never mind contemplated.

I could go into the economics of my own photography, which I'm sure are much worse looking than that of the Ghana book. Sometimes I think it's important to take on projects that are important to you -- even if done at a loss -- for the sake of creating art. The fact of the matter is that I greatly admire artists who put their art first and worry about the profit later (if at all).
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Neutral Hills Stills
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Rob C
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2007, 10:02:46 AM »
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I could go into the economics of my own photography, which I'm sure are much worse looking than that of the Ghana book. Sometimes I think it's important to take on projects that are important to you -- even if done at a loss -- for the sake of creating art. The fact of the matter is that I greatly admire artists who put their art first and worry about the profit later (if at all).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=144613\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, it´s a great philosophy if you have alternative means of support; for the rest of us who might fall into the professional category, it becomes an ego-trip which can only happen on the back of something else.

Of course, photography does also attract a certain number of those more able to navigate the intricacies of the social service registers, but that´s a wholly different, and rather distasteful platform for debate!

Rob C
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Digiteyesed
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« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2007, 11:42:13 PM »
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Yes, it´s a great philosophy if you have alternative means of support; for the rest of us who might fall into the professional category, it becomes an ego-trip which can only happen on the back of something else.

I fix people's computer's for a living. Cleaning up after Bill Gates is much more pleasant than putting up with bitchy brides and art directors.
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Neutral Hills Stills
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Rob C
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2007, 02:59:05 AM »
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I fix people's computer's for a living. Cleaning up after Bill Gates is much more pleasant than putting up with bitchy brides and art directors.
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You have a point!

Rob C
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John Camp
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2007, 03:31:47 AM »
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The Ghana project will operate as a loss leader for the guys involved. You don't make reputations by sitting on your ass. So these guys get 3,000 copies of a book out, and perhaps potential clients or employers or grant-givers are impressed by the work and the passion and the commitment. As a book, maybe it doesn't work financially on its own, but as a "portfolio" -- and portfolios aren't free, either -- it might be quite an attractive proposition. If nothing else, the return makes the trip cheaper... 8-)

JC
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 03:38:12 AM by John Camp » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 06:36:59 AM »
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The Ghana project will operate as a loss leader for the guys involved. You don't make reputations by sitting on your ass. So these guys get 3,000 copies of a book out, and perhaps potential clients or employers or grant-givers are impressed by the work and the passion and the commitment. As a book, maybe it doesn't work financially on its own, but as a "portfolio" -- and portfolios aren't free, either -- it might be quite an attractive proposition. If nothing else, the return makes the trip cheaper... 8-)

JC
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John

I have developed a strong sense of distrust regarding loss leaders; it becomes so darn easy to just keep on churning them out instead of concentrating the mind on more productive (read profitable) projects!

Portfolios are a funny thing: when I was starting out, one seemed very important and very hard to achieve because I was, in fact, starting out. Then, when I developed a reputation in my own little world I had no need for one, nor had I the time to take it for walks. I never had an agent.

Now, when the career is mostly a memory, the portfolio becomes of interest again from another point of view, which is that it feels nice to get, into one collection, what I think´s the best of whatever I did with my life - my personal retrospective, if you will! Also, it keeps the photographic interest alive in this digital age.

Hmmm...

Ciao - Rob C
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Raoul
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« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2007, 01:55:49 AM »
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I fail to understand why such projects are undertaken

Maybe because some people are not 'professionals' and do not consider photography or life in general as a money making machine. Spending time in foreign places is an experience, a lifetime experience. The people who produced the book have been there and done that. This is what matters, not a few thousand dollars more or less for a book.

There are probably quite a few more efficient ways to earn money than beiing a photographer. Yet some people choose this activity as a job...
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