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Author Topic: Are we going into another depression?  (Read 33619 times)
Snook
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« on: September 16, 2008, 08:32:01 AM »
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Just wondering after all this medium format talk and prices how many are being affected by the "new" depression that is coming...
If the economy keeps dropping I am wondering how many people are going to be buying so many new toys this year....
I for one have already been affected by the on sight of economic depression.
About Half of my clients have decided NOT to do catalogues and advertising budgets have been raped down to nothing....
Of my other 50% Client base, they have decided to cut their productions in Half!!
I am starting to hear from many other talent in the business calling around to see if anybody is working like before.
This may not be for this forum but after reading through the post of new equipment and prices etc...
I was really wondering how much investment will be going into these new tools if we will be going through an economic crisis.
Is anybody else out there starting to feel the affects yet.
Sorry Michael if this is not for this forum but in some way it does have to do with medium format photography.
Atleast for US who Live by our trade!!!

What do you guys think and what is the plan for the future???
Thanks
Snook
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 08:55:52 AM by Snook » Logged
revaaron
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2008, 08:51:40 AM »
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every couple days I got to the local pawn shop and ask "did anyone need meth more than a camera?"
Crew, I admit.  But I have a decent day job that isn't strictly photo related and I have a contract radio engineer job on top of that that isn't going anywhere.  If I were laid off, I could survive for about 2 years.
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revaaron
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2008, 09:08:20 AM »
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with that said, I would like to add that my actual sales are down a lot.  a few magazines/newspapers cut most of their live photos. They have been all using the same photo so you flip through 10 magazines and see the same exact poses. lame. I would say that I "lost" 3 steady magazines/newspapers and gained only 1 new one.

I've been buying my equipment and reporting a loss for the past 3 years so this year (under US tax law), I was suppose to break even.  I guess I have to swallow the high cost of my gas. Since I have a fat day job, I can do this.  If I didn't have a fat day job, I would be screwed.

One thing about economies like this.  the people in the best positions will win out cause they have the capital to invest in a down market.  They can upgrade technology at a song and then when the economy comes back they are set.  If I were a big player in europe, I would have bought gear from the US already and saved 33%.  Now Europe is feeling the pinch so it's probably too late for that.
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Snook
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2008, 11:37:07 AM »
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Quote
with that said, I would like to add that my actual sales are down a lot.  a few magazines/newspapers cut most of their live photos. They have been all using the same photo so you flip through 10 magazines and see the same exact poses. lame. I would say that I "lost" 3 steady magazines/newspapers and gained only 1 new one.

I've been buying my equipment and reporting a loss for the past 3 years so this year (under US tax law), I was suppose to break even.  I guess I have to swallow the high cost of my gas. Since I have a fat day job, I can do this.  If I didn't have a fat day job, I would be screwed.

One thing about economies like this.  the people in the best positions will win out cause they have the capital to invest in a down market.  They can upgrade technology at a song and then when the economy comes back they are set.  If I were a big player in europe, I would have bought gear from the US already and saved 33%.  Now Europe is feeling the pinch so it's probably too late for that.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221749\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


We are ALL going to be affected...
I was just wondering if anybody else has started to notice it in other markets.. Like US and Europe?

Thanks for the comments
Snook
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James R Russell
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2008, 12:01:27 PM »
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Quote
We are ALL going to be affected...
I was just wondering if anybody else has started to notice it in other markets.. Like US and Europe?

Thanks for the comments
Snook
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221782\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


It all comes in cycles and the news media always reports the end of the world scenario.

We all knew this was coming, after all 1,000 sq. ft. houses shouldn't sell for 2 million dollars anywhere so anyone that loaned on them was eventually going to take a fall.

The only thing to do in these times is to invest, work the best deals you can and keep working.

In fact this is always the best time to invest in your business because most people contract.

I've found that usually when the world looks left, if you just turn your head to the right you will find opportunity.

JR
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 12:02:37 PM by James R Russell » Logged

Lust4Life
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2008, 12:28:08 PM »
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Actually, I think this is an excellent place to consider the economic impact - my hats off to you for bring it up.

I am one of the many who shoot landscape, am not a pro with a paying client base, and lack the sense to not invest in MFD.  

I am also someone who  after he retired in 1994 decided to study the workings of the stock market and the world economy.  Well, I traded full time for 4 years, Day Traded.  I did well, worst year was 123%ROExposure.  I pulled completely out of the market three weeks before the last "pull back" in 2000 - saw it coming and did not want to play it short.

In short, I know enough to be dangerous about the stock market and the economy.

Recently I updated my analysis of the USA economic picture - scared the daylights out of me.  
To review just a few of the highlights, NEVER before have we had:
1.  National Debt level that is beyond repair, and growing with no capacity to control it.
2.  Personal debt levels at record highs.
3.  Mortgage loans outstanding with folks that should never have been given a loan in the first place (but a lot of mortgage brokers made a lot of money writing crap!)
4.  I find the rouge of "FDIC insured" to be a joke.  They had 40 billion sitting behind them - one bank in CA fails and they loose 25% of their reserves.  When we look at the figures we see that 2% of the US banks are in serious risk of failure (that's 2% of 9,000 banks) who in their right mind can think that the FDIC can cover that risk.  Feds will have to print money and that will drive inflation, and possible Hyper Inflation.
5.  A society that has warped into Self Indulgence and Instant Gratification, regardless of the consequences.

I could add substantially to this list, but you should be getting the "picture".

In short, I sold my H2/P45+ about 6 weeks ago.  Why, because one could see what has happened this week coming.

Will I buy back in to the MFD gear with it's high cost of entry and rapid rate of obselence/depreciation - to be decided.  If I do,it will probably be by seeking out dealer demo gear or gear from a pro photographer who needs to pay his bills.

In short, I would encourage all pro photographers to keep their reserves and be demanding that what you part with will actually increase your balance sheet in forms other than debt.  We have not seen the worst of it, and it will get worse IMHO.

PS:  No, I'm not saying it is the "end of the world" as we know it, just a time to be very conservative with our expenditures, be we Pro or obsessed photographers.

PPS:  If you think this past week was financially challenging, wait till the ship hits the sand on Credit Card debt failures!  At least with the mortgage crisis, there is collateral to grab!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2008, 10:03:01 AM by Lust4Life » Logged

Snook
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2008, 01:09:29 PM »
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I was not saying it is the end of the world but I really think we are coming upon tough times and people should be aware and it is interesting times for many.

I would rather be in my shoes than some one at Lehman Bros for example.
I have always liked being independent... that is for sure.
I have been living on photography and productions for many years now.

But...
I have seen a major change starting to come on specially in my market but also from my outside clients... mainly US and some Italian .
They are all starting to lean torwards cut backs and less spending on productions and catalogues.

I also thought it might be good conversation to see how and where we are being affected by the economy.

Like I have mentioned already, with my clients there is no extra pay or working it into my budget to cover expenses like many do. They want the the "Best" "Cheapest" guy for the job. We are not shooting trend setting stuff like the few "Real" shooters and fashion statement making photographers like Mario/Bruce/Steven/ etc....
We are and I am speaking for myself but for many others for sure, always having to try and copy these guys for our clients and art directors layouts but that might be another thread..:+}
In any case I was trying to state that I cannot put 50,000$ cameras and backs that lose their value so quickly with out eating the cost completely on my own.
Which in the current market is not going to happen as it has dropped off a lot.
And for cameras like the 1DsMIII that can be had for 7500.00 Anywhere like James mentioned .

Maybe getting off the topic but I guess it all depends on your market.

I would like to hear the opinions of others as this is a "worldly"
Forum...
Thanks for the comments so far.
Snook
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2008, 01:17:33 PM »
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In short, I would encourage all pro photographers to keep their reserves and be demanding that what you part with will actually increase your balance sheet in forms other than debt.  We have not seen the worst of it, and it will get worse IMHO.
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Agreed. The current situation will only continue its downward spiral. It seems all the big boys are counting on fed bailouts to save their butts from their own bad decisions. My photo business is down, but then it always is at this time of year. In Oct. I have two shows. How I do will tell me if it's time to be a bear and go into hibernation.
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Dustbak
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2008, 02:01:52 PM »
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Several of my magazine clients are feeling their clients are allocating less funds for advertising, advertorials, etc.. This meant I worked less for them this year. So, yes on that end I am noticing a downturn.

OTOH, I have dragged in a boatload of other clients that pay better than magazines. Not to be bragging but I have so much work at this moment I am almost begging for less.

I just keep on taking it because you never know when the well is starting to dry but at this moment I have been on almost 5 days shooting per week for the last 4 months. I have to process everything during the evenings & night otherwise I fall behind too much.

At this moment the dreadfullness has not come over here but it might and probably will. I plan on not to be affected by it too much. We will see if I succeed. I have kept my monthly costs low, done investments only without financing so even if I do get into a difficult period I can sing it out.

Maybe I even get a bit more time to do personal stuff...
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Dansk
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2008, 03:00:03 PM »
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What goes up must come down its just the nature of the beast and this long overdue IMO. It either happens in short less radical cycles or goes like the last run of 10+ years of growth and then a nice big belly flop. Its not to be feared or admired its just something that any relatively sane individual should be prepared for. Life is a lot like a Credit card... Pay now... or pay later... WITH interest of course and we all know how ridiculous credit card interest is. Too many have lived beyond their means and this is the payback. A simple way I like to look at things is an old granny tale;

  Plan for the worst, hope for the best, be happy with what you get.


Now as for my opinion on how to avoid a "disaster"? SPEND some money on things you want and not just what you need. Buy a new car perhaps? ( made where you live is the smart money ) or buy some stuff from some of your clients companies? Or another domestic product from your Countries economy? etc etc.  Its really that simple the savers of the world should be spending now while prices are low and the debt ridden unfortunates are taking a bath until they get back on their feet then the prices climb and the savers start earning more income and then start saving again.

So the cycle goes. Plus not to tangent off... War aint cheap....
« Last Edit: September 16, 2008, 03:01:10 PM by Dansk » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2008, 03:25:01 PM »
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Architectural photography, Southwestern US.......The slump in the housing market is hurting residential architecture magazines-assignments are down and there is some talk of renegotiating fees. In larger commercial architecture photo projects for architects the market is solid for now but because these projects take so long to get out of the ground there is a lag time in terms of an economic slowdown. It will probably be hit that hard next year. In general I would say that the high end big photo projects have been fine, but the smaller bread and butter projects that I fill in the gaps with have largely disappeared. Time to hunker down, reduce overhead and do all those projects on my house that I have been putting off for years.
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Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
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LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
marc gerritsen
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2008, 05:51:26 PM »
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Architectural photography, Southwestern US.......The slump in the housing market is hurting residential architecture magazines-assignments are down and there is some talk of renegotiating fees. In larger commercial architecture photo projects for architects the market is solid for now but because these projects take so long to get out of the ground there is a lag time in terms of an economic slowdown. It will probably be hit that hard next year. In general I would say that the high end big photo projects have been fine, but the smaller bread and butter projects that I fill in the gaps with have largely disappeared. Time to hunker down, reduce overhead and do all those projects on my house that I have been putting off for years.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221830\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

When i was doing architectural shooting in the real estate market in Australia and there was an economic downturn, I actually saw my income going up as people had to be more competative to sell their house and wanted to use better photography to do so. In a economic downturn there are always sectors of the market that can do better, it just depend how you package yourself.

Now working in the far East it seems each year is better then the previous, but also wonder when this is going to last. For now I have so much work that i am eagerly looking out for a holiday.
The Hotel business has been very good as the projects have been on the table for years and are not going to be stopped because wall street lost 5% The amount of smaller clients in my local area is getting smaller but that is maybe because I have steadily put up my prices over the last couple of years and maybe because I am less available because of international work.

I have seen about 3-4 economic downturns in the last 30 years and always survived really well
just because i think I was open to opportunities and flexible enough to jump into them.
I think rigidity in this time is not an attribute that will help.

m*
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2008, 08:03:46 PM »
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My main customers, the RV and Marine business here in the US is in shambles and as a result so is my workload.  Just last year my 10,000 sq. ft. building felt too small, this year it looked like an open aircraft hanger. So as of this week the studio and the massive overhead is gone, replaced by cases of equipmnet and location only shooting.  Maybe a blessing, who knows, but I'm going to keep a much larger percentage of the gross...

Craig v3.0
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Craig Lamson Photo
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2008, 08:32:00 PM »
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The fine art market is suffering in all mediums.
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kaelaria
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2008, 10:22:26 PM »
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Well, luckily the wedding market never slumps.  I'm actually picking back up after a slow summer season.
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bryanyc
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« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2008, 10:46:22 PM »
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Well...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2966049/Da...-first-day.html
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The Hirst auction will mark the end of a rather profligate era of big money art.  

Personally, the only client I had, a bank, and the type of work that I was shooting (buildings, related to mortgage securitization, has completely dried up, gone, nada.

Since I don't really give a flick about commercial photography in general it is ok, I had saved some money and now can be full time in my fine art career.  But I am no longer rolling in the dough, am no longer part of the great money game.  It's not like I haven't done most types of photo work, from being in a lab in grad school, to travel, advertising, architecture, portraiture....

So it goes.  As photographers we learn to keep on truckin and pick up new styles, clients, specialties, careers - what have you-  and let the past slip away.

Make no mistake, this economy is going to change things going forward.  Interesting times may yet appear!
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hs0zfe
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2008, 09:36:21 AM »
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To stay competitive, a lot of flexibility on pricing is needed. Times are really tought! I am adjusting by staying analog and buying old equipment like Mamiya RB 67, Fuji GX 680 and Linhof LF. Without a 2nd job, I would be half starving.
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eronald
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2008, 11:05:07 AM »
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When I read the news I see that every man woman and child in the US is exepcted to contribute $2000 to "saving" the financial institutions. This seems to indicate that the guys doing the "contributing" will be broke, but the guys doing the funelling (where ?) are going to be very rich indeed.

So, those of you with commercial photo practices, eg. ready to wear fashion or real estate photos, yes I guess you'll go broke. After all, the man or woman in the street has to lay out those $2K.

High fashion and portraiture, art reproduction should still tick along. i think that vanity portraits of the trophy wives and penthouse appartments and vacation homes of the guys who "channel"  the "saving of the economy" money should still be a possibility. Yacht photography as well.

This week's Paris papers are  full of elogious articles about American philantropists who are financing museums, the Opera and the "arts" in general. No money problems there. It's pretty obvious that as far as these guys are concerned Wall Street has delivered exactly as it was supposed to.

Edmund
« Last Edit: September 21, 2008, 11:11:29 AM by eronald » Logged
BFoto
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2008, 12:10:33 PM »
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Short answer - YES

Long answer - http://www.shadowstats.com/article/292
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H1/A75 Guy
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2008, 12:23:39 PM »
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When I read the news I see that every man woman and child in the US is exepcted to contribute $2000 to "saving" the financial institutions. This seems to indicate that the guys doing the "contributing" will be broke, but the guys doing the funelling (where ?) are going to be very rich indeed.

So, those of you with commercial photo practices, eg. ready to wear fashion or real estate photos, yes I guess you'll go broke. After all, the man or woman in the street has to lay out those $2K.

High fashion and portraiture, art reproduction should still tick along. i think that vanity portraits of the trophy wives and penthouse appartments and vacation homes of the guys who "channel" the "saving of the economy" money should still be a possibility. Yacht photography as well.

This week's Paris papers are full of elogious articles about American philantropists who are financing museums, the Opera and the "arts" in general. No money problems there. It's pretty obvious that as far as these guys are concerned Wall Street has delivered exactly as it was supposed to.

Not to worry. The USA is a democracy until our financial institutions collapse. Then we turn socialist. Ironically, Bin Laden may have stated it correctly after 9-11, when he said, "I do not need a military victory in the USA. I only need to wait for its economic collapse." The morally corrupt Republican Party has delivered on that prophecy with Iraq and now our financial institutions. Your $2K figure is a little light. Try upwards of $3,200 per man, woman, and child.

On a happier note, I've still squirreled away the cash needed for an AFi II. If my bank doesn't go under before I get there.

David
« Last Edit: September 21, 2008, 12:30:58 PM by H1/A75 Guy » Logged
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