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Author Topic: How do you earn a living?  (Read 6595 times)
Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2013, 05:59:52 PM »
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Funny how what goes around, comes around.

I made my first decent money while still a student (of economics), in the '80s, working as a freelance photographer for Do-It-Yorself and Home-And-Garden type of magazines. I also had a cover or two at the time, plus a regular column on photographing flowers and macro photography.

Then my finance career took over and I made some pretty decent money working as an expat for Fortune 200 companies in Eastern Europe. Photography remained a hobby. The two kind of intersected briefly when I was the finance manager for Eastman Kodak in Russia in the late '90s. I then moved to Barcelona, Spain, obtained my MBA from Chicago Booth, and ultimately moved to the States in 2004, managing an IT consultancy start-up. Since then I've had a magazine cover (paid) and a several national and international competition awards, as well as several pages  published in photographic magazines (unpaid though).

My finance career apparently irrecoverably ended with the Great Recession, as all my efforts to return to the corporate world turned out to be just an exercise in frustration. In the meantime, I've taught business classes occasionally at a college level (as well as while in Spain).

Back to "what goes around, comes around:" I am now contemplating going back to photography; workshops (encouraged by the interest expressed by some forum members), art fairs, e-books perhaps... Scary, but will see.


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PeterAit
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« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2013, 06:13:43 PM »
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I am ex-faculty at Duke University Medical Center and am currently partner with my wife in a small pharmaceutical consulting company. Yep, when you buy your next prescription you may be helping me pay for paper and ink!
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Peter
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HSakols
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« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2013, 09:19:23 PM »
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Slobodan,
You're obviously a talented photographer.  At least you have some business sense which many of us lack. What was it like working for Kodak in Russia? My wife is Latvian and does not like my idea of taking the Siberian Express to Kamchacta (sp?). 
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2013, 10:57:08 PM »
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... What was it like working for Kodak in Russia?...

I said that my hobby and my career "kind of" intersected while at Kodak. The thing is, I think i was the only photographer among the people I met there (which includes some senior managers from Rochester, not just local employees). Sure Kodak had its research team, chemists, color scientists, etc., but the majority of the organization was predominantly sales and marketing, for better or worse. Never got the impression that they understood photography and photographers, or that they cared. I told my general manager, an American pretty close to the top guys in Rochester, that in my opinion film will be dead in about five years (the year was 1999), he just laughed me off. Coincidentally, I shot my last film in 2004. I was always thinking that, had they had a better feel for photography and photographers, they would have seen what I saw: how powerful the digital revolution is. The irony is, Kodak was one of the digital pioneers at the same time.

As for Kamchatka, that could be fun, although I also understand your wife's concerns. The infrastructure is certainly not as comfortable and organized as in US national parks.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 12:39:53 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

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RobbieV
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« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2013, 12:18:37 PM »
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Great thread and highlights the reasons I'm at this forum and have left almost all of the other photo forums on the web.

Graduated from College with an honours in advertising and communications media. Went to university and graduated with honours in Communications: Media, Culture and Society. Would like to go back and continue with my masters in Digital Humanities, but that will have to wait for now I guess.

During school, I worked for a certain Scandinavian furniture company. As I progressed through school, avenues opened and I began to assist in Press Relations, Marketing and Graphic Design. I eventually became the Graphic Specialist at the store level, and am now on a contract at the national level for communication. Hopefully I can make something of myself.

I got into photography about 3 years ago. Possibly a little longer. Since then I've been an avid researcher of the hobby, interested in the technical and creative side. I find my work often feeds into my hobby now, and vice versa.

It feels great to be a part of this little forum. The density of knowledge and direct and constructive environment created on here, as well as all of MR's writings have become the biggest influence on the direction and personal philosophies I have and hold with photography.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #45 on: March 05, 2013, 05:32:52 AM »
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Another fascinating insight Robbie.

Tony Jay
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Petrus
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« Reply #46 on: March 05, 2013, 07:07:46 AM »
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Started to study engineering after the army, but slipped into photography and then art school for a while. That is, until I landed a job in a major newspaper in -78. Freelance (magazines mostly) until -85, then staff photographer in a major (the only one in Scandinavia actually) news magazine. Working 70% part time now, 5 years to go...  Mostly reportage, location portraits, some news. Some studio portraits also, but no food or fashion, we have 17 guys and girls who are better than me in that. Having an IT consultant wife helps with the travel hobby, but fortunately the main photography kit (Nikon) is provided by the publishing company, I just need to buy the Fuji X-series to play with...

Another hobby is recording classical (student) concerts, I have a good kit for that also (Prism, Sennheiser, DPA, Gefell, Soundfield, Sound Devices etc.), our family production company (= me ) has also produced one Organ CD and two TV travel documentaries. Losing money on that side, but at least some gear can deducted in taxes.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2013, 07:17:37 PM »
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I have seen an extraordinary run of good luck. 

In the middle 70s, I replied to a want ad in the newspaper.  Unaccountably, it said "Young, dedicated man wanted to learn the film business". I'm not making this up.  Against pretty stiff competition, I got the gig on the basis of a few still prints from my home darkroom and my neat printing on my application letter.  "Your printing says that you're methodical", I remember him saying. "Above all, for this job I need someone methodical."

He worked at a full services production house in Vancouver.  It had about fifty full-time employees and was a perfect place for a "young, dedicated man to learn the film business". They had the equipment to do it all, from script to mix. A big sound stage stocked with lighting and grip equipment, a mixing theatre, edit rooms and an incredibly well-endowed camera department.  A few days later, he opened an impressive silver case and gave me my first in-person look at a movie camera. An Arri IIC.

He was a Director/Cameraman - arguably the best job in the world. ("Everybody wants to direct", right?) My job was to assist him.  To do that, I needed to learn how to be a Director/Cameraman, too.  So I did.  For about seven years we traveled the world, over fifty countries, shooting sales films, corporate docs, television commercials, TV series, you name it. Eventually, I was given whole films to direct and shoot. Then, the parent company closed the operation and I became a freelancer.

Not soon after, Hollywood discovered that Vancouver was an excellent place to make movies, and since I'd lived there all my life, I was ready and waiting.  I specialized in Second Unit work.  Small crews, less politics, more fun.  Lots of helicopter aerials, for which both the fun rate the day rate are very satisfying.

Nearly four decades later, I'm long since retired and I love photography as much as I did in my basement darkroom back in the seventies.  I have a D800, an Epson 4800 and a 9800 and my favourite thing is seeing my prints on my friends' walls.

I'm leaving British Columbia next week, driving alone to the deserts of the American Southwest for a month of photography adventures.

My extraordinary run of good luck continues. 
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tim wolcott
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« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2013, 09:38:42 PM »
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Yes I make my living selling my fine art photographs.  All Landscapes and have never wanted to shoot anything else.  I did in the very beginning work for some great photographers like Bruce Weber, Atkinson and also designing the pigment printing process and later inkjet.  Made a little money working with the inkjet community but made made at least 90-95% of my money making my photographs and selling them in galleries. 

NOthing is more fun than shooting and producing the first print.  I did enjoy designing and inventing the inkjet pigment process but only because it allowed me to print the way I wanted too.  Tim Wolcott
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Rob C
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« Reply #49 on: March 06, 2013, 03:53:08 AM »
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I have seen an extraordinary run of good luck.  I'm leaving British Columbia next week, driving alone to the deserts of the American Southwest for a month of photography adventures.

My extraordinary run of good luck continues. 


You are not kidding! Long may it continue.

Rob C
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Rand47
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« Reply #50 on: March 07, 2013, 06:00:46 PM »
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Fun and informative thread.  It is nice to get a sense of folk here.  Let me start by reiterating how much I've learned from you all, and how nice it is to gain a sense of your life-journey in and outside of photography.

My folks bought me a little Ansco 120 box camera when I was 10.  (That was 56 years ago!)  I immediately became "the family photographer," an appelation with which I was enamoured.  :-)  That was the beginning.  I went on to take lots of photos over the years in my 'yout' and then, in high school, take on the role of school newspaper and yearbook photographer where I first got to get my fingers wet in the school's darkroom and learned about developing and enlarging my own work.  When I went into the Army as a volunteer during the Vietnam era, I became by default, my Combat Engineer Battalion's recon photographer.  That was interesting.  Field work, darkroom set up in a GP medium tent, only did darkroom work at night since it was too hot in there to work during the daytime.  I had to learn on the fly to calculate development times when my chemicals could only be cooled to about 90F.  I developed a sort of "reverse zone system" to compensate.  LOL  Recon missions were fun.  I eventually dumped the Speed Graphic provided by Uncle Sam in favor of a Nikonos that I bought w/ my own money at an Air Force BX.  That sucker was immune to the dust, mud, muck, rain, rice paddies, small arms fire, etc.

After Vietnam I taught basic B&W photography at the Post Craft Shop at Ft. Lewis, WA, and managed the darkroom there for a couple of years, as a side-job.  When I got out of the military I applied and was admitted to Brooks, but didn't go due to financial constraints.  Instead I sought a career in the Fire Service in California.  Over the years I rose throught the ranks and became Fire Chief/CEO of one the Los Angeles area fire departments.  I received a PhD from the University of Hard Knocks during my career due to some unusual circumstances and opportunities in helping to represent and manage the city I worked for.  All the while retaining my interest in, and doing some photography as time allowed.

When I retired, I had the privilege of pursuing my avocation in a serioius way, and as luck would have it I bought a Bronica ETRSi kit (pretty extensive) just before the dawn of digital.  Fortunately, I saw the writing on the wall early on (after reading one of Michael's early articles on "is digital as good as film" in the Canon 10D era), sold the Bronica kit before it was completely without value, and bought a little Olympus 3."somthing" mp ditial camera, then an Olympus E10, and took classes at a local art insitute in "Photoshop."

The rest, as they say, is geography.  I now have a thriving consulting business in mentoring future senior fire service leaders, and helping fire departments with leadership and organizational development.  I basically flunked "Retirement 101" but that has enabled me to afford a really nice digital darkroom w/ a couple of printers, a really nice computer and monitor, and some good FF and APS-C digital cameras and lenses.  I shoot 99% for my own pleasure, make prints for friends, neighbors, and other photographers.  I find the pursuit of a really fine print as rewarding as the image capturing process iteself.  I'm completely self-taught (well, taught by Michael & Jeff really when it comes to digital) and had a "highlight" moment last year when I attended a session or two at the Palm Springs Photo Festival.  I noticed a guy at the Epson Vendor Booth who was talking to people, taking their files and making prints for them while tutoring them on file optimization for printing.  Interesting.  They had a table with various prints made on the different Epson offerings, paper-wise.  I noticed that they didn't have an example of Hot Press Natural on the table, so I went out to my car and brought in a print I had just made on that paper and gave it to "the guy" saying that if he'd like, he could just throw it on the table as an example.  The guy looked my print over pretty carefully, then told me it was a "really nice print" and put it on the table.  I came back at the end of the day to fetch my print and "the guy" reiterated what a fine print it was and that he'd had a lot of comments from people on it.  "The guy" (I'm so dumb I didn't even know who he was - had I known I'd never have dreamed to foist one of my prints off on him) turned out to be R. Mac Holbert!  Holy cow.  I think when I found out who he was and that "he liked my print" it made my year.  Perhaps decade.  (I suspect Jeff is getting a kick out of this anecdote.)

As I said, I'm pretty much self-taught all along the way, and deeply appreciate LULA and all of you for your knowldge.  I learned early on what a "good print looked like" from going to see exibitions of folk like Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, W. Eugene Smith, Edward Weston, Joseph Karsh and others.  I still go to the galleries in Carmel evey chance I get to absorb and learn by observation.

I'm not all that prolific.  I don't care to be.  I'm always in pursuit of an idea that is never fully realized on paper.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 07:58:37 AM by Rand47 » Logged
Gordon Buck
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« Reply #51 on: March 07, 2013, 07:39:24 PM »
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What an interesting thread! 

Im simply a mechanical engineer whose hobby is photography.   In fact, my wife once said Youre not really a photographer, you just like cameras!.  I objected to her observation but it contains a lot of truth.  I do like cameras but am making a serious study of photography and digital processing techniques.  Luminous Landscape, its forums and comments from many of you have been most helpful.

Many thanks!

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Petrus
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« Reply #52 on: March 07, 2013, 11:09:43 PM »
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in high school, take on the role of school newspaper and yearbook photographer where I first got to get my fingers wet in the school's darkroom and learned about developing and enlarging my own work.

 Over the years I rose throught the ranks and became Fire Chief/CEO of one the Los Angeles area fire departments.

Good story, I also photographed for my High School yearbook in Santa Paula, where I was an YFU exchange student in early seventies. It IS possible to shoot usable football pictures at night games with fixed 45mm lens camera and Tri-X pushed to 1600 ASA...  Anyways, I wonder if you ever met my American dad Walt Walker, who worked as a fire captain at the Malibu fire station up on the hills, of course already retired a long time ago. Would be a funny coincidence.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #53 on: March 07, 2013, 11:29:56 PM »
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Hi,

I'm working a school there we train nuclear power plant operators, and I'm maintaining some of our models. My background is in engineering.

So, photography is a hobby for me, had a camera since I was 10. I am much interested in how things work, but I also shoot images.

Started shooting, film, progressed to MF film around 1990. Converted from darkroom to lightroom using scanners around 1998 and went fully digital around 2004.

I'm decidedly non commercial, just shooting for pleasure and satisfaction of ego.

Best regards
Erik
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LoisWakeman
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« Reply #54 on: March 08, 2013, 07:08:36 AM »
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I am a technical writer specialising in software and pharmaceutical process documentation; the parish clerk for my village in Devon; a web site designer and copywriter for local small businesses; and a very part-time photographer and potter. I do sell a bit of my craft, but although it covers my equipment and material costs with a bit over, isn't really a way to make a living!

I've been mostly self-employed since about 1982, though the clerk's job is "proper" employment.

I'd like to reverse the order of work work and fun work - but with many UK personal pensions being worth diddly squat, cannot see myself retiring any time soon, sadly!
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Rand47
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« Reply #55 on: March 08, 2013, 08:02:35 AM »
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Quote
I wonder if you ever met my American dad Walt Walker

We never met, but I know the name!  Chances are good we've worked the same campaign fires in the Malibu at some point.

Rand
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Rob C
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« Reply #56 on: March 08, 2013, 12:56:17 PM »
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I am a technical writer specialising in software and pharmaceutical process documentation; the parish clerk for my village in Devon; a web site designer and copywriter for local small businesses; and a very part-time photographer and potter. I do sell a bit of my craft, but although it covers my equipment and material costs with a bit over, isn't really a way to make a living!

I've been mostly self-employed since about 1982, though the clerk's job is "proper" employment.

I'd like to reverse the order of work work and fun work - but with many UK personal pensions being worth diddly squat, cannot see myself retiring any time soon, sadly!


That's a beautful picture, Lois. It reminds me of a couple that David Hamilton did in an alcove in his Ramatuelle home (AFAIK), but he didn't do them as pleasingly.

He did do some excllent shots of Venice, though, just in case anyone thought him limited to too young girls. And beautiful straw hats.

;-)

Rob C
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niznai
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« Reply #57 on: March 17, 2013, 02:29:43 AM »
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I smash the landscape others come to take pictures of.

Before and after.

Get paid well to do it, so it works for me. Pretty satisfying too especially when in anger.
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HSakols
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« Reply #58 on: March 17, 2013, 07:52:02 PM »
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Do you have any visuals ? I've smashed the landscape.   http://vimeo.com/18242035
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niznai
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« Reply #59 on: March 20, 2013, 02:38:20 AM »
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Do you have any visuals ? I've smashed the landscape.   http://vimeo.com/18242035

Oh, plenty. Not my work, but you get the idea:

https://www.google.com/search?q=open+pit&hl=en&rlz=1C1GGGE_enAU427AU428&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=qmVJUcebLeqZiQenj4DwDg&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1109&bih=512

These would be the "after" shots.
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