for JANUARY 1984
you are doing it for advertising or something spectacular like
that for normal portraiture, no head in any photograph should
be larger than 7/8's life size.
you have not enough on the negative, you are going to have to
sell them a smaller photograph. For this reason it is critical that you have a conversation
with your customer before the sitting and compose the negative,
so that you can include more of the body in if you want to sell
one of these bigger prints. Please be very much aware of this whenever you are doing
to me makes tremendous amount of sense and unless you group
a lot of small items together to make one large item, small
items do appear to have that affect.
ALL ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMER
should begin them at the telephone booking or the original contact. Start making up your family record card or negative bag at
that time. Record
on it the key points of any discussion that you have with them. Who they want the photographs of, for what purpose, what
age, what they intend to use with it and then, when they come
into the camera room, at least you would be ahead of the play,
because at least you would have recorded your discussion with
them and know that you have to take a photograph for an oval
or for a 30 x 110.
is no use your customer wanting 30 x 40's if you are not aware
of it at the time and you only do head and shoulder photographs,
the 30 x 40 of that would look ghastly. So you read this record card before you do the appointment. You should record on the card any other bits of information
that you gather from your customer when you are talking with
you should be pumping them all the time to find out what they
want, you are selling all the time to plant ideas in their mind
and you are doing all the things that you have heard about so
is no use the photographer knowing that the customer has decided
that they want a 30 x 40 and the salesperson not knowing this,
and the salesperson settling for a 30 x 24. It's money down the drain. So keep your record cards up-to-date with you every contact
you have with the customer and record on them, what is happening,
what you are doing and why you are doing it.
you will be able to greet your customer after a period of time,
by their name, enquire after young Johnny who had his leg broken
5 years ago and your customers will be delighted and love you.
SHARP ARE YOUR NEGATIVES
you are wanting to sell a 30 x 40 from your negative and the
print does not look quite as sharp as you would like, you should
check you negatives on a regular basis with a 10 times magnifier,
or an 8 times magnifier in the form of an Agfa Lupe. The latter I believe are now off the market, but Lacklands
do have a Kaiser Lupe which look like its brother.
your negative with this magnifier, if it is sharp, it is sharp
and you will get a sharp print, but you will soon see whether
you have camera movement or bad focus with this magnifier. Don't be done out of extra money because you thought
the negative was not sharp because the print did not look as
sharp as you thought it should do.
Photo-Documentalist writes ( DH, as he was known, died in the
the final analysis, he is. There is no magical elevation of worth or income by joining
such self-deluding societies as the PPA, nor in subscribing
to any current U.S. photo-media, or having an exhibition in
a bank or a public library or a hole-in-the-wall "gallery" - which is also the fashion among the me-too types.
Unless and until the photographer recognizes - and accepts - the simple fact that he produces a product for a price, and that the price is determined precisely by the merits of that produce in terms of the client, and not his precious ego or his concern with "creativity" or self-expressions or mechanical, optical, and electronic hardware, the whining about poor fees will continue. Yes, of course they are all piss-poor businessmen - if they were businessmen, they wouldn't be photographers. And it is all because of this atrocious, mindless, sophomoric belief that Photography is ART... in a pig's eye. Photography, i.e., professional Photography, is a product produced for a price, to serve a need of which the photographer need have no interest in or desire to exhibit as an example.
Volume II (of his Books) I have an interview with the executive
art director of Reynolds Metals, the second largest buyer of
commercial Photography in the U.S. His comments are, I feel, quite pertinent to this subject,
and I was always surprised that our failed journalism majors
had not thought to interview such people for the benefit of
buyers think and feel, despite the fact that all too often they
actually know little of Photography, per se, is an untracked
jungle for most photographers. This naturally includes the mores, attitudes, value structure
of one's potential local clients - i.e., portraiture, weddings,
school pix, etc., u.s.w.
I a professional photographer, I would spend at least a couple
of years investigating my market thoroughly before even setting-up
shop. Then I would
mount an advert campaign - not stage an exhibition! - designed
precisely for my market, in terms of the above consideration. There was a chap in Bozeman, Montana, who heard me mention
this idea during a lecture at Montana State University a few
years ago. He took
it to heart, looked around Bozeman, set-up shop, advertised,
and after five years retired to - of all places - New Zealand! His name was Jacobowski, and I believe I may have mentioned
better mouse-trap syndrome is no longer applicable, as you know. Neither is the old-fashioned notion that a photographic
studio is something special in a given community. Photography has become merely another social event in
the mind of every man, as I have written - a mere social skill
like driving a motor-car or learning how to dance. Blame the PPA and our media for that. But until photographers come out from behind their utterly
fallacious notions about Photography-Art and accept the fact
that they are essentially sellers of a product for which they
alone must create a sustaining demand, the game will
as I have written, in order to make some men see the light,
you must first punch out their eyes. My earlier writings did just that for many, I'm pleased
to say, and I might mention that I have never suggested that
true Photography cannot have artistic merit, for both the photographer
and the client. And when a photographer has done his homework and thinks first
of how he can satisfy a client's needs, rather than his ego
or vanity, then he will become a successful photographer.
appears to be anti P.P.A. however to clear the air on this point,
I will take another paragraph from his letter to me, where he
was talking about colour-labs in the states) he writes
No, I am not hard on colour-labs, any more than I am anti-PPA or anti-photo-media, contrary to what some think. I simply want all of them to be as meaningful as they could be, and once were.