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See, What Had Happened Was: I Know My Worth!

Author: Tafari, Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 5:14 PM Mindspill

This ceviche was prepared by me. I shopped for the fresh ingredients. I sliced that avocado to perfection. I styled the plate. I took the photograph. I ate the ceviche. I processed the photo. I posted to photo to Flickr so that I could share my recipe and image with friends and admirers. This all took time, energy & most of all, $30 for a piece of red snapper. OK…. ----------------------------------------------------- Today, my pissedoffness with Air Canada Vacations has ended after having a discussion with their marketing director; Manon LeBlanc. I actually left a voicemail for a call back this morning & was happy to get a response this afternoon.  Evidently, my web campaign to spread this hot mess was successful because this story was circulated by Air Canada’s PR department and beyond. Since yesterday the post has nearly 300 hits. Yeah, I put it on blast here, my FB pages, Air Canada’s FB page, Flickr & Twitter. I’m happy that the post spread because I think it’s important for photographers who grind like I do in this craft to know that our work has value & we need to claim that! Anyway, here is the rub… Manon apologized for Nick’s unprofessional attitude and response. She also informed me that he is a 17 year old college intern working an unpaid 2 week assignment.  Until Nick encountered me, he was used to getting the photos that he inquired about. I guess you could say that he was really feeling himself before he ran into me. I’m cool with the apology & can somewhat process Nick’s behavior. On the photographer piece, Manon mentioned that Air Canada Vacations has been successful in procuring images from Flickr users in the past at no cost while providing credit.  They have also encountered Flickr members such as myself who know the value of their work is worth more than a byline.  In these fuck you, pay me instances, Air Canada Vacations isn't a position to pay for a photograph because they don't have a photography budget. In fact, they have and will change the focus of their story(s) if imagery cannot be obtained for .free99. I’m tripping on the fact that they are able to fill a 300 page publication with free images. I mean, it takes a real marketing pimp to snake charm a photographer with photo credit only as the company gets paid by clients/passengers booking trips in addition to advertising dollars that they get through the publication. Seems like the sky is falling or some crazy mess because more often than not that companies, groups & individuals need imagery but have no budget. During the conversation I stated that it MUST be known that just because a photo is posted on Flickr does not mean that it is some random snap shot. In fact many of the photographers on Flickr are professions, semi professions and highly skilled photo enthusiast. I refuse to play a part in that game. The gas is too damn high! Lessons learned:
  • Sometimes you have to cuss a bitch out
  • Standing your ground keeps you from being taken advantage of
  • Social media is a wonderful platform to spread information rapidly
  • I love telling people to “Google my name & do my resume.”
  • I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit
Lastly, I am thankful for Air Canada Vacations reaching back out to me to smooth this out & I hope that Nick uses this interaction as a workplace learning example on how not to wild out. And no, they did not buy the photo, offer me a free trip, but they did Google my name.

9 Responses to “See, What Had Happened Was: I Know My Worth!”

  1. Trudy Says:

    I love the outcome of this! Glad you stood your ground. Amazing that they will change the story to fit whatever image they can get.

  2. Paul R. Giunta Says:

    Good for you! It is always a temptation to cave to an offer like this but as you and I both know now, the ‘free publicity’ never pans out. It just shows others that you will work for free. It is a difficult call to make but it is the right call.

  3. Rich Williams Says:

    Great follow-up.

  4. Z Smith Says:

    All righty then…

  5. Tamra Says:


  6. Vivrant Thang Says:

    This post is truly every single thing. You go boy! This is not the first time you had to let a mofo know. And you continue to prove how powerful social media is for getting the word out about jankiness. Its usefulness goes way beyond foolishment and hijinks.

    I hope that snotty nose, similac breathed intern was let go. He’s a fail before his career even begins.

  7. Jessica S. Says:

    Too bad they’re not changing their practices, though . . . when will people stop giving their images away for free just because they’re pleased someone wants them?

  8. Mary Says:

    I appreciate how you are a trailblazer for all of us!
    We got to eat and pay bills like everyone else and our artisty ain’t for free! Dayemmmm!

  9. JVLIVS Says:

    Me and Bobby Alcott was talking about something similar to this. I was asked for one of my photos (no pay, as usual), and I complied. Bob was telling me about how many times he had been through the ringer on that note, and I resolved that if I can’t get at least $50.00 for a picture, then it ain’t worth it-unless it’s from a local newspaper or somethin’ like that.

    But your lead by example gave me some incentive.

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