Tuesday, 4 May 2010



On Tuesday February 17 El Pais published an article signed by Elisa Silié entitled The counter is stopped for freelances. It began like this: "The counter is changed with the turn of the century for freelancers. Since then, for almost all the unions, the rates have raised far below the standard of living. For most, being freelance has a halo of romantic, exciting and liberating-the alarm clock does not ring deafening every morning, you don’t have to obey an odious boss and you get organized as you please-, but when the recession shakes the foundations of companies, they freelances are the first to falter. “

Jose Flores, the president of the Association of the Freelance European Journalists says that they had been forced to reduce prices by between 20% and 30%.” He continues: "The biggest problem is that inside the freelancer’s world, there's a lot of intrusiveness. Today, professional equipment is not really expensive, you can purchase a good one for about 6.000 Euros, and in the newspapers the scholars are not only writing texts but making the photographs as well. Already in the 1992 crisis, Michel Guerrin, Le Monde journalist author of Profession Photoreporter said: "When a in a newspaper the advertising goes down, the photographers are the first to be fired."

What can we do, the freelancers, in front of the crisis? I think one of the answers came from a photographer friend of mine that e-mailed me before going abroad to shoot a travel story: "I will try to enjoy during the trip because this year things look fuckin’bad. Nobody is buying travel stories anymore; I have lost customers and those who are left are paying less and they are not asking me to shoot new stories" But later, she explained something that happened: "Sometimes you do not know why, a whole day's work leaves you no pictures. The day is gray, there's nothing interesting, and you're almost about to go home with nothing and in a bad mood. Many times is like is. It is usually like this. But sometimes, despite the horrible day that you have had, you decide to wait a little longer, endure the cold and stay longer to see if anything happens. And suddenly the sun comes up, you're in a beautiful place under the light, you look and shoot... and you hardly know how, but you make a magic picture."And my friend finished her thoughts sending me a really wonderful photo.
It is very clear, albeit in a subconscious way that the photographer has described perfectly the attitude to be taken in front to the crisis: to resist, do not get discouraged and wait for the sunrise. That and keep in mind that the market is changing at a vertiginous speed. We must also change and evolve with it.

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