terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Wasn't sure if I'd have to blog about this - note: bottom, last entry - but things have developed, so I must.


We, photographers in Singapore, are, by nature, suspicious. (Well, at least I am.) We've been on the wrong end of too many shaftings, so we become suddenly and acutely aware whenever something doesn't feel right: when agencies use our images without permission or beyond the terms of the contract; or when we are asked for our input on the creative/ artistic direction, and then we find out that somehow, somewhere along the way, they decide not to use us, but have actually let someone else (usually a low-level lackey in their employ) run the project based on our ideas.

Or, when, take for example:

I'm taking orders from the students of a junior college for prints of their images from their college yearbook and I notice that at least six classes have ordered one of each of the images available to them. And only one.

So I'm thinking: if I were unethical and morally ambivalent (as teens in this Kazaar-influenced world are wont to be), I'd be getting my classmates to share in the cost of paying for one whole set of prints at the price the unreasonable, money-grubbing photographer has set, and then maybe, I'll take those prints (8R, by the way), scan them, take these scans down to the friendly, neighbourhood colour processing stores and voila! Cheap prints for all.

Never mind if my scanner isn't calibrated to the prints. Never mind if my prints won't have the same colour gamut as the photographer's prints which are done at professional labs. Never mind if the photographer is already working around the budget (or complete lack thereof) the college has given him, if he is already giving students in need of financial assistance free prints at his own cost, or if he's barely making enough to cover the eleven days he was on the shoot and the aggravation for having to wait more than two weeks for the teachers to get their collective acts together to complete as simple a task as to hand out order forms, collect order forms, collect payment for the prints and returning said completed order forms and payment to the teacher-in-charge, who can finally hand those over to the photographer... But hey, I socked it to The Man. And I win lor!

What I don't understand: is this something the kids thought up themselves, or did they seek their teachers' advice? It's disappointing really; some of these classes I thought I liked, enough to go along with whatever they decided they wanted to do with the 40 minutes given to them.

If you must know, for every dollar I get (in the interest of transparency, no need to pull an NKF here):

Originally uploaded by Terz.

And those who are not mathematically-challenged will work out that I get 20 cents out of every dollar you pay (or about $3600), which does not even come close to what I'd normally charge for a eleven-day, 6- to 10-hour per day shoot most of it under the hot, blazing sun, with image processing and retouching thrown in (and we are talking about a lot of images here), and after that, a personalised delivery.

So tell me, who's shafting who again?


That said, I will now apologise to the other classes who haven't been dishonest in this matter. And to the classes among the six who really didn't feel like they wanted to order any additional prints and whose orders for one each of the 8R prints are really just orders they want to make for their teacher as a keepsake (maybe).

To the rest of you, thank you. It was fun working with you those three weeks.


  • At 11:06 PM, July 30, 2005, Blogger ejl said…

    i ordered 2 sets from the photographer back when i was in jc. and we only got 10 mins with him for the shots.

    maybe we were more ethical... yeah right.

    and yes, you can add me to your bloglist. :)

  • At 11:47 PM, July 30, 2005, Blogger Yuhui said…

    Maybe you should've charged on a sliding scale, i.e. the more prints the class buys, the less you charge each student.

  • At 11:52 PM, July 30, 2005, Blogger Terz said…

    ejl - Done!

    Yuhui - That was the original plan... maybe I felt sorry for the kids... not any more. Grrr.

  • At 12:42 AM, July 31, 2005, Blogger tscd said…

    Gosh. Kids are getting wily these days.


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