Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Death of an Honourable Profession

One of the things that really ticked me off about being moved away from the British Oppression demo last week was the excuse used by the policewoman to move me on.

I didn’t have a press pass.

Given that I was standing in a public place presenting no risk to public order or obstructing anyone, demanding that I produce a press pass was, how can I put it?, bollocks.

What really bugged me was the thought that if I could prove I was working for some rag somewhere –
The Wisconsin Weekly Advertiser or Celebrity Hairstyle Magazine or whatever – she would have had to lay off.

And why should that be?


The guy I was with in Whitehall on Friday has just sent me a link to an interesting story in the Guardian from a few weeks ago.

It’s interesting because it’s yet another example of a mainstream media hack whining about the death of professionalism and the Cult of the Amateur in today’s media. In this case, he’s complaining about the death of the ‘honourable profession’ of newspaper photography.

Yes, very funny.

Because we all know how honourable newspaper photographers are.

Really, you couldn’t make it up.

And the key difference between a professional and an amateur is?

"A talented, hardworking and lucky amateur can produce wonderful pictures on the best days. But that will be one picture in a hundred. A professional can produce something that is nearly as good as their best 50 times in a hundred. That's why they are worth employing."

Nope. The only consistent difference between an amateur and a professional photographer, or even an amateur or professional journalist, is that one gets paid, the other doesn’t. Full stop

Or is the writer genuinely trying maintain that if you pay someone to do something that will guarantee a higher standard of work than if someone works for non monetary reward?

Could it possibly be that some people have the skill to write or take pictures but for some reason are unable or unwilling to work for a big news outlet?

After all, with any pay cheque there comes an obligation to photograph or write about what your employer dictates.

Which is why people like Nick Ut who started their careers photographing images that had the potential to change the world now make a living snapping daft celebrities who are only famous for being daft celebrities

And that is a major reason why more and more people are being drawn to the work of amateurs.

Sure, there are plenty shit amateurs out there. But there are plenty of shit pros too and many happen to be whores, or working for whores, as well as being shit

...as transmitted around the world by the honourable mainstream media

...as not transmitted around the world by the honourable mainstream media

Coincidentally, round about the same time one chum sent me a link to a newspaper article about how sites like Flickr are contributing to the death of honourable newspaper photography, another chum invited me to join a Flickr group established to protest against Flickr censoring the images its German-based viewers can see

Forget about the mainstream media’s incessant wanking on about Russia or China – there are plenty of free speech issues nearer to home that need dealing with.

I’m presuming that Flickr is implementing filters because of the Nazi thing – though how being able to see images of fat bastards dressing up as Ernst Roehm who end up looking more like Oliver Hardy is likely to corrupt German democracy eludes me.

Oliver Hardy

Ernst Roehm

It’s the thin end of a very thick wedge IMHO and I can’t help but make a connection between politicians and the mainstream media whining like bitches about the rise of the amateur and the incessant attempts being made to filter the output of those amateurs.

On the other hand, this talk of things German presents me with another opportunity to link to the video of Rammstein’s –
Amerika still available here

I’ve already linked to it only a few days ago – but I just watched it again and it still makes me laugh. Especially the line...

"Coca - Cola…"

"Sometimes War"

I was chatting with a mate about 'Coca Cola, Sometimes War' a few days ago and he’s of the firm opinion that the US should adopt it as the new national motto and put it on the money and on banners draped from all large public buildings

A tad harsh but understandable…


edit: I just got another email from a chum pointing me towards the kind of high-quality photojournalism that sites like Flickr are facilitating - check it out here



The Antagonist said...

The lines:

"I don't sing my mother tongue
No, This is not a love song"

Is equally as wunderbar and has to rank up there alongside "Coca Cola, Sometimes war".

Speaking of honourable professions.... by the same logic that states those who are paid for things such as writing and photography Vs those who do it for the fun or the sheer hell of it are somehow better and more professional, prostitutes are infinitely better at sex than regular partners because, er, they're paid for it.

Then again, if it's your partner in sex looking at their watch and thinking about their next trick that turns you on, then perhaps there's some semblance of logic in there somewhere.

Here's a slight variant on the above, also with an accent, albeit not a German one:


Stef said...

@ant - if you fancy a giggle I was reading about up the dodgy serbian concentration camp pictures that ITN broadcast 15 years ago which led to reading up on the death of Living Marxism


which led to this pearl of a piece by George Monbiot where he talks about a hidden network that his conspiring against him and the causes he promotes...


Double standards and hypocrisy so thick you could make a milkshake out of them

Conspiracy nut? Moi?

The Antagonist said...

George Monbiot is the original Conspiraloon™. Hidden networks conspiring to do things, who'd have thunk it?

For the the record, he still hasn't responded to this post endeavouring to hold him to account which cites yours truly as part of the reason why he should be held to account in the first place.

The Cult of Expert is drawing rapidly, and as vapidly as ever, to a close.

The Antagonist said...

Hmm.... I read George's tirade and thought I'd go check some source material as a bunch of LM issues/articles are on archive.org, including the following which is worth a quick skim read. Note the date:

Living Marxism issue 41, March 1992:

The construction of the Islamic Bomb

For 40 years we were told that Western civilisation was threatened by the Communist Bomb-a threat which turned out to be as empty as the shop shelves in the collapsed Soviet 'superpower'. Now we are told that life in the West is imperilled by the future threat of the Islamic Bomb. This new nuclear arsenal is meant to be supplied from within the ex-Soviet Union, and wielded by the Muslim regimes of the Middle or Far East.
It is impossible to be certain which third world countries might be close to developing nuclear weapons. But Living Marxism can reveal which states have been most closely involved in the construction of the Islamic Bomb issue: the USA and Britain.

jon doy said...

Stef: you may already know about www.keepvid.com - if you take that Rammstein youtube link and paste it into keepvid you should end up with a link for a download (.flv format), which'll play in stuff like Media Player Classic

Anonymous said...

"The only consistent difference between an amateur and a professional photographer, or even an amateur or professional journalist, is that one gets paid, the other doesn’t. Full stop"

There is another difference, Stef. One has a contract of employment the other doesn't; hence, one has his integrity compromised by the contract of employment, the other doesn't.

Stef said...

@jd - ta, I use something else but it's stopped working so thanks for the link

Alex Fear said...

Check out this post from Beau Bo D'or.

Stef said...

Oh yes, very professional