How Photographers Often Let Themselves Get Ripped Off

About a year and a half ago, in this very space, I posted a cautionary note about photo contests straightforwardly entitled, “ Photo Contests are Screw Jobs“, along with a couple of examples from well-known national magazines and a major airline.

Don’t think for a minute that smaller periodicals are immune, or that they don’t learn the tricks of the trade from their bigger cousins in faraway places. One fancy-pants society magazine that makes its way into my mailbox sometimes (even though I neither subscribe to it, nor care much for all the glitter and artifice typically depicted therein) has provided a splendidly avoidable example. See this image with appended commentary in colorized text. [Some browsers automatically render a screen-scaled image…please click on it to enlarge.]

This is far from the only such example. Many other contests offer puny prizes while having the gall to assess entry fees–effectively charging the photographer for the privilege of being screwed, while making off like Jesse James with the net loot.

Who do they think photographers are, drooling fools desperately thirsty for any sort of “publication” of their work? Apparently they’re right in such an assumption; for you can bet surer than any Vegas odds that plenty of people will enter that contest quite willingly, and hand over not only their photography, but their identities, to unknown persons opening envelopes in a room, in some building in Oklahoma City. In the end, the answer is: yes, there are plenty of fools out there who are more than willing to be “taken advantage of” for the sake of a fleeting boost of ego.



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