Spring Returning to North Fork Blackwater - West Virginia / by sam taylor

Spring Return NF Blackwater

Good Friday Morning!

Today is the last in the "Transition" set of posts and images we're doing relative to our pulling a bit back from Facebook and to my own web hosting. 

My final thoughts today are on the "commodification" of this type of creative work - especially visual work - in the wider world.  It has been an all-too-familiar experience having folks wanting us to give away work for "exposure", or having large, national and regional organizations suggest that they will promote my work - but only if I pay them.  I have often used my work to support small charitable and non-profit activities that I believe in - through donation of service or prints - but otherwise, I have to turn that type of arrangement down.  There are so many photo contests out there offering $500 to a winner, and all it requires is signing away all of the rights you have to your work - and they have people falling over themselves to give it away.  That's funny to think about - large companies paying $500 to have hundreds of people give them their work.  I wouldn't landscape a yard, or paint a house, or repair a car for free for a big business, with 100s of other people, just for exposure, with the hope that maybe I'm the lucky guy to get $500 for years and hours of training and effort.   I see this is as hurting the work in a couple of ways - a person, dedicated to the craft, can no longer make a part living at that rate, and to the industry it signals that the work is literally worthless - why pay a professional to do the work, when the internet will give it to them for free?

In the end, I create for myself, and have been encouraged in the response from folks in that work.  If it means that I can give some back to my community and to causes I believe in, that's all the better. 

This image from more recently than I'd like to admit, and captures the currently on-going battle between winter and spring that West Virginia is experiencing right now. 

Spring Returning to North Fork Blackwater - West Virginia