have got to love the French. Just when it seems that the world is going
to hell in a handbasket they do something that's just so darn.... French......
that it brings a smile to your face.
know if this story is true (Who cares? It's a great story) but reports
from a couple of well-respected French papers say that Corbis has tried
to lay off all of their French (or Paris based) photographers and just
sell what they've got in the files (the computer files any way since
they've stuck most of their real pictures in a hole-in-the-ground in
Pennsylvania.) The story goes that upon hearing of their pending dismissal
(and the dismissal of 20 or so office staff) the photographers went
on strike! And supposedly photographers from another French agency came
out in support of their brothers and sisters at Corbis Sygma!
it. A group of khaki-clad photographers in need of a shower standing
at the gates of Kanduhar with their arms folded and cameras unloaded.
Paparazzi refusing to board their scooters to chase Nicole Kidman and
her new date. A hearty one-fingered salute to the assignment editor
that asks for, no... demands, coverage of the Prime Minister's visit
to a horse show.
We're on strike.
know if anyone remembers but a few years ago the photographers of Paris
were pissed off at the treatment being accorded them by the press staff
at the Elysee Palace (the French White House) so they downed their cameras
and went on strike. At an important photo-op the President of the Republic
escorted his important guest down a red carpet and on either side of
the carpet were photographers, their cameras on the ground and their
backs to the stars of the show. How do we know this? They had one designated
photographer record their protest for historical purposes...
least they're doing something. When photographers were presented with
an appalling contract by a wire service (you know the one, "We'll
give you $100, take all the rights and YOU have to pay for the film
and parking") they rolled over and took it. When a few brave souls
formed an association for freelance photographers they were ignored
for the most part and faded away. I've heard that some photographers
in Boston are fighting a newspaper's attempts at a rights grab but since
there's always a few people that will work for minimum wage and a chance
to see their photos in print I don't hold out much hope for them.
you're a photographer, the next time you're at an event, try making
contact with a few of the shooters around you. Swap cards and email
addresses. Go out for drinks once in a while. Stop thinking of absolutely
EVERYONE as "the competition" because you might need each
other some day.
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt and Solidarity ain't just a bunch of Polish shipyard workers.