Photojournalism Column 
Jim Colburn - Don't Ask
Happy Freakin' Anniversary

Yeah, yeah, that's nice, the first anniversary issue. What's that in dog years? Six weeks? But since this is the DIGITAL journalist I suppose we have to think in terms of chip technology so it's probably more like three or four hundred years.

So what's happened in a year? The computer you spent so much money on is now worth a tenth as much as you paid for it. That $2000 film scanner has been superseded by a newer model that produces better scans and only cost half as much. The digital camera you sweet-talked your publisher into paying $15,000 is in the remainder bin at CompUSA and selling for $49.95 and it turns out that the most efficient means of photographic data storage is still that high-density analog system called film..... Isn't technology wonderful?

The magazines that you work for haven't raised their day-rate since Nixon was in office and that wire service you string for not only wants the copyright to everything you shoot but they want you to shell out money for film and gasoline. People have been spitting on you for the past year in between shouts of "You murdering papparazzi" and even your own mother blames you for the death of Princess Diana. The only good thing about the stock market's dive into hell is that you haven't had any spare cash to invest for the last five years. Your significant other used to think your career was cool but now he or she has started saying "When are you going to get a real job?"

So why do you continue working all day and all night at what works out to be minimum wage? Because it so much damn fun is why. You get to go places that ordinary people never see and meet some pretty interesting folks along the way. Once in a while you nail a photo and can walk around just a little bit happier for having done it, even if that pinhead of a photo editor decided to run the grip-and-grin from the same shoot......

And as bad as it is it's still better than selling long distance service via cold calls or saying "Do you want fries with that?" to everyone you meet.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are barely my own much less my employer's so don't blame Time Magazine, Time Inc. or Time-Warner for anything written here. If you have to blame somebody I'd start with the guys running the Powerball lottery who continue to pick the wrong numbers, thereby keeping me from those $40 million jackpots.....

Jim Colburn

"If something I say can be interpreted two
ways, and one of the ways makes you sad and
angry, I meant the other one."



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