Being a freelance photographer in 2017 can almost be synonymous with being disposable, like those little yellow cameras that they sell at CVS for 5.95; once you get your photos, you forget about it and move on to the next. At least that's how it feels at times. Generating repeat clientele is just half the battle, making sure your photos get the credit they deserve is a whole separate fight. Does exposure and opportunity outweigh the acknowledgement and recognition for what we consider our work? Do we compromise one for the other or settle somewhere in the middle? These are thoughts that we all singularly think and conversations that we collectively have but the answer is always just as elusive as the question is complicated.
Some believe that the best way to put an end to all the trouble is by placing a big, distracting, eye-sore of a watermark on the photo so that there is no question who shot the thing. As you might be able to tell by my dramatics, watermarks are pretty low on my list of good ideas but that doesn't mean I don't understand the argument. Watermarking has its uses. Preventing theft and reusage is one of the main benefits, mainly because no one wants to repost or reuse a photo with a logo stamped all over it for their personal use but nonetheless, it serves its purpose. Another benefit, maybe the most important benefit, is that no credit is lost. This aspect is the hardest to argue against because at the end of the day, credit should be given where it's due and adding a watermark eliminates any conversation otherwise. But there has to be another way, I mean, watermarks are still just ugly eye-sores at the end of the day.
I, myself, have come to terms with the fact that art lovers and enthusiasts will always find a way obtain art for free. Whether it's the pirating of music & movies, screenshots & screensavers of paintings or the usage of photographs without credit, the main goal of the user is to use. But where does that leave us as artists? How do we solidify ourselves and refrain from getting our work taken? I think that will forever be an elusive question asked amongst artists. Truth is, there is not much we can do. Create better art, solidify your style and develop a fan base that can recognize your work in a haystack. St the end of the day, the point of art is to reach and resonate with the people. Whether it's stolen or credited, the work touched so the goal is accomplished. I think the realist in me won't allow me to stress such a minuscule Issue when the bottom line is that my work was received the way I intended for it. Moral of the story : keep on creating & keep on inspiring.
That's what we aim to represent. RespectheShooter is a claim, a demand, to be respected in an industry that gets swept under the rug.