Four Corners

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Reasons to be Cheerful Part Two

... continued from Reasons to be Cheerful Part One.

(ii) The true Radicals.

Several of the magazines that I went into recently had shed a bunch of staff, more of the almost daily purges in that industry (our industry). So, aware of and sensitive to this (and also inspired by a conversation with Stephen Mayes of Vii), I asked some of them; what difference it would make were I to offer to work for free ?


.. I went on.

jw - What about if I traded my fee for a hotlink to my site. Perhaps it would be hosted at my site in a similar way to how Vimeo hosts my video but it's embedded in my site, so whenever anyone clicked on my Photograph it took them straight to that story in my folio - likewise for my credit wherever it appears.

mag - Why would you do that ?

jw - Because the particular traffic that I want to get at, is the person that either likes my work and wants to hire me. Or it's the person that wants to use the picture/ a picture because they're interested in the subject. You'd still pay the expenses for the job, I'd just trade my fee for easy access to a discerning sort of traffic.* And it would cut both ways, if someone came to my site and saw someone that they were interested in then they could link back to your site and there, they could read a story on them.

mag- But what about the print version of the magazine?

jw - Well, I'm not exactly sure that I see the future of your magazine as being paper, do you ?

.. more Tumbleweed , followed by debate.

I was staggered that this could be a question up for grabs. All I could think of was that these lovely people, whom I respect enormously, were in some sort of 'survivor-denial', they reminded me of passengers in a hot air balloon fatally holed. No matter how many get thrown out, it's only going in one direction unless there's a radical re-think. However, the fact that we even had a discussion about this left me thinking that perhaps these people, might be the real radicals.

Not me. I can't match that sort of extreme view.

So, after some more to-ing and fro-ing I was told that if I wanted to take this further then I'd have to speak to someone on the digital side because they didn't have much to do with them once they'd sent stuff over and '..can we do hyperlinking?'.

I watched a hot air balloon come down just then. It left a wet pink stripe across the floor of a vaguely surprised digital landscape.

*Frankly, this is pretty much the current version of events with a most of the newspapers and weekend supplements in the UK where the fees include expenses and seldom cover the costs of the job. Other magazines like iD and Dazed have always traded a minimal or no fee for the prestige/exposure that their publication offers. All this really does is formalise that situation, make it explicit and begin to concretise this notion of apparent "Prestige/Exposure" into a formal transaction.
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