Editor's note: the following is a tongue-in-cheek, oftenirreverent, question and answer column published in the ASMP News solelyfor the entertainment of our readers. It does not necessarily reflect theviews of ASMP, the local chapter or other ASMP members. All opinions andanswers are solely those of the author, and he is welcome to them.Readers' questions about any aspect of photography, or life ingeneral, are welcome and Dr. Photography will answer them in future columns,if he happens to feel like it. Send mail to:
Dear Dr. Photography,
Is it true that a big-name photographer justgot a one-year contract to shoot pictures for some magazine for a milliondollars? Does this mean there's a new ASMP day rate?
Just Getting By in Burlingame
DP: A variety of trade journals recentlyreported that fashion photographer Richard Avedon signed just such a contractwith The New Yorker. The agreement brings Avedon on to the NewYorker's staff as its very first staff photographer. According to theterms released, Avedon will provide 50 black-and-white photos during thisperiod. These photos could include portrait or photojournalism assignments,or images from Avedon's archives. The contract -- $1 million worth -- alsosays that he cannot work for other magazines during that time. Avedon reportedlycalled the arrangement "a gift."
Dr. Photography resisted the urge to call all his current magazine clientsin an effort to negotiate a similar deal, even though this precedent showspromise of reversing the seemingly endless downward trend in day rates.
For years, magazine photographers have been living with (and complainingabout) $350 - $400 a day for assignment work. Editorial stock photo useis often paid at an even lower page rate. But now, thanks to New Yorkereditor Tina Brown, photographers everywhere can rejoice at the new editorialstandard.
Assuming that Mr. Avedon works five days a week for the next year toproduce his 50 photographs, he will work a total of 260 days at an editorialrate of over $3,500 per day. Not bad as day rates go, even though he stillhas the overhead of a studio to support. He could make an even higher rateif he can find a way to shoot those photos in less than 260 working days,which basically, is less than one picture per week.
The contract also allows him to supply images from his vast stock andarchive collection, instead of shooting new pictures. If he were to supplyall 50 images from stock, and they were to be reproduced at a full pageeach, he will be paid $20,000 per page. Not bad as far as page rates go,either.
While ASMP does not set rates, ASMP members and other professional photographerseverywhere are taking note. There's a wind of change in the magazine industry.Once again, it's OK to compensate photographers fairly for their work.
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