In the last week, I received three requests for photo usage. All three of them started out by telling me how great my photos were and how much they would enhance their project. They then proceeded to tell me that they did not have a big budget for their project. They then used the same word to describe the deal they wanted to make with me. They all included the same word- GRATIS. So…my pictures are great, they would really help their project, and they wanted me to give them rights for nothing.

The first one was from one of the two biggest advertising agencies in North America. Their client was the State Of Illinois. Now, anyone who lives in our state knows that the state is broke (politicians have totally screwed up the budget). So I decided to write the woman back. I suggested that even though the agency was doing the project pro bono, more than likely the cameramen and editors that were doing the short film that my photo was being considered for were getting paid. Also that she was probably getting paid also. I then suggested that maybe if the agency was doing so poorly that they couldn’t afford to pay for content, that maybe they should move to cheaper offices (they have a large section of one of the biggest buildings in Chicago). I suggested that they should respect the creative people that added to their projects. Needless to say- no response at all. Felt good to write back. Nothing lost, in my opinion.

The second one was from a large book publisher. They were making a series of short films to be used in college lectures, and of course had no budget and wanted the photos gratis. After two emails, I negotiated an OK fee for usage, by suggesting that if I kept on giving away my work, I would soon be living in my car.

The third one was from a museum, who also used the same no budget line, how great my picture would look on their website, and they wanted it gratis. After a few emails, they agreed to a nominal fee.

So, two out of three isn’t bad. I am just sick of being asked to give away my photos for nothing.

ST. LOUIS, MO  - OCTOBER 16: Keith Richards, Chuck Berry, Joe Walsh, Robert Cray and Joey Stampanato during the filming of the movie "Hail, Hail Rock and Roll" at the Fox Theater on October 16, 1986 in St. Louis, Mo. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

ST. LOUIS, MO  - OCTOBER 16: Keith Richards and Chuck Berry during the filming of the movie "Hail, Hail Rock and Roll" at the Fox Theater on October 16, 1986 in St. Louis, Mo. (Photo by Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Keith Richards and Chuck Berry- June 7th, 1986 Petrillo Band Shell Chicago, Illinois United States June 7th, 1986 Photo by Paul Natkin/


RIP, Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry passed away yesterday. He was 90 years old. He was the true father of rock and roll. Even though his performances were spotty in his later years, he was still great.

A few of his favorite lines:

A member of one of his pickup bands asked him, before a show “What songs are doing tonight?” His answer- “Chuck Berry songs.”

A band member asked him how they would start each song. His answer- “When my foot comes up, start playing. When my foot comes down, stop playing.”

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