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Author Topic: A pissed off photographer Terry Goodlad rants away  (Read 5107 times)
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Posts: 1064

« on: December 27, 2012, 02:17:53 PM »

From Terry Goodlad

"It's been a long time coming and finally the day is almost here. As of the 15th of January 2013, the last day I am contractually obligated to The Vitrix Model Team, I am retiring from shooting for pay. It was an awesome run and while I didn't always like what I had to shoot, the people I was working for, or the "models" I was shooting...I had an amazing career that I truly loved because I love to create art.

I'm still a photographer and always will be. The difference now will be that I am going to create that art for myself rather than a client. Any commercial venture be it a magazine, corporation, ad agency, or otherwise is driven by an objective that is centered on their business focus. Decisions are made by people that have a business objective, and not a creative one. This is true even in magazine publishing. Creativity is just as rare there because most of the decision makers are not visually creative as a rule and no one ever wants to leave it up to the photographer.

Most of the magazine art directors and editorial staff I have worked had absolutely no artistic ability or vision. They just show up for work then follow a plan over and over again until they get promoted.

The pressure is off now to make magic with what most times felt like my hands tied behind my back. No more shoestring budgets, bad models, bad wardrobe, bad locations, bad ideas, and ridiculous time schedules, with the expectation that I had to somehow end up making world class content.

I had the Editor in Chief of a major magazine instruct me to shoot 45 sets in two days using 8 models, one house, and a 50 x 40 strip of fake snow. At times we only had 5-10 minutes with a model to make a shot worthy of an annual swimsuit special that would be seen around the world. I pulled it off but this guy had no idea what he was doing, how to run a magazine, how to manage creative people, or what is involved in the process of shooting models. He figured the more sets we had the more variety of great shots we would get. We didn't. It's not a magic wand, its a camera and it takes even the best models some time to get warmed up, comfortable, and able to produce good work. Sadly that attitude and personality type is common among managers when you shoot commercially.

It will be very different now. If I feel like starting at midnight and working until the ideas are gone then I have incredible models that are happy to do that and see what we get. Most of all my wife. If Brazil is the best place to take a shot rather than a pool at a cheap hotel to save money, then there will be no argument, we will just do the shoot in Brazil because it was meant to be shot there. I don't have to end up with a gallery of shots or 1000 boring images almost identical of 8 different looks to find one that will work in a magazine layout. I can just shoot great shots with great models and not wear them out trying to cover all the bases for some unqualified clown who doesn't know a good shot from a bad one. Most of my very best images over the years, the ones that get the most response on Facebook amongst consumers are all of the shots that magazines management and art directors rejected. I'm really not that proud of most of the layouts I have had over the years because of this, and there have been hundreds.

I'm done with it. I think this is how it's supposed to be really. Creating what I see and feel inside. I don't think I was ever meant to do this for a living and I know that by doing so I have wasted many creative years being frustrated. I needed it to pay the bills then so I did it but not anymore.

My point...If you truly love the artistic part of photography then stay away from doing it for pay. Working for a magazine sounds good but outside of 2 or 3 people I worked for in the past 15 years that were there to really make a difference and truly create something special; it's been a disappointing experience. Thank you Peter McGough, Robert Kennedy (RIP), and Jim Schmaltz for those truly inspiring experiences.

Commercial work can pay really well but again, they hire you because of what you do well then after you are hired they tell you they want it done a different way. It rarely works out in your favor unless you deliver what they want even though what they want is not at the level they expected when they hired you.

I have some buddies, Tony Harrell that shot our wedding and absolutely blew Ana and I away with his vision, Jerome Lim, a local doctor in Vegas, Walter Hashimoto a banker in Vegas, and a couple others have the right idea. These guys shoot for the sheer fun of it. Their work inspires me and makes me envious of their freedom to create what they want. That's what I am going back to and if you are an artist and thinking about "becoming a pro", stay where you are and just love what you do.

The fun is about to begin. :-)"

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