I came across an article recently that really connected to my heart. After only a few years in business, I took a stand last year with my feelings as an artist and stopped offering digital files. Here is the article and below is my take on taking a stand! -> Michele’s article here
I believe in the print. I always have. In part, it might be because I come from a generation that only had the option of a print. And in part, I come from a background of working in a dark room with real negatives, real paper and real editing. I come from a place of appreciation for not just where I have come from, but where I am going as an artist. And for me… that doesn’t include handing over digital files to be misused by someone without that education. Because that is what you are doing when you hand over a digital file. You are handing over an incomplete service and product to your client.
I believe that I live and work in a digital world, where keeping up with technology is a necessity. But I believe that art, real art, is important. And the feeling of importance doesn’t come on a disk. Things have changed – where is the floppy disk now? Where will the DVD be in a few years? Will memory sticks even work? Laptops are now being built without disk drives for a reason. But a print, an album… those are forever. Those are guaranteed. Those are special. A DVD is not.
I believe in what I have done to become the artist I am. Choosing to study art and photography in college and jump into opening my own photography business shouldn’t boil down to uploading thumbnails online, posting images on Facebook or hoping a client prints one of the best images you have ever created on quality paper. I believe that what I do is more than that. And I believe that the clients that believe this too will find me.
Sometimes I felt that I was the only photographer dealing with these thoughts. How can you make yourself happy when both the industry you work in and the client you market to want something different than what you are comfortable offering. I felt uncomfortable handing over my work, not knowing what would become of it. I felt sick to my stomach and could never come to a rational price to offer digital files at because nothing made sense to me. It wasn’t worth it to me, at any cost. Sadly, over the years, I also watched clients who received digital files misuse, degrade and illegally copy them. For some it was due to lack of education, but for many it was a deliberate act to get what they wanted without having to pay for it. The bottom line was that it was disrespectful to me as a person, to me as a professional and to my industry. I am an artist, running my own business and I should make the decisions on what is acceptable and what is not. Last year, I came to a point where offering digital files was not acceptable anymore. I took a stand.
I will quote the above article here in saying ” that for some it’s easy to take some photos, edit them, burn them on a disk and make a few bucks. I don’t and can’t operate that way – I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations that might have no photographs because I wanted to make fast and easy money selling files.” I believe in this. I believe in being more to my clients, more to myself as an artist and more to my industry. I will not accept that everything I have done is being reduced to a digital file that never gets printed. I respect myself too much. I respect the people I work with too much. I expect more.
Though it took me 3 years of really searching for what I felt was right in my gut, I am taking a stand too!
I am Nicole Pfeiffer, a professional photographer – I believe in who I am, what I do and the type of art I am willing to offer. No matter the world I live in. I believe in tangible things that you can pull out of your purse and giggle about with friends. I believe in photographs you cut up and hang on your wall because you want to see your friends faces everyday. I believe in albums that tell a story and force you to remember a feeling everytime you run your fingers over the pages. I believe in professional papers that display color and texture when a monitor can not. I believe in offering you my time so that we can talk about what size is correct for the image you love and whether or not that frame color works with your wall color. I believe in art.
Thank you Michele, for your boost of courage!