In this PDN interview, now-former rep Julian Richards lays it all out there. It is a painful read, but an important one.
Mr. Richards says at one point, “The photographer’s role as sorcerer and custodian of the vision was diminished.” I could not concur more. This is something I have been railing against for some time and something I think you can change, but it will be a fight. For a photographer to be seen as the minor miracle worker s/he is, s/he must control the process more. The mystery of the art must be recaptured.
I have been hearing about a few photographers who, if not shooting film (and yes, there are still film shooters out there), will not permit the clients to look at a monitor… at least not until the photographer reveals. That is a very big thing. It is also only one part of the shift.
Overall, you have to say “no” more often, especially when saying “yes” compromises your vision in any way. You have to make it unquestionably clear that while you will work with the art director and other creatives, you will not do what they want just because they want it. Most importantly, you should align with the ADs (who really do want this although they have their own fears, as have always been there) to tell the clients that they need to trust you to provide the best creative because that is what you do. Yes, that is politely telling end-clients to shut the eff up.
As Mr. Richards says, “By abdicating those responsibilities to the guy who’s paying, you’re undergoing a sort of self-inflicted castration.”
Ouch, but accurate.
Think about how much you have sold out. How does that make you feel as an artist? What you can do to change? As much as I agree with Mr. Julian’s comments, his choice to leave the business was based on more personal reasons than just his frustrations with the state of the photo business world. You don’t have to give up as he has. Change is possible, although it won’t be easy. I don’t think any of you should give up or give in, but rather let’s stop the slide to mediocrity.