Sucker for the brands, over here.
I really loved this piece actually, and your outstanding work speaks for itself, Sam. But I really do think it’s not so crazy to work for free. For a minute.
My ad agency got its start strategically taking on free work for clients whose stories we knew would be valuable. And still, when entering a new market, we often do that. For the clients we pick to do that with, it’s a windfall, because we do work they would rightly have paid tens of thousands of dollars for. But the stories that come out of that work have repaid us dozens of times over again.
This is a complicated debate, for sure, and I totally see your point.
On the other hand, advertising may be the one industry less-valued than photography, and I’m not convinced working for free is what sets the industry back. Maybe it’s work for free that doesn’t over-deliver on value, so that at some point somebody actually thinks it’s reasonable to offer nothing. Or, more likely, it’s misunderstanding how”exposure” works. If Abercrombie were to put “photo credit: Sam Landreth” on every few photo they used, would that make it worth it to shoot for free?
Not saying it should be. Just trying to get a grip on why I see your point and yet don’t share it in all its particulars.
In any case, bravo to you for saying no. It’s not really your business if you can’t or never do.
Great piece! Obviously got me thinking.