Tag Archives: opinion

365 Project Day 16



You might have noticed that I have several Instagram images turning up in my 365 project. While many “serious” photographers sneer at camera phones, toy cameras etc, I use a variety of cameras based on whatever does the job the way I need it to. My phone camera actually does a surprisingly good job at allowing me to take great images. It’s actually better at a close up wide angle than my dslr. Of course, it doesn’t have the resolution the dslr does, but since these images are not for my portfolio or for sale, that then doesn’t apply. What these images are for is to practise my trade, improve my skills, concentrate on specific things such as composition and just get off my ass and create new images. And quite frankly, the easier the tool is to use, the easier that job can be.

So here’s todays images. The view out back. And one tossed in of the kitty ’cause she’s so damn cute I had to share.


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Unpaid internships are exploitation. Period.

I had to write a post, seeing a tweet for Walrus magazine for an unpaid internship. 6 months, 30 hours a week and no pay what so ever. This pisses me off. Big time. I’ve written about working for free before and I’ll say it again. Don’t. Period.

Why? How about the lovely term exploitation? Ring any bells? Yeah, I feel very strongly about this. Working for free does NOT benefit you. Yes, you’ll get on the job learning, but guess what, most business pay YOU to learn how to do your damn job. Your time is valuable, worth money and should be compensated. You aren’t going to an internship, I hope, knowing nothing at all about the job. Chances are, you are fresh out of school and have several years of education to back you up. When you take a job for free, it says very clearly that you put no value on all that time you spent learning how to do something. It also says, you are OK with an employer placing no value on your time either.

Unpaid internships should be banned. Since that is impossible to do, make a point of never accepting one, encourage everyone else not to accept one, rat out the shameful behaviour of these companies who demand one, and stand up and say NO!

Don’t buy any of that bullshit about how it’s an honour to study under a big name professional. Or that what you learn will be worth it, no matter what. They are making money from your labour. They are getting paid. So should you.

Insist on it. Don’t know how to say it? Watch this video. Mike Monteiro will tell you how, in clear plain english.
2011/03 Mike Monteiro | F*ck You. Pay Me. from SanFrancisco/CreativeMornings on Vimeo.

Stand up for yourself, have some self respect, value yourself and your time and demand that they pay you, damn it. Even minimum wage is better by far than free. After all, if someone doing a brain dead minimum wage job actually takes home money, why the hell shouldn’t you?

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The cult of youth and the arts

Lately I’ve been looking at a lot of art competitions as a way to get my art out there. It gets it on walls in group shows which provides experience and simply gets it seen. Even online competitions can be valuable that way. After all, if no one can see your art, what’s the point?

I’ve been getting rather annoyed though as I look through the requirements for many calls for entry, some of them quite major, and find significant barriers for many emerging artists. And worse yet, this is in calls for entry specifically for emerging artists. The big barrier, sadly, is our society’s ongoing fascination with the cult of youth. That’s right, even the arts are prey to ageism.

Here’s a news flash to curators out there. Many emerging artists are over 35 or even 40, the age limits on many of the calls for entry specifically for emerging artists. Many new artists are not fresh out of art school at 20, and even if they are fresh out of school, they may be 45. Artists are not all set on their careers from day one, just like most other people in most other careers. Many of us have come late to our artistic calling, may be on second, third or even fourth careers. It’s hard enough to change your path later in life without having this kind of discouragement placed in our way.

If the goal of the curators who set these limits is to ensure they get only emerging artists, or feel that’s the way to get new, fresh, contemporary art, they’ve failed completely. Young artists can be very successful and far from a new voice if they’ve been out there for 15 years. Conversely, a 50 year old who’s only been starting to show their work can bring a vibrancy lost to someone who’s an old hand at it. There are better ways to limit work to emerging artists than age. Things such as number of shows, if any, success with sales and collectors, etc. Really, how much has their work been out there and how long have they been doing it is the main definition of an emerging artist is it not, so why not make that your limit?

Drop the artificial and quite frankly discriminatory age limits and celebrate all emerging artists, no matter how old they are.

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The allure of the hand written letter

I love getting mail. Period.  Even catalogues and some junk mail. Other than bills, finding things in my mailbox is like getting a present. Something new and mysterious to be savoured. And since the quality of my mail these days is rather sad, I’ve been looking into penpals.

I had penpals way back in secondary school and wrote to people in far off countries. And even now, in our internet age, people still want to write real letters to far off, or not so far off people, whom they’ve never met. Really. And I’m one of them.

There are those who will consider people like me luddites, or anachronisms but when you get something personally addressed in the mail, a letter, card, post card, what have you, doesn’t it make you feel rather special that someone took the time to let you know they were thinking of you? That they actually put effort in; had to write it, go get a stamp, mail it effort. What can make you feel more appreciated than a hand written thank you note?

Time is the most valuable thing people have. By sending a piece of snail mail, you’ve spent a little of that on someone and I personally think it counts a hell of a lot more than dashing off a quick email or sending a text. And you can’t exactly draw something or otherwise embellish by hand an electronic communication like you can a piece of paper.

And besides, how else can you use fun and cool things like fountain pens, sealing wax and seals, pretty stamps and paper…..

Here’s a few links for those interested in giving it a try.

Places to find penpals:
The Letter Writers Alliance
Good Mail Day Blog (post on call for penpals)

Sources for awesome stationery and pens:
In Vancouver, Paper Ya on Granville Island is fantastic. One of the few places locally to buy real writing paper. (from France, mmmm)
Etsy always has cool stuff
Perks, a really cool pen store on Cambie in Vancouver (the store is listed with others on this site)

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