Thursday, April 27, 2017

Donald Trump and the Arts

***Although I am EXTREMELY opinionated politically, this post is not meant to be a political "beatdown" or lashing in any way.***

Donald Trump has released his budget.  In the budget, as expected, there are drastic cuts to entitlement programs and departments which many lower and middle class Americans depend on, not that this is much of a surprise to anyone.  I think we all kind of expected that, no?

We also shouldn't be surprised that he's proposing to completely eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities.  Again...we should have seen this coming.

Just because we knew it was coming doesn't mean it isn't worrisome.

If we look at the Arts, all through human civilization, funding from the government has almost always been a constant.  Virtually all of Michelangelo's works were made possible by financial support from the Church and the government.  Same thing for Shakespeare, and the Queen.  In fact, if you were to go through history, you would find that the majority of influential artist, at one point or another, benefited from governmental support.

The NEA total budget for the entire year amounts to $158 million.  While major museums or galleries may not see a major effect on their day to day, this change would mean that the majority of other galleries, museums, theaters, school funding programs, opera houses, dance centers, film festivals, art shows and festivals, will struggle to continue to find existence.

Any kind of school arts or humanities programs would be very close to depleted...unless your children are in private, well funded schools.  Our children would be receiving two different types of education.

This is all over $158 million dollars.  Sounds like a lot, right?  Sure, it's the thing.  It represents 0.003% of our national budget.  Not 3%.  0.003%.  If you've got $100 in your pocket, pull out 30 cents.  That's what we are talking about here.

Want to see what kind of projects, individual and community projects, and events the NEA funds, in your own area?  Click here.

At the same time, Trump is proposing spending unprecedented amounts on a wall and increased military spending.

Odds are, when you finish reading my rant, and you hop in your car to get to work or lunch, or, quite frankly wherever you're going, you're going to pass at least 1 place that will no longer exist if the NEA is abolished.

I've written a great deal on this blog about how the arts are under siege by outside forces, but, never before in the history of our country have the arts, or we as artist, faced this kind of a threat.

It is so important that we let our elected officials know how important it is that we as a community of artist and art lovers continue to demand funding for the arts.  The future of our industries, AND our society, are at stake!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 MUST DO'S for every Photography Business

After almost 20 years in the business, plenty of busy times, slow times, crazy and quiet times, I've learned a couple things.  While there's tons of MUST DO'S for every photographer, here are a few:

1.  Network, network, network.  You don't get away from this one.  As a matter of fact, for us artist, we must network even more.  We've got to be in front of people, constantly reminding them of our services.  Not just at networking meetings, but also with robust marketing campaigns, advertisements, social media, etc.  Remember, on average, you need to make 5+ impressions before a person remembers you, in today's overly graphic world.

2.  Put the camera down!  Sounds weird, I know...but...ask a successful attorney or businessperson how much time they actually spend in a courtroom, versus the time they spend working with paperwork, consultations, prep, and building their businesses.  It is so incredibly imperative that you spend a significant amount of time actually tending to ALL portions of your business...not just the camera in hand part.  Which leads me to...

3.  Then pick the camera up!  This is what makes it challenging to be a photographer.  We must be businesspeople, and artist.  All the time a shop owner, salesperson, doctor or attorney devote to building and maintaining their business, we must do as well; but it is important to remember to make some camera time for yourself.  You've got to keep the creative part of your brain moving.

4.  Don't be a slave!  Look, our industry has been taken over by manufacturers who have tried so hard to convince us that we need to have the latest, greatest, biggest, fattest camera and lenses, and the newest tech.  We try to convince ourselves that we need to have all these other things...we don't.  Get equipment that works for you, that satisfies your customers all means don't turn into a dinosaur, but don't get caught up in the consumerism.

5.  Invest.  Invest your money correctly(back to #4.)  Invest your time wisely.  Invest in educating yourself.  Take some business/finance courses.  Open a retirement account.  

There's no handbook, or instruction manual, but these basic points should keep you pretty much clear.  Do any of you have any other good suggestions?  I'd love to hear some!