Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fodor Photography Request?

The Kitty Gates - New York

I'm somewhat skeptical (sceptical?) that the original post is authentic, and that somebody's chain isn't being pulled with this one, but at least it set off some discussion and controvery on one of the travel writers forums.


Here's a message I received via email this morning. I find it a bit insulting that they are not paying photographers. Then again, I wonder if the message is legit.

I am a freelance photo researcher working with Fordor's, gathering images for use in the interiors of the Fodor,s famed Gold Guide travel guides. There is no fee for inclusion in our books, we will give you credit for the images as well as supply you with the travel guide, once it printed. We are looking for either high-resolution digital images or transparencies. Listed below are the images that we are looking for our travel guide book on Mexico, for the section on Mexico City. Please advise if you are able to assist me in locating these images.

Museo de Frida Kahlo, Coyoacan
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, San Angel
Museo Dolores Olmedo PatiƱo, Xochimilco
Museo Mural Diego Rivera, Alameda Central

Also photos of both Diego and Frida as well as a few paintings.

Please advise
All the best,



like the line: "There is no fee for inclusion in our books." That's certainly generous of them. :-)


Someone will send them photos, a few of which will be included (along with photos, duly licensed and paid for, from more professional photogs), and the free-photo senders will brag that they have their photos in Fodor's, then they will see that having photos in Fodor's doesn't really induce others to pay them big fees for their photos.

Although other publications will be happy to "give them exposure" "at no fee." Actually, I think that what the free-photo people will find is that they are required to sign a contract giving Fodor's universal, eternal, extraterrestrial rights to use the photos however, wherever and whenever they like throughout the universe till the end of time, with or without name credit to the photog.

Non-exclusive rights, of course... :-)

And some people will do it. Why else would the researcher send out such missives, if there were never any responses? Actually, I'd like to see the contract offered to the free-photo people. It might be the ultimate exercise in temerity.


As a photographer/travel writer I speak with some reasonableness when I say that this is shocking. How are we to become a profession with professional standards when we are treated as rubes?

What a ridiculous attitude on their part!


Seriously folks, how many other professions are treated the way writers/photographers are treated? Some craftspeople are expected to work for the joy or creating and not get paid for their time I guess. Is it only things that are created by machines or computers that are worthy of earning money!!


We work in a market economy. If Fodor's can get stuff for free, they will. Heck, if I can get stuff (legally) for free, I will. Zagat has made a good business and useful products with free info. The basis of TripAdvisor's appeal is its free info. Ditto and its product reviews and book lists.

Travel writers are not needed now as much as they once were. Photogs please sit down to receive this: neither are photographers. Digital photography and "darkroom" software has made it much easier for less professional photogs to produce more and better pix, which means that the value of many categories of pix is in decline.

Watch the big phone companies battle one another to the bloody end, while VOIP eats their lunch...with relish. The phone companies and the post office and FedEx got bashed by email. The world owes no one a living. The creative survive.

Think nimble!


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