Photography is a capitalist tool. With a camera you can transform time into money.

The creation of wealth by trading labor against capital is, after all, at the root of any capitalist society. And that is what every photographer does. But unlike most professions, the time spent on creating a photograph doesn’t equal a higher retribution. In fact, all photographs are created in the same time: a fraction of a second.

Additional time does factor in, however. The time the photographer has spent in perfecting his craft. Usually, the longer a photographer has spent building his expertise, the higher the value of the images he creates. Often, the time preparing the image before ( research, lighting, set up, scouting, etc) adds additional value to the end image. And finally, the length of time the image will be used ( a day, a week, a year) will also add to the final monetary return.

Thus, a successful photographer can transform a fraction of a second into a lifetime of revenue, more often by repeating the task over and over.

It is ironic that an instrument that captures time is also a tool that transforms time into wealth. After all, capitalism usually only takes into factor the passing of time as a measure of wealth creation. A lawyer, paid by the hour, would get nothing if frozen in ice. Yet, with photography, it is exactly the opposite, the freezing of time, that becomes an object of value.

Photo by becosky…

Author: pmelcher


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