Life Photography Rants

Amanda Palmer – Screw you Daily Mail (and the Art of Asking)

When I saw this link on Facebook today featuring Amanda Palmers rather fabulous little ditty to the Daily Mail I had to help it on it’s way to becoming viral. I (like many other people) am fed up of people writing about shaming women’s bodies without a mention of their achievements. But Amanda Palmer fought back. Respect. I think I agree with every single one of her words.

But then I started to investigate her. First I decided that I really rather liked her music. No surprise, I used to like the Dresden Dolls but I hadn’t put two and two together.

And then I stumbled on this TED talk. Just watch.

This woman is fearless. And brave. But mostly fearless.

I tried an experiment a while ago in a blog post on here. I asked for money from those who enjoy my work to cover my petrol expenses and stuff. You see I go to Empire for fun, to enjoy photographing the spectacle. I don’t charge to go there and take pictures, but I do go to try and make peoples experiences a little better. Because that’s what being an artist or a musician is all about, right? It’s about making peoples lives better by doing what you love.

Some friends were sceptical. They didn’t think anything would come of it and in all honesty, I think that they thought I was slightly nuts for asking.

But you know what? From that blog post I was given my petrol money for the next event by a couple of people. I was touched, actually I think I cried a couple of times when a few little Paypal payments dropped into my account. (Thanks guys, I try to cultivate an image of being tough…).

I’ve been doing this donation thing for a long time in a few guises. I photographed my first wedding for a couple of friends of my mums many years ago, asking them to just give me what they thought the pictures were worth. I was pleasantly surprised by the cheque I got after I sent them what I’d shot.

And moments like this remind me that there is still some humanity left in the world. People reaching out to others because they care. It’s important that we do this, that we reach out to others. It’s how we remember how very human we are. And fragile. But sometimes fearless.

Since I shot at the first Empire event I’ve been considering putting a book together containing my photography from the year of events. I’d toyed with putting it on kickstarter and trying to raise funds for an exhibition as well. I still wasn’t sure about doing it to be honest, because I’m just not sure that it would get the support.

But you know what, maybe this is the way forward for the arts. Amanda Palmer raised over a million dollars for her new music release on kickstarter. And yes, I’m going to shamelessly steal her placard idea, although I also saw Matt Smith do it the other day for a Doctor Who thang, so perhaps that makes me just a trendy hipster.

I’ve always wanted to make a book full of my work. I’d love for people to have it on their bookcase, where they look back at it every now and again and remember all the awesome times they had. Because that’s what photography is about, it’s about telling stories and capturing moments. But mostly it’s about telling stories. And in the context of LRP it’s about prompting others to tell stories.

I love taking pictures. I don’t really want to have to force people to pay for my work. I love sending it out into the world to try and make people happy. But I’m terrible at asking for money. I even hate sending out 30, 60 and even 90 day reminders to clients who aren’t paying me. I guess we all just have to be a little bit better at asking.