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為什麼抱怨沒有幫助?

WHY COMPLAINING WILL NOT HELP-- Pedro Meyer
為什麼抱怨沒有幫助?---佩德羅‧梅耶爾

原文出處:http://www.zonezero.com/

I have heard time and time again, how the market for photo documentary work is shrinking and there is no work to be found, and the little there is pays very poorly.
我已經聽過很多次,紀實攝影的市場正在縮水並且已經沒有工作可以執行,薪水也相當的微薄。

The question to be asked is if this statement is true, and if so what can be done about it.
現在要提出來問的是這個狀況是否屬實,如果是,我們又可以做些什麼?


In general terms I think there is indeed a big change in the size and scope of the market for photographic work available to freelance photographers.
一般而言我認為攝影市場的範圍跟大小對於自由攝影師來說的確有很大的改變。

Today there are numerous solutions for those in need of photography to illustrate whatever is needed, other than hiring photographers to do such jobs.
今日人們對於攝影的需求有很多種解決方式並不一定需要去聘請一位專業攝影師來做這些工作。

With online stock photography being just one of the many options to those in need of photographs, to the fact that with digital cameras many people have taken to make their own pictures rather than hiring someone for that purpose.
線上圖庫只是眾多選項其中之一,事實上許多人只要有了數位相機就可以拍自己所需要的照片,並不需要攝影師來幫他們完成。

So let us agree on the fact that the market has changed enormously. I would ask further, why are so many photographers so surprised?
所以讓我們同意市場已經產生巨大的改變這個事實,甚至我還要進一步的質疑,為什麼許多攝影師會對於這項改變這麼訝異?

Unless they have been living a cave over the past decade, they would have probably noticed how everybody else's job has also been radically transformed.
除非他們過去的十年都住在洞穴裡,不然不可能沒注意到每一個人的工作都已經被徹底的改造了。

Why would it be any different for photographers? Just ask any musician how their jobs have been in a process of total turmoil.
所以,難道對攝影師來說會有任何的不同嗎?只要去問任何一位音樂家他們的工作在改變的過程中如何的混亂就知道了。

When I was a kid there was a man who operated the elevator in the building where my father had his office in downtown Mexico City.
當我還是個小孩的時候,墨西哥市中心,我父親辦公室的大樓裡,有一個男人的工作是負責操縱電梯。

He would also repair watches as he brought people up and down all day long. He would sit on a little stool and have a nice tidy little desk beside him, which would hold all the parts of the watch he was repairing as well as his work tools.
在操縱電梯上下樓的同時他也一邊進行維修手錶的工作,他坐在一張小凳子上,旁邊有一張小桌子上面放著所有他需要的工具跟正在修理的手錶。

He had found a way to service the continuous flow of people in and out of his elevator, while also being able to concentrate on his watches.
他找到了一種方式去服務大眾並且同時能專心在他的手錶上。

He was always looking up with one of those special eye pieces that work as an enlarging glass, in his right eye, and then looking back at the watch. I never ceased to be amazed at his ability to cope with two such different jobs.
他總是能一邊往上看一邊運用在他右眼眼鏡上的放大鏡去看他在修理的手錶,我從來沒看過這麼驚人的能力可以同時去處理這麼不一樣的工作。

As you can well imagine today that elevator is automatic and does not require someone sitting there all day long to operate it.
然而現代社會裡所有的電梯都是自動化了,這表示我們再也不需要有一個人坐在那邊一整天去操縱它。

The watches he used to repair have been replaced by cheap watches that are better replaced with new ones, rather than spending on a repair.
而當時他修的手錶也早就被便宜到不用再修理直接買一隻新的的手錶所取代。

I don't know what became of this man, but I do know that both jobs he had no longer exist.
我不知道那個男人後來變成怎樣,但我知道他兩種賴以維生工作已經再也不存在了。

So rather than feeling sorry for oneself, it is best to move on, and ask, now what? How will a photographer survive in todays world?
與其為一個人感到抱歉,我們最好能夠往前看並且問「現在該怎麼辦?攝影師該怎樣生存於現代世界?」

The answers of course depend on where one is living, but in general it is reasonable to imagine that the variables are not that huge.
答案當然是取決於每個人的外在條件,環境與背景,但是照理推究這外在的條件在大環境下仍有很多的相似處,所以變數也可被簡化。

The first basic question is, who actually needs your service? Stop thinking in terms of what you need, but rather in who you can provide a service to. If you can start making a list of who it is that might need the type of photography you like doing, then it is just a matter of finding who those potential clients are and start contacting them.
第一個最基本的問題是:「誰需要你的服務?」不要再去想「你要什麼?」而是去想「你可以提供服務給誰?」,如果你可以開始去列一張「誰可能需要你提供的攝影服務」的清單,那你就可以找出來潛在的客戶並且著手跟他們聯絡。

You then can compete with other photographers on the basis of price, or on the basis of the uniqueness of your photography, or on both.
然後你可以跟其他攝影師比較價位或考慮你的獨特性來訂定價格,當然也可以兩者同時考慮。

But be prepared to consider that this is a process that is constantly in flux, in other words, you can't think anymore in terms of just sitting back to relax once you found the answers to your question.
但是請必須做好準備去思考這個動作不是永遠不變的,換句話說,你不能以為只要找到問題的答案之後就可以坐在那邊以逸待勞。

The market is changing all the time, and what might be a good solution today will no longer be so in a year or two.
市場是一直在變動的,今日的解決辦法不一定在一、兩年後還適用。

I googled "photo agencies" and came up with over 19 million pages. That should tell you something about what is going on.
我GOOGLE了一下「攝影經紀公司」,顯示的結果超過了一千九百萬頁,這應該告訴了你什麼正在發生。

The largest photo agencies are finding that they have a hard time competing against newer smaller agencies that charge a fraction of the price that the bigger agencies are charging, and this process will keep on changing as people figure out how to deliver a service for the best price possible while still making a profit. Something, which by the way, the larger agencies have not been having.
全世界最大的攝影經紀公司瞭解到,要跟提供低價服務的新型小規模經紀公司競爭越來越難。由於小型經紀公司總是能設法在提供低廉價格的服務之餘獲取利潤,這樣的情形將會一直持續,而這正是那些大型經紀公司缺乏的。

Complaining will not help in finding any solution to the changing market place. Searching for ways to offer a service, is what will be a much more promising route.
抱怨並不會對找出「針對市場改變的解決辦法」有任何幫助,尋找主動出擊的機會才是有希望的路。

Let's look at some ideas:
讓我們來看看一些ideas:

A- Read all your local newspapers for interesting stories, or go out to local community centers, and hear what the locals have to say about their lives.
1.閱讀所有在報紙上的有趣故事,或者去一些當地的活動中心,聽聽你生活周遭的人是怎樣述說他們的生活。

Surely something will come up that will catch your attention.
我相信一定會有一些故事引起你的注意。

Be careful to choose ideas that are VISUAL, as you are going to produce a photographic story. Try to imagine, as well, how the local can be of interest to the universal.
請小心的選取一些可以視覺化的點子,因為你將要執行的是一個「用照片來敘述的故事」,同時間你可以試著想像怎樣才能讓這個本土的故事引起全世界的注目。

In other words, doing a story that only touches upon the interests of the local people makes it less appealing on a world wide scale, and indeed we are in a world wide market place.
換句話說,訴說一個只讓本土民眾感到興趣的故事並不能夠吸引全世界,而我們卻正活在一個國際市場裡。

B- Add value to the images you are taking. For instance, in addition to the pictures you took, you could deliver a color selection that you can take to print. Place the images into a PDF presentation. In short, help the client make the best use of your images.
2.替你的影像增加價值。舉例來說,除了你拍的照片之外,你還可以提供不同色彩的選擇作為列印。將你的影像放在PDF檔裡呈現。簡單來說,幫助客戶在使用你的影像上達到最佳效果。

You can even make printed books, to give to your clients. Increasingly wedding photographers are using such techniques, even going to the extent of making video presentations to go with the pictures, that will allow the newly wedded couple have a one stop shopping experience for all their visual needs.
你甚至可以將你的作品印成書送給你的客戶。越來越多的婚禮記錄攝影師就採取這樣的方式,甚至他們還會將一張張的照片串連成影片來滿足現在的新人所有的視覺需求。

C- Think of yourself in terms of a story teller, rather than simply a photographer. That will open up all sorts of creative ideas, consider who needs stories that have not been told before, or told as well.
3.換個角度思考,把你自己當成一位「說故事的人」,不再只是一位單純的「拍照者」,這會使你擁有無限的創意去思考「誰需要還沒有被說過(或已經說了)的故事」。

You now have all kinds of new delivery methods, which can go from an online over Internet presentation to CD ROM/DVD; PDF; formats. There are many more publications of every sort now, than at any time before.
你現在具備了各種不同的媒體,不論是線上的呈現或者是CD ROM/DVD/PDF各種不同的格式,現在這個世界比從前任何一個時候都還多出許許多多的出版形式。

D- If you were a very good printer in the lab, you might use the expert eye that you developed over the years, in order to solve new problems. Printing with a digital printer, still requires that expert eye trained to see what a good print looks like. Or you could scan images for a living, this is not such an easy job and is highly valued.
4.如果你是一個非常專業的影像輸出者,你也許可以運用培養多年的精準眼光去解決新的問題。用數位印表機去輸出仍然需要專家去判別怎樣才是一張好的作品。或者你可以以幫人掃瞄影像為生,這真的不是一件容易的工作並且十分有價值。

E- Add sound to your still images. That is another way of enhancing values and finding new clients. There are a number of web sites (New York Times, Washington Post) who have been publishing stories were use multimedia.
5.增加聲音搭配你的靜態影像。這是另一種方式將你的作品增值並尋找新的客戶。現在有一些網站(New York Times、Washington Post)已經運用多媒體方式來出版他們的故事。

F- The sole market for educational and training programs is larger that it ever was in the past. Contribute more than just attempting to deliver the pictures, try to contribute ideas that are related to educational programs which might need video feeds or texts.
6.現在教育跟訓練課程的獨立市場比以前都還來得大。試著不要只是將照片拿去投稿,還可以提供一些跟「可能需要影片或文字來輔助的教育課程」相關的ideas。

G- If you like food, then you have a world of ideas to explore just taking pictures of food preparation in places that are new, other than the traditional kitchen and well lit studio. These are fun stories, and offer an array of possibilities for documentary photographers.
7.如果你喜歡食物,那你就擁有一個尚待開發的世界,去拍攝食物在不同的新地點準備的過程,不再只是傳統的廚房跟明亮的攝影棚。這些都是很好玩的故事,並且提供了紀實攝影師數不盡的可能性。

H- I don't know why documentary photographers always have to think in terms of making pictures of the downtrodden, the poor, or the exploited, in short, stories of injustice.
8.我不知道為什麼紀實攝影師總是喜歡拍攝貧窮或剝削這些受壓迫負面的事物,簡單來說就是「一切非正義的故事」。

I always find it very suspect when the photographer thinks that his or her ax to grind can only be by addressing histories that are hugely dramatic, such as wars, famine, drought, plague, invasion or destruction. What about the other side of life? I am thinking of the very wonderful story by Lauren Greenfield, Girl Culture Or her recent story she did on the super rich in China.
我始終懷疑當攝影師陳述悲慘的歷史事件時,比如說飢荒、旱災、瘟疫、侵略、毀滅,其實是別有居心甚至是想成就自己的。難道沒有人關心生命的另一面嗎?這讓我想起了一個由Lauren Greenfield拍攝的非常美麗的故事Girl Culture,或是他最近報導的一個中國富商的故事。

I- I don't think there is a woman, man or child, that has not gotten some sort of spam mail, offering penis enlargement products, or fake Rolex watches.
9.我不認為會有任何人沒收過一些垃圾郵件,廣告一些讓陰莖變大的產品或者是仿冒的勞力士手錶。

Yet I have never seen anywhere a story related to all of these, so called "industries". I am sure there must be someplace in the world, a warehouse from which all this stuff gets sent out.
然而到目前為止我還沒看過任何一個關於這種「工業」的報導及故事。我確信這世界上一定有一間批發商負責將這些貨品寄送出去。

I could also imagine, that someone must produce all these items, but where? how? who makes all these watches? in China? what do those factories look like? How many fake Rolex watches get made each hour?
我也可以想像一定有人在製造這些東西,但是是在哪裡製造的?如何製造的?又到底是誰製造了這些仿冒手錶?在中國嗎?那些工廠看起來是什麼樣子呢?一個小時又有多少假的勞力士被製造出來呢?

And all those women students who offer their bodies over the internet, in every variety of peep show possible, in order to supplement their income as "students". That is a culture unto itself, where are all those stories?
以及那些所有透過不同的網路偷窺秀販賣自己身體的女學生,為了能夠賺取足夠的金錢去應付作為一個「學生」的開支,這是一個本末倒置的現象,那這些故事又在哪裡?

J- the excuse that there are no major magazines interested in publishing interesting stories is probably untrue.
10.有些人用「現在沒有主流雜誌對報導有趣的故事有興趣」來當藉口,但這應該不是事實。

What I think has happened is that the major magazines are the ones that are in a process of publishing remission, but that does not mean that there aren't hundreds and hundreds of new publications, all over the world, which use a lot of photographic essays.
主流雜誌或許正處於一個出版低潮的過程,但是這不並代許多在全世界各地發行並刊登大量攝影文章的新刊物也一樣。

Every time I travel by plane, I find the pocket in front of my seat, all sorts of publications, that use lots and lots of photography. Just go to a newsstand, and count the number of magazines that you can find there.
我每一次搭飛機旅行,我都會發現在我座位前面的口袋裡有一堆大量運用攝影的刊物,只要去任何一間報刊販賣攤數一下雜誌的數量你就可以明白。

K- If you look at what happened with commercial television, and apply the same sort of analysis to photography you will see what I mean.
11.如果你注意到商業電視台發生了什麼事,並且用同樣的邏輯去分析攝影你就會懂我的意思。

Sure, the large television networks have lost audience, but does that mean that people are watching less television? I don't think so. They are just watching it through different channels, such as cable for instance, or Youtube over the internet, or DVDs.
當然,大型電視台流失了許多觀眾,但這就代表人們比較少看電視了嗎?我不這樣認為。他們只是分佈在不同的頻道上,像是有線電視台、或者是網路上的Youtube以及DVD。

Yes the markets have changed, but not so the consumption of video images and stories. Story telling is alive and well.
對,市場已經改變了,但是影像跟故事的消耗量並沒有減少,「說故事」的需求始終存在著。

I am sure that you can contribute any number of even better ideas to this roster of possibilities, the whole point is to bring out the notion that we have a lot more to gain, by thinking constructively rather than complaining. And just as in any other endeavor at this time, we as photographers have to also find ways to adjust our work to the prevailing change of winds. Remember, "it is not the gale but the set of the sails".
我確信你現在能夠提供更多更好的ideas在這一份探討未來可能性的清單上面,同時間我想再三強調的概念就是「積極思考比起抱怨能夠讓你獲得更多東西」,這次,如同之前的每一次努力,我們攝影師必須找到方法去調整我們的工作來順應時代的潮流,記得這句話:「事在人為」。

Pedro Meyer
Coyoacan, Mexico

July, 2007

(中文翻譯:徐聖淵 / CHINESE TRANSLATOR:HSU,SHENG-YUAN)

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