It was most refreshing to see a major photo blog mention, even in passing, the economics of present day photodom. No, not about how to save pennies on the latest, greatest software- but how the whole shebang we (somewhat) know and love has priced itself into the stratosphere. Forget about collecting prints, you're damn lucky if you can afford to make your own!
Museums cost $20, photographic paper costs more without silver than it did with. Work this one gig for free, and you're guaranteed more nonpaying jobs than your fastest burst rate will allow! Yes, you're in control... only you can choose between Canon or Nikon, Photoshop or Lightroom! New lenses, bodies, software, apps- ever forward... It's the digital age; if you can't take advantage of all the new and wondrous opportunities all around- you have no one to blame but yourself!
Of course, it's not just photography. When my parents first came to NYC in the early '50s, they had a host of unskilled jobs to choose from. No, they sure didn't pay much, but they kept you off the street- their first place of residence on mainland USA was in... SOHO- a $15 cold water flat that afforded them enough to save up for an apartment in Brooklyn. And work they did, every year's end my father also worked the PO for the Christmas rush. That was always the American dream- work your ass off and you'll survive, no matter who you are (and we'll even let ya pick up a couple of chachkas along the way). And if you had skills, an education- the whole damn oyster was yours!
Today, unskilled jobs that provide an actual living wage are as nostalgic a dream as the the sixties themselves. And a quality education will rocket you into fast debt and a guaranteed death race with the thousands of others competing for the same job. The middle class has been quietly killed off while we work harder, longer hours for less pay, less benefits and little hope of upward mobility. The fifties brought education and prosperity; and in turn, the sixties brought self awareness and a certain degree of enlightenment as to how things actually work- and the one percent has been reclaiming their sovereignty with every trick and low blow ever since. It's no longer about a successful working class, it's about a subservient and cheap labor class. Equality, shared responsibility and proportional rewards are for losers.