Morning glow on Lake Yojoa, Honduras
There are only few things a human being needs to survive and photography is not one of them. Basic things needed for a human to survive are food, shelter and water. Fire is not a basic need but is needful and comes in handy both to keep one warm and to cook food. Nobody eats a photograph. Nobody drinks a photograph. Nobody builds shelter from photography. Photography is needless to say almost needless.
Having said this there is an other thing called craving and there is a huge craving for photography. Craving and needs are two totally different things and should never be mixed. Craving, urge and longing for some thing is all to often mixed with need.
The discussion on weather a photographer should mark his images with his name and copyright when posting to the net comes up regularly and even more now that we have this diabolic thing called Creative Commons that pushes and urges young photographers to give away their creation, all because there is said to bee so big need for it. There has never been bigger demand for photography but still there is no more need for it now than ever before. The so called need is false and based on longing and greed, not necessity.
Like any machine the human body needs fuel to function. The fuel for the human body is food. In todays modern society only handful of people grow all their food or gather their water. Let alone build their shelter. As this is the fact, the modern day photographer therefore is in need to make a product that he can sell or trade, in order to get food, water and shelter. On top of that to be able to produce photographs to trade or sell he has to get his hands on equipment to do so. This equipment does not come cheap.
People like to be surrounded by nice things and photographs are amongst those thing. Daydreaming, a favorite of many and in some cases a necessity for some to survive, is often made with the assistance of a photograph from a beautiful and/or faraway place and photography helps in keeping memories in place.
All this is beautiful but none is necessary for ones survival. Photography is therefore more of a dream fulfiller than bread and butter thing.
In order to survive in the harsh world kindness and helping hand are useful instruments to make life bearable on this planet. Lending a helping hand makes life easier and helping a stranger in need can fuel the soul. Days filled with joy are brighter than days filled with sorrow and grayness. Helping people get out of their gray world in to the colorful world we live in is joyful and giving, as long as we don't let others cease the moment and use the opportunity to take advantage of our kindness.
In order for a photographer to function and be able to fulfill peoples dream of a beautiful world and nice surroundings, the photographers needs to find away to fuel his engine so he can help people live in their dream world. This he does by selling photographs, books and calendars and if he is very skillful by teaching others how to take photographs.
One of todays most used excuse for why a photographer should use Creative commons on his photographs is that there are Bloggers in the alm of Cyber world that need images to make the blog space more beautiful. Those blogger, it is claimed, do not have the money to buy photography to use on their blog, and therefore you, as a photographer and the good samaritan should provide them with this need.
Well my take on this is simple. This is no need. Its a craving and craving is often in cooperation with greed. If they are in such a devastating need to get photographs let them A sell their latest smartphone to get those photographs or B their need is not big enough. If they are not willing to sacrifice any thing in order to get the image, their need is none but their craving is big and their greed is huge.
Of course there can come occasions where there is a true need and in such a case you should do your best to fulfill that need if possible, specially if that can help in the greater good of mankind. But those cases are rare and when they come they should be well presented to you.
People tend to pay more for what they want than the things they need strangely enough. If you are a photographer and you can fulfill this urge of people to be surrounded by the beauty and magic of photography, you should not give that away as easily as a presidential candidate spreads a propaganda flyer. Yo have taken on the assignment to fulfill peoples dream and wants, and in order to do that, your engine has to be fully working. For the engine to work and be creative you have to supply the engine with fuel and the body with tools to work with.
If you give your images away you can do neither. By giving your work away you are in fact killing creativity and with it killing peoples dreams. Your assignment is to fulfill that dream not kill it. If you have to work double shift to be able to fulfill peoples dream, you are thereby slowly killing both your dream, the dream producing machine and in the end your families dream.
As a photographer you are obligated to take care of and fuel that engine. You have this obligation towards your self, your family and your children. To be able to fuel that engine you have to say no to Creative Commons and sell your images, except in those extra ordinary cases where your work can be used for the greater good of mankind.
There is a big difference between a need and greed. Don't let any one take advantage of your kindness. Don't be victim to greed.