This is a response to the availability of internships at LUCIMA STUDIO.
Last year I thought I could train the interns to do the nitty gritty, but I quickly realized that they neither had the skill sets nor desire to execute those tasks. I was somewhat shocked when I requested my interns to figure out how to sync/share my iCal with everyone... yet no one could figure it out.
I wound up doing it myself. Something that took me less than 5 minutes of Googling and experimenting with iCal.
Being a professional photographer is really just a matter of being entrepreneurial and resourceful. I don't imagine those things can be taught. You either are or aren't independent-thinking and proactive.
And I think that's what it came down to. I found that the interns weren't capable (or driven) to think freely and push my business forward. Everyone had to be told what to do.
Now on the other hand, I too have responsibility in this matter because I have a hard time letting go of responsibility because I have a hard time trusting that it will be done correctly. Furthermore when interns aren't paid for their time, there's a lot less motivation to put in 110%.
But even then, I could see in the eyes of some of my interns the utter lack of attention and ability to hold focus. If these interns were cameras, they would be cameras that could acquire focus on a subject but then would quickly slip out-of-focus for no apparent reason.
It's very frustrating interacting with people that have the attention span of a goldfish.
Which gets me to thinking that most photographers these days (myself included) aren't cut out to be good apprentices or interns. As a lot, they simply don't have the patience to sit down and learn properly. These days it's too easy to bypass the standard operating procedures. No one I know actually flips through the manual anymore. They Google/YouTube what they want to know. Now, any 17-year-old can hit Best Buy and buy a 5DMII with a kit lens and call himself/herself a photographer... or worse a wedding photographer and bid for jobs. Which is incidentally why wedding photography prices are being driven down.
This is really a rant on the instant gratification that everyone seems to be chasing. Or rather the entitlement that I see is so rampant amongst Americans in general, but more so the current generation of kids that have rarely put in a hard day's worth of work. I'm not sure if it's the parenting or reality TV, but every kid with a Facebook/Myspace account believes they are special, that they deserve their own show... When the reality is that they possess no talent and lack the drive to actually do anything about it.
But then maybe you'll strike gold and be a cast member on Jersey Shore?
It goes back to the whole T-ball society I blogged about before.
It's a double-edged sword, really. While digital made photography easily accessible to the average Joe, it also raised the level of competition. There really are some really gifted young photographers out there pushing the envelope; an envelope that hasn't been pushed in decades. But with that being said, there are so many more average photographers that feel like they ought to do better than they are currently doing. They believe they're undervalued for their talent... when really they're not.
I believe you get exactly what you deserve in life.
Here's the reality of photography as a business. Photography is photography. But being a professional photographer is not just about the photography.
I'm going to say this again, "Being a professional photographer is not just about the photography".
You can be the best photographer in the world and still be threatened by bankruptcy (*cough Annie Liebowitz).
Surviving as a professional photographer means being a successful entrepreneur. And as free-thinking and revolutionary as our kids are, they lack the discipline, dedication, and sheer attention span to be successful entrepreneurs. Most of the time it's because they're looking for shortcuts (or just weaseling out of doing things they don't want to do). And while that's "great out-of-the-box" thinking, when push comes to shove, somebody's gotta do the bullshit that nobody wants to do. When you're an entrepreneur, that somebody is you. But when nobody is willing to do those tasks, the business ultimately falls apart.
So, no. The current generation of kids these days aren't built for apprenticeships/internships. They might be great at photography but they amount to very little as professional photographers. They spend too much time wondering why they're under-appreciated and undervalued and not enough time working hard to build the right foundations for a good business.
Does that mean I'm going to stop taking interns? Nope, it just means that I need to be more selective about which ones I take. I am still open to suggestions. I am still looking for interns that can do things that I can't do. I am still looking for interns that can challenge the way I do things in general and provide me new perspectives. I'm still looking for interns that are proactive and can generate new revenue streams and or increase current revenue streams. Later on I might even create paid internships but most likely after I find a manager who can help me with the current set of tasks that undermine me on a regular basis. Hell, if you can demonstrate why and how you're not exactly what I've described above, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me why you would be a great intern.