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We asked our talented freelance photographers . . .

What have you been doing since we stopped paying you?

Posted 8/26/2009

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Frank Klein

I haven't shot much of my usual Baltimore street stuff, as I feel the city has gotten more dangerous with the low economy. People are willing to do anything to support their needs in these times, including taking things from others. I drive to and from the west-side train station every day, and the dealers and people trying to get to us in the car are much more aggressive these days.

I am very wary of taking my equipment out as it is soooo expensive. When you shoot a lot, your equipment takes hits, and with an income that is down 75 percent, there is no way to replace or repair equipment right now. So I just don't take it out as much, whereas before my camera was with me 24/7.

In the past year I did the Artscape Photo Booth, shot Cool DJ Willy at Red Maple for promo stuff, and got maybe 10 to 20 editorial assignments. I fell back on some of my other skills and worked for Comcast part-time, auditing aerial line connections, dangerous stuff for a guy without health insurance.

I've also spent a lot more time north of the city in parks near water with the dog and the girl, as it does not cost much to spend the day on the Little Gunpowder. So I've got a lot of dog- and environmental-type images from river areas and have not been shooting much besides that.

I've done a lot more pro-bono work and just tried to stay busy so I can keep up with the advances in technology, something we need to do to remain desirable in this field. I feel like I need to stay in touch with the socio-cultural issues and changes within several differing demographics in this city--again, to remain viable.

Without support or sharing the load, I think I might be on the street, on food stamps, and I'm sure my equipment would be gone by now to keep a roof over my head. And yes, that is a big THANK YOU! Also to anyone else in a similar predicament, it can be tough, a good test at strengthening relationships. As long as you attempt to do your best and acknowledge the truth of the situation, hopefully we'll get through it intact.

On a lighter note I feel like we are coming out of it and there are more opportunities out there now, and I've got my foot in the door with a few of them.

Michael Northrup

Since City Paper cut us way back, this recession, and, worse yet, stock photography has fallen off, I've decided to not give a damn. During the lulls in work, I'm doing something I've always wanted to do: fly. I can't afford the real thing, so models are next best. It's been a rich learning experience. The guys I fly with have become kindred spirits. They come from all walks of life, each with a different and interesting story. And the common factor is we all love flying. My M.O. does not allow me to go at this casually, so I'm starting to compete in pattern flying, going to regional meets, and slowly buying planes against our mortgage.

I always feel a little guilty being out flying while work trickles along at a snail's pace. But recently I saw Jesse Ventura on Larry King, and he was talking about his complete involvement with surfing. He said, "If someone were that dedicated to religion, would they call them a religious bum?" What makes surfing important? It's a human endeavor and that alone makes it worthwhile. I know deep down I'm doing the right thing.,

Christopher Myers

I've been working hard and hardly working. Since there is no work, I have been concentrating on self promotion. My brand new site is up. I have sent out tons of promo cards, littered the electronic world with e-mail blasts about my biz, and now I'm just waiting for the flood of work to pour in. I am in a great exhibition at the C. Grimaldis Gallery which opens Sept. 2.

The recession is beating up everyone, and the creative world is really taking it on the chin. My full-time job has now become trying to impress upon clients that I am worth the cash.


I've kept busy during these hard economic times by focusing on my portraiture/wedding business. In September '08, I worked on portraits for WPGC-FM's listener poll, "25 Coolest Brothers of All Time." Portraits in this series include former Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry, recording artist Raheem DeVaughn, and Big Tigger. I'm now hard at work teaching my daughter Anna photography. It is my hope that she can carry the torch even further. [Photo by Annastacia Potts]

Jefferson Jackson Steele

I get "itchy" when I don't get work. I need to get out and make pictures even if there isn't an assignment. This economy has been a real strain for me and many of my freelance friends. Since there hasn't been a lot of work lately, I decided to get out some old film cameras and start having fun with the darkroom again. I've been using two 4x5-inch pinhole cameras, a new panorama camera, and my trusty old view camera to make the images I submitted for this issue. I make photographs because I HAVE TO. Making work for myself can be as gratifying as paid work. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing like a fat paycheck to brighten your day, but making new images because I want to has been really refreshing.

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