Make money with your Carnival photos!

I'm sure that some folks somewhere still think that photographers documenting Carnival and other aspects of Trinidad and Tobago's culture are making a mint from these photographs.

Last week I got phone calls from two large organizations who employ full staffs to accomplish their projects asking for photographs in return for a credit.

Not the popular science fiction notion of credits, that catch-all currency that allows speculative authors to dodge questions about money in the future, which would at least be amusing. Credits, as in this photograph is by its author.

Sometimes I wonder if anyone has noticed the Internet when these discussions come up. Almost inevitably they have found exactly the photo they are looking for or something almost exactly like it on my website. Somehow it escapes their thinking that if they can see the photo, anyone else who is interested in the subject can as well.

Which means I already have an audience. I don't need your textbook or a few seconds on your television show, what I actually want is some of that money you are so happy to spend hiring somebody to talk me into giving you my intellectual property for free.

So those conversations, one with a regional education agency, the other with a State agency, did not go particularly well. One was a phone call and I can't be bothered to recall the details of it, but the other was a Facebook chat message from a particularly entrepreneurial young person.

This is how that went...

"Good day Mr. Lyndersay,
I am sending this message just in case you have not yet gotten my voice mail. I am trying to get a photo of Rose Jaggessar when she won Queen in 2010 with Wakanisha.
I am working with [named State agency] and I am producing a feature on mas making.
I have a license that you can sign authorizing me to use your photo specifically for that purpose only to protect your rights. I will credit you at the end of course."

"Hello [representative of State Agency].
Not to shoot the messenger or anything, but why would I want to do that?
I am, quite specifically by this message, denying [named State agency] access to my image.
When your boss or his secretary or even his cleaning lady want to come to my office and do some work for credit, please let me know."

"I would be deeply gratified if you would pass this message on to your superiors as is.
I understand this is not coming from you, but you are the conduit through which my response must pass.
Thanks for contacting me. Please feel to get in touch when there's a budget available to pay for hard work.
Oh, and if anyone thinks I'm being rude, that will give them an idea of just how insulting I find requests like these."

"OK thank you for the prompt response."
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