As if being in the creative industry isn’t difficult enough.
A Facebook post coming from a notable professional photographer has earned the attention of other Filipino social media users and creatives for slamming his recent client and the whole creative industry for underpaying creative professionals, in effect, amplifying the calls for higher salaries among creative industry workers.
Seven Barretto, a freelance fashion and beauty photographer who is renowned for his contributions to various large and mainstream fashion magazines, including the iconic Metro Magazine 30th Anniversary cover page, expressed his frustrations online regarding a recent incident in which he received inadequate payment for one of his shoots.
“Nakaka-offend yung pinag-shoot ka ng pagkadami-daming artista. 8k lang pala ibibigay sayo. Kulang pa yan pambayad sa assistants ko. This really shows kung gaano kababa respeto nyo sa creatives, [It is offensive to shoot numerous artists and yet they gave you 8k. It is not even enough to pay my assistants. This really shows how low your respect is for creatives.]” he said.
According to him, he had been shooting for the company for many years which was the reason why he felt offended as he received sufficient payment before but recently he found out that he would be receiving 8,000 php for an 8-hour shoot. He claimed that it was not enough as he also paid the venue’s parking fee of 1,100 php.
In the screenshots he released, the anonymous staff responded to his demand of ending the “editorial rate” and paying creatives according to their accomplished deliverables, “And yes for rate, it should’ve been clarified also early on. We’ll be transparent with that moving forward before projects. But please do let us know your asking rate for the ball so that I can relay to the higher ups, and we’ll do what we can do to accommodate your request.”
After contacting and asking the staff, they increased the payment to 20,000 php but he claims that they are insisting on the “editorial rate.”
The company who commissioned Seven Barretto remains unnamed in all his posts.
“I’m also calling out some photography/videography companies. Kayo yung nagpasimula ng ganitong sistema. Pumapayag kayo ng ex-deal or low budget, para sa ano? Makapag-shoot ng celebrities and “exposure.” Kaya tayo inaabuso kasi di nyo alam worth nyo. WE, the creatives are the heart and soul of ART. Without art, We are nothing! Remember: EXPOSURE DOESN’T PAY THE BILLS!!!” the photographer stressed in another Facebook post.
The well-known photographer also thanked brands and clients who provide full and timely payment and accommodate and attend to creatives properly.
As a result of Barretto’s posts, other photographers and artists also mustered the courage to express their own experiences and thoughts about this issue, urging companies and agencies to pay them according to the amount of work performed.
“Masarap magkaroon ng EXPOSURE pero mas masarap na may naiuuwi ka para sa family mo at syempre sa sarili mo na din [It’s nice to have EXPOSURE but it is more preferable if there is something we could brought home to our family as well as to ourselves],” one user commented in Barretto’s post.
“I dont know you personally but thank you for speaking up. If we ALL did this and asked for what we deserve then maybe our industry can finally change. Again, thank you!” another user stated.
It is already known that pursuing a creative career in the Philippines does not typically yield high financial rewards. However, there has long been a clamor within the industry for individuals to receive fair wages and compensation. May this serve as a wake-up call for those who have been undervaluing professionals in the field.
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