The last post was the most popular ever and for a while I was obsessively checking the viewer count. I would yell out to Rosie, my sister and chief editor, “We hit the big FIVE NINE!!!” to which she would reply “Cat videos get 10 times that in a minute, loser” which is true of course, but its cool to think of 59 people reading the bullshit I scribble down. On one of these pathetic checks I noticed that a lot of people were finding my blog from a website called photographsonthebrain.com so I clicked on it and they had one of my pictures, well this one exactly
It had been favorited like 30 times on their site. This has happened to me before, I first noticed it when I googled my name to find out if eddypula.com came up first, what I found was that my pictures were all over the web, on all sorts of articles. A picture I took at a comic book convention was on a gay navy blog about the fist openly homosexual Archie character.
My self portrait as Weegee was used an article about using OPC (other people’s content) for marketing, how ironic. And most disturbingly all my bikini chicks were on all these weird Thai porn sites. I felt terrible about that, these women had trusted me (for some reason) and now Thai men were busting nuts over them. Of course there is no shortage of more erotic pictures on the internet, and I made these pictures available to masterbators on my site, but the context was so weird and creepy I felt complicit in something awful. What did I do about it?
Nothing, I felt conflicted. I liked that people saw the illustrative value of my pictures, but I was gaining nothing. In fact less than nothing, no one had asked me if they could use them, most of the blogs credited me, but if I hadn’t checked I would have never known. Obviously I want people to see my work, It was interesting to see my pictures being used in a editorial fashion, and all this random exposure could be nothing but good. What really irked me was that besides the theoretical exposure I got nothing, not even a heads up. I would like to make money, lots of money to buy all the cameras and cigarettes I need, but hey information wants to be free right, and I don’t think that the guy who writes the gay navy blog was making stacks off my picture? These people (Or weird internet ‘spiders’) hadn’t had the decency to shoot me an email and say “Hey man I love your work, could I use it on this weird conspiracy site for an article about how cell phones give you cancer?” (True story)
Now I’ll get to money in a bit, but this lack of basic courtesy pisses me off. I know how it feels to be making work and feel like no one cares, so when I find somebody who’s doing groovy stuff I make a point to write them a long rambling appreciation letter. I got such an email when I was 15 and making a public access television show, I printed it out and read it seven thousand times, I couldn’t believe it, some one had actually watched my stupid videos and felt compelled to write me a decent critique out of the blue? “I must be on to something” thought little Eddy and soldiered on.
Now it should be noted that I have no idea how the internet works. Half the stupid blogs I read just take others people’s posts, videos and pictures and paste them up every couple of hours. The little feature Jair Burbank did on me was on something called ISO 1200 with every single fact changed in the intro text. I helped make a short piece on the closing of a Japanese Arcade in Los Angeles, and within hours it was on every gaming website. It seems to me that people have gotten used to these aggregator sites constantly having new media and don’t know or care who made them. Duh, that’s how the internet works Eddy. I just never realised the implications until it happened to me. I have a friend who makes a decent living tweeting about Taco Bell, but pictures won’t get you nowhere. That friend once told me that he felt sorry for me that we live in a time where no one values what I can do. I’m not sure that’s true, I have dreams of shooting for the New Yorker or New York Times (Side note Nick Nixon did that last year) they won’t be in print of course, but we’ll be able to look at them on our ipads… right? I don’t want to whine but there has to be some one who might want to pay me for my little black and white squares in the future. Now people want them but they don’t have the decency to even ask.
Money, I don’t have it, and the Rolleiflex my friend bought me is broken and needs like $300 of work. Luckily I have a beat to shit rolleicord as backup so I can keep this train I just got started up rolling on. I once read in a survival book that the best tool you can have in the wilderness is two identical rifles, so if both break you can cobble together a Franken-Gun. I learned this the hard way at 14 when my first photo class took a trip to NYC and my camera died the second we got off the bus in Rockefeller plaza. When me and Jenna Mac got to Mississippi I dropped my crown graphic during a parade on the 2nd day of a 2 month trip, luckily I had the foresight to bring 3 graphics in varying states of disrepair I could take parts off of (The best part of those cameras is almost any one can fix them with a screwdriver and butter knife and you can pick up beaters for like 100 bucks) The moral of the story is you need at least 17 cameras to make one good picture of a guy on his Alpaca Farm and for that you need lots of money. So start a tumbler about the new Dorito taco shell (I got inside info) and rake it in before you try and make any art.