Visuals are an ever more critical part of our media diet, but photographers continue to face economic precarity, among other challenges.
The State of Photography 2022 Report, sponsored by CatchLight and the Knight Foundation, represents the first international study of photographers that specifically looks to understand the experiences of image makers from historically marginalized communities.
In this event, Tara Pixley, the lead author of the report, and an award-winning visual journalist, professor, and co-founder and director of Authority Collective, is in conversation with David Campbell about the landscape of photography and what is it like to be a photographer in 2022 as revealed by The State of Photography survey.
David Campbell: So, in this event, we’re going to be talking about the findings of the state of photography in 2022 report which was sponsored by Catchlight in the Knight Foundation. It’s great to have Tara here with us. Tara is the lead author of the report. She’s a photojournalist, filmmaker, and media scholar based in Los Angeles, Associate Professor of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University and co-founder and director of The Authority Collective, a person with not very much spare time, I think. And also, just to say at the beginning, I was one of the authors of the report, along with Tara. But Tara was by far the key driver in the whole process. And so, we thought it would be useful to have this conversation, bring the report to people’s attention, discuss the major findings. And importantly, also think about the implications of what the data shows for how the profession might go forward, some of the lessons to be learned, and hopefully, maybe even some of the solutions that we can think about and think about encouraging Daraa, you’re going to do a short presentation for us with some of the key findings. And I just want to say to people in the audience, as always, we’re very keen to make it as interactive as possible, please drop questions into the q&a box. I’ll bring those into the conversation as we go along, or we’ll definitely cover them at the end. I’ll have a couple of questions along the way, as well. So yeah, Tara. Take it away.
Tara Pixley: Thank you so much, David, and VII, for having me. And thank you, everyone, for being here today. It’s really wonderful to be able to talk about this very important work. And I think David is downplaying himself a little bit. I apologize. My cat has excellent sense of timing to just show up and start meowing in the background. One of the things I think it’s really important to know is that this project that we published in 2022, was really building on previous surveys that World Press Photo had done. And I’ll go ahead and start sharing my screen now. Can everyone see that?
David Campbell: Yes, that’s good.
Tara Pixley: Excellent. So, as you can see, David and I were joined by Martin Smith Rodan, who was a professor of journalism at oh, goodness, the Ball State University. And he was our wonderful statistician. And then also Adrian Hadland, at University of Stirling, who had worked previously with David on several of the other World Press photo surveys with Reuters and other University of Stirling professors. And I wanted to, again, pay homage to that work, as well as speak to how this state of photography was different. So, for those of you who might be unfamiliar with these surveys, and David, please jump in, because you were actually working on these and I was not. They started in 2015. That correct?
David Campbell: Yep.
Tara Pixley: Yeah, so we had the 2015 and 2016 and 2018, state of news photography survey and then the subsequent report. And the September 2015 report, the original one, state of news photography, the lives and livelihoods of photojournalist in the digital age, was this really wonderful, comprehensive report that looked at kind of what it meant to be a photojournalist in this time where we are rapidly shifting how we do this work. But something really important came out of that as well. And that was the recognition that there were only 15% of news photographers who according to that survey were female, and also 65% were coming primarily from Western nations. Now, something important to note about those surveys is that they were taken from the contest entrance to World Press Photo. So that’s a pretty constrained respondent pool.
David Campbell: And I think, you know, we’re going to talk about kind of the way also these have their own particular constraints, but this was a major one for this one. I mean, we, I was working for the organization at that time, and we wanted to make things much more transparent about who was part of the country. And it was also at that stage when people were really rightly and perhaps even belatedly starting to think about gender bias. And that was becoming a huge issue. So, we wanted to make the data transparent, but it was the people we surveyed with those who applied to join the contest between December and January of the previous year. So, that’s a huge preselection. And so that tells you something about people who work for agencies, large news agencies, a lot of freelancers, too. But people who stepped forward to join that contest.
Tara Pixley: And I think, you know, this data that came out that the industry was 85% male was really startling. And certainly, there are many people who felt that but to have that in data form, and to see the statistic was, I think, in large part, it led to the formation of projects like Women Photograph, Authority Collective, Diversify Photo. It’s much easier to argue for those kinds of gender disparities when you have a statistic like that, and you can point to some kind of quantitative data. And also, the first two World Press surveys didn’t ask a question about race or ethnicity. So, that component of how the industry is structured. And what level of inequity or disparity might exist was less clear than those gender disparities, which leads us to—
David Campbell: I’ll just dropped in the chat, I’m just going to drop the link to where those reports are, because they’re still available online.
Tara Pixley: And they’re very much worth a read. I think it’s so important that work that you did and thank you for leading those those efforts. And I’m also very happy that you joined us for this 2022. We actually started this project — it published in 2022. But we started it in the latter half of 2020. So, it was a long form work in progress. And some of the things you can see here, I’ve offered a few of the report statistics, we had 1325 participants from 87 countries. And you can see that the gender demographics were very different for this survey. So, it was 49%, female identified and 46% male identified. And I think a lot of that was due to the different, kind of where we were circulating the survey. So, we opened it up to anyone, anyone who identified as a photographer, we moved away from just news photography and said, state of photography, because we hoped to capture a little bit more about who’s working in the industry. And I think it’s true that many people work across spaces these days. A lot of folks can’t just be news photographers, and so we wanted to kind of recognize that in this this report. And we were really trying to understand a few specific things. What are the barriers to entry to a photography career? What are some of the issues that photographers are facing that are informed by their identity? And what is the diversity of photographic work and shifting genres of photography that people are perhaps experiencing?
So, thinking about those two together, those two surveys together, we started asking questions about, well, what are you doing in your job to, you know, what forms of photography are you doing? And also, are you doing anything in addition to that, and we saw, and you can see here that photographers are working expansively across many different industries and spaces. A lot are teaching, or working in film, are also writing, working for nonprofits. There’s a lot of overlap between video and graphic design. And some things that we were thinking about that is, on the one hand, it shows a great diversity of skill sets and interest in photographers. On the other hand, it might speak to how photographers are struggling to make ends meet purely from photography. And I think both of those things are true, actually. So, we saw quite a bit of, as I mentioned, that financial precarity 78% of the people that we surveyed, believed that socio economic disparity generally limited a photographer’s success.
And, you know, I mentioned that the previous surveys and World Press Photo reports led to the kind of founding of several different organizations and Women Photograph, which is, hopefully most of you have heard of that. But it’s a kind of massive network of women photographers across the world has more than 1000 members. That was a big pool of our survey respondents here. And we saw that in in the shifting gender demographics there. So. that was kind of interesting to see how one survey, you know, the 2015, and seven years later, we’re seeing this really big change. So, one of the things that we I mentioned that we wanted to understand barriers to entry, and we found out a lot about financial precarity. And I forgot to mention that Martin and I had actually done a smaller survey that I think we had respondents around a little bit over 700 photographers, and we did that. And also, with Catchlight and during the kind of height of COVID. So in April, May, June of 2020. And that survey was seeking to understand how were photographers being impacted by COVID. What were some of the kinds of immediate concerns they were experiencing? And we saw from that survey that people were really I’ll go back a second actually, the people were experiencing a lot of financial precarity. And so, we kind of wanted to build on that and that’s when we we brought in David and Adrian. We also worked with Paul Lambert from University of Stirling, who was very instrumental in in helping us kind of form the link the survey the the state of photography report came from.
So, that’s a huge recognition that these economic disparities starting out, made it difficult for photographers to succeed. And also understanding that there are particularities about being a photographer that make it difficult to have socio socio economic parity and stability, one of those things being that you have to often carry a lot of debt, which we found 54% or so more than half of our photographers surveyed were carrying a great deal to some debt due to payment terms in the industry. And I want to back up a little bit to talk about barriers to entry before we can even get to the point of photographers, you know, kind of carrying this debt when they’re doing assignment work. We found that your economic background and your social socio economic like kind of class or status starting out figured heavily and who can become a photographer. Obviously, you have to have a certain standard of gear, you have to have the camera, the lenses in order to do any work as a photographer. But there’s also this level of having the right kind of gear to be kind of respected in the field. So, you know, obviously, if you don’t have a telephoto lens can’t really photograph the Olympics and many other things. So, if you don’t have the sharpest glass or the latest 4k technology, then will you be deemed worthy of the best assignments.
So, from starting out to, you know, throughout your career, there’s this expectation of having access to very, very expensive equipment. And we’re seeing that that resulted in a sort of barrier to entry has also a sense of maybe having to travel. And, you know, thinking about what kinds of identities and backgrounds can have access to the gear, access to travel, oftentimes access to do long form projects, photography projects, or take unpaid internships, who has the the kind of wealth to do those, those sorts of things that launch careers. And then even when you do get into assignment work, and you’re making, you’re having some success, having to keep up with the the level of gear and then having to front load, you know, for example, paying for different rentals, paying for your own travel expenses, all of these things that a lot of people are putting on credit cards. And if you’re getting paid past that kind of net 30, then you’re actually incurring the cost of the annual percentage rates and things like that. You’re paying the interest fees for the debt that you’re accruing, just to do the work. So, we ask questions about that. And we found that that was a really big hindrance to people’s ability to sustain the level of work in the field. And we also noticed some pay inequity that photographers from historically marginalized backgrounds reported making far less than their white and male counterpoints. So, you can see here that we kind of broke this down into or I should clarify that we had a few different categories that were working within the surveys. So, we had kind of all photographer respondents. And then we looked at photographers who identified as a person of color, as nonbinary or as a woman. And we kind of put all of those respondents together and assessed those— that as kind of a marginalized population category so that we could understand how are people who identify in these ways, perhaps having different experiences than people who do not identify with any of those marginalized populations. And we saw some really startling significant findings there that people who are identifying as primarily white, western, and male are making 10 to $20,000, more than those who are coming from the women, nonbinary and people of photographers of color spaces.
Tara Pixley: Did we want to stop for any questions, David, I saw that a few folks had some.
David Campbell: Not for the moment. I’ll bring those in in a second.
Tara Pixley: Okay. And another big issue we saw, and this is something that we were thinking about from, of course, COVID. And how health precarity is really impacting photographers, we were frontline workers during COVID, even when we weren’t necessarily being identified as such, you have to be physically present in the hospital at the space of retirement homes and places where people were very sick and dying. And of course, in places where you’re in abject danger, such as war, in conflict zones, so photographers are always putting themselves in a lot of danger for their physical person. And we have found that a lot of photographers don’t have health insurance, you know, a kind of concerning amount. So, this chart is perhaps a little bit confusing. This is a percentage of photographers that did not have health insurance. And you can see, it’s predominantly photographers of color who are experiencing a lack of access to health insurance. So, 20.3% of black photographers surveyed said they did not have it, did not have health insurance in 16.2% of Latin X photographers, 13%, of Asian photographers. So, thinking about that health precarity, we also saw that, you know, this lack of access to health insurance can impact things as difficult as dealing with an unexpected injury or illness or as common as when deciding if and when to have a family. And we actually saw that there was a disparity in who can be a parent, because we asked questions about in the survey, we asked, you know, who is the parent? What is your family structure look like? Do you have to take care of other family members. And the data showed that it was mostly male photographers that were parents or who stated that they were parents, despite more than half of the photographers surveyed, or nearly half of the photographers surveyed being women. So, we needed to ask a few more questions. And I hope subsequent surveys, we’ll dig into that, because we didn’t have enough questions around that to kind of triangulate what that might be or why that might be rather. But I think that’s really interesting. And it kind of points to who can actually be a photographer, a working full-time photographer and a parent. And as the working photographer, and I’ve been a parent of two for almost my entire photojournalism career, I can say that it is quite difficult to be a woman in the industry and also to be a mother.
David Campbell: Yeah. Couple of questions, Tara. One from Ted on the health insurance stats. Are those stats from the United States, or are they from the global population?
Tara Pixley: Great question. So, this is from the global population. But we did have a question that recognized all of the different ways in which people can have health insurance. So, we do understand that very unfortunately, the US does not have a successful health insurance, social safety net, as many other Western nations do, and many other nations in general. So, I don’t think that we, this is a great question for Martin. I don’t think that we specified who these statistics, like what nation these these respondents were coming from, and that’s something we could certainly do. But this represents the entirety of our respondents on a global scale.
David Campbell: And a previous, on the question of earnings from Jim, the figures about how much people earned and the links with race and marginalization. Are those annual figures, the amount of money earned, from photography, or from all their economic activity. So, that diverse portfolio of work that we talked about earlier.
Tara Pixley: So, we had two questions that asked how much you earned, just in general, and how much you earn from photography. I think that this pay equity, these statistics here were more general, that this is, you know, what is your average earnings. We also saw that the average earnings in photography seemed quite low, but I think because this is a global respondent pool, people are going to be making a lot less in certain parts of the world in USD than they will be in you know, perhaps like in, If we looked at a comparative to Australia or the UK or of course, the US. So, those are excellent questions. So, this, but essentially, this is general, this is a global population. So hopefully that kind of clarifies the lowness of the numbers. But I think that’s also something that that led me to think about is pay disparity in and how news organizations and other organizations might be paying less to photographers who are working in the global south than they are the photographers working in the global north. And that’s something I’ve actually heard others say, and even commercial art directors saying, well, they live in Tanzania, they don’t need to make as much as someone living in LA, but I personally believe it should be equal pay for equal work. And that would then be reflected in these numbers, you know, if everyone was getting paid the same, regardless of where they lived, if they’re working for that same outlet, so something to think about there as well.
David Campbell: Is there commissions for work that is going to often circulate globally, or it might be the case that, you know, if they’re working for a major news agency, there may be, quote, a local photographer, working in Tanzania or wherever. But their global news agency is part of the global digital economy. And it’s selling those images on to western and northern clients at high rates.
Tara Pixley: Absolutely. Yeah. You know, I mean, even here in the US, living in Los Angeles, or New York, costs quite a bit more than living in Omaha, Nebraska, but the New York Times pays us all the same pay rate, or at least to my knowledge. So, that should be extrapolated, I think, to some degree, you know, on a global scale.
David Campbell: Yeah, absolutely.
Tara Pixley: Just go forward. So, thinking still about those pay disparities, I mentioned that women on average, are paid $10,000 less than their male counterparts. And we can imagine why 46% of the female photographers surveyed might be grappling with remaining in the visual media industry. So, this is leaning, you know, thinking about how financial precarity might also lend itself to barriers to retention, people feeling like they can’t, they can’t actually sustain a livelihood in photography, and so they’re thinking about leaving. And then we also saw, and I think this is something we really wanted to understand. And that I think, David, you were really instrumental in pushing us to think about how to ask questions so we can see what were people thinking about in the field? What are the main issues that people are experiencing? And we, you know, there are many things, we have and please do read the whole report, it’s quite more extensive than the like top notes that I pulled out here. And of course, I’m pulling out things that I find really interesting or really important. And there will be many other things that I think will be resonant for different people in different ways. But we saw that when we asked photographers, what do you think are problems in the field of 70.6% agreed, yes, sexism is a problem in photography, and 75%. Agreed, yes, racism is a problem in photography. So, on one hand, that’s, that’s really good, because we have to recognize these issues in order to be able to address them. On the other hand, that’s awful because that means that it’s really prevalent and, and I think this is an opportunity for us to begin attending to, or continue, because I think many of us have been attending to this for at least the last half decade or so, to really start recognizing these issues in the field. And how do we address them? How do we support women, trans folks, non-binary folks, people of color who are working in the industry, and make it a place that they can enter and access and also that they can remain, right? And we should have this financial parity and make sure that all photographers are being paid well for their work. And now we’ll go to—oh go ahead
David Campbell: I think that data on those really industry wide, society wide cultural problems of sexism, of socio economic disparity, structural racism, etc. They were a real, that data is a double-edged sword, isn’t it? On the one hand, there’s a consensus position that it’s widely recognized— some disparity, a little bit of weighting in terms of that. So, if we look at the data on sexism, overall, at 78.6%. I think it was nearly 85% amongst women but still 71% amongst men who rated as a significant, or people identifying as men, people identifying as male rated as a significant issue. So even if you end up with 70%, you’ve got a strong baseline in terms of a foundation on which to build a response. But as you say, it means that everyone is, you know, nearly three quarters are seeing this problem. So, the problem is prevalent.
Tara Pixley: I think it’s— oh sorry, go ahead.
David Campbell: No, go on. So, this is the double-edged sword, I just think it’s worth really underlining this dilemma, because when we come to think about how to respond to this—
Tara Pixley: I think it’s also worth pointing out that, um, so the way we structured these questions is, do you, to what extent do you think this is a problem in the field? To what extent have you been personally impacted by this problem, and those numbers dropped significantly, because if we look at the who is taking the survey, it was still predominantly white photographers, white and Western photographers, with a heavy emphasis in the US. So, while it’s good that they’re recognizing that this exists, there’s a gap in the sense of what to do about it maybe and also, you know, how to, if you’re not experiencing something personally, maybe you have less impetus to do something about that, and, or to or to understand how to engage it. So, I think we need to think about that gap as well. Right? It’s like the power brokers in the industry might know, this is a problem, but they’re not being personally impacted. So, it’s like less. Yes.
David Campbell: Yeah. And just to underscore that differential impact, so on the question of sexism, when the question we asked about, had you been personally affected women, two thirds of women 66% said they’d been personally affected. Only 21% of men said they’ve been personally affected. So, huge consensus on the overall problem, big disparity on the personal impact of that problem.
Tara Pixley: I’d be curious to see what the intersection might be of how many of those were men who are now the the parents. My female photographer— Maybe something interesting there about family structure and how people,
David Campbell: Yeah. Absolutely. Parents or partners or—
Tara Pixley: Right. So, I’m always hesitant to use the word solution, because solution sounds very final. But all of these lovely charts and things were designed by Catchlight’s designers, and yeah, we’re being aspirational in the language that they used of solutions, but I think these are some things we could consider moving toward. And I want to return to thinking about that first slide of the data that showed how diverse the employment, you know, different forms of work photographers are doing can be, and one of the things I think we really need to do in the industry is destigmatize the side hustle. There’s been a lot of talk around that. I was actually on a panel called destigmatizing side hustles for Photoville, earlier this year. And I think, you know, there is this acknowledgement that people work as wedding photographers, they work as family and portrait photographers. And I have always felt, I know many of my colleagues have felt, that you had to kind of hide that or it was embarrassing. And, you know, oftentimes we’d be saying, like, how are they affording this trip? You’re looking at people living these lives on social media, and she’s like, what, they’re just working the same day rate I am. But they’re doing these big wedding jobs on the side or corporate headshots, and it shouldn’t be that shouldn’t be shameful. It’s just part of the work that we do. And in fact, it’s indicative of us having a lot of different skill sets and understanding how to engage in a lot of different spaces. And so, you know, valuing the work of photographers, I think means a few different things, of course, paying fairly and on time, but also allowing, you know, validating these different forms of work. And a few other things that I think are relatively easy fixes and I’ve definitely seen many different organizations across the industry, instituting, you know, like, kind of subsidized entry fees or making entry fees or taking out entry fees essentially.
David Campbell: So, making entry free.
Tara Pixley: Yes, exactly. So, but there are also a few things I’ve noticed some, some organizations might not have an entry fee, but then they have a really high bar for proving that you are a working photographer and things like that that can actually still be pretty inaccessible a barrier to entering that contest. And if you can’t enter these contests, you can’t enter these grants and awards, then you begin to lose the kind of cultural and social capital that you need to have to get work. So, recognizing how all of these things are kind of imbricated and connected is, I think, really important. So we’re proposing a photo contest and grant organization should consider a graduated pay scales, or also setting aside fee waivers, which is something I think a lot of places have been doing. And I think, once they started doing that, you can see the difference in who’s winning the awards, because people are from all over the world who have always been doing excellent work can now actually afford to enter that work.
David Campbell: Yeah, absolutely. Can I ask you a question about side hustles? Do you regard doing the wedding photography in the corporate headshots as a side hustle? Or is it the bartending and non-photographic work that’s the side hustle.
Tara Pixley: I mean, I think it’s really all of those things. You know, I think that we should de stigmatize any work that people have to do on the side to, like, build their photography career up. And I think to some degree, that sense of embarrassment about doing wedding photos and corporate headshots, and whatever is less now, like much less than it was 10 years ago. But there’s definitely still this embarrassment, maybe about having to work in other industries entirely, like food industry, barista, etc. But I, most of the people that I know had to do that. There’s a very small subset of humans who came from generational wealth, who didn’t have to do that. So, that’s actually not— the norm is people having side hustles, whatever that means, whatever that looks like. So, just acknowledging that that’s real, I think is important.
David Campbell: Yeah, if your quiet hustle is actually still in photography is as wedding photographer, or, as you say, practicing your skills, that’s a huge plus. But you shouldn’t devalue the other things as well. And also, I think, with some historical perspective, would probably say that side hustles are the norm. I mean, they’re not only the norm now. You know, there wasn’t a time where everyone had big editorial contracts. They were, they were rare things, even back in the 90s, 80s, 70s, and 60s, etc. You know.
Tara Pixley: I think I think what happens or has happened is that we have often kind of immortalized and elevated the work and lives and careers of photographers who came from generational wealth, you know, it’s like Cartier-Bresson, like his family had a castle, you know, he could very easily go around the world and do whatever he wanted to do. And he could be a real photojournalist. And because those were the standards by which we were comparing ourselves and what we should be able to do and achieve. I think it’s skewed what the industry really was in that direction, when the reality was more like what you’re saying, that everyone has always had to work in these other spaces, or not everyone, but a majority of people have. But they felt like embarrassed about that, I think. And you know, interestingly, I was just thinking about how wedding photography, and like family portraits, grad portraits, all these things. I think they’ve actually moved closer toward editorial and journalistic styles because so many photojournalists have been working in that field, pushing it in that direction. Now that is, you know, like, I mean, working wedding is actually the hardest thing to do. There are many jobs I’ll take other than that. So, so I actually commend the people who have the energy to do that.
David Campbell: Yeah. Just a reminder to the audience, if you want to ask a question, drop it into the q&a box. We’ll bring it into the conversation. There’s a comment though and apologies if I don’t pronounce his name correctly from Joah. They say I was told by another woman at a VII event that I should do something else and not expect to get paid for photography anytime in the near future. This was, this person who told me that was a woman. If that was the case, don’t follow that advice. You should expect to get paid for photographic work just like you should expect to be paid for any work.
Tara Pixley: Absolutely.
David Campbell: The amount you get paid, another matter, is subject for negotiation. Can you make a living out of just taking photos and licensing them as commodities? Probably not by itself. You would want to do stories, you’d want to do projects etc, etc. But whoever gave you that advice was not giving you good advice, or even, I think a good, good understanding of the current situation because people do get paid for photographic work and should be paid for it.
Tara Pixley: I wonder if there’s more, you know, it’s tough to speak to that limited understanding of that potential exchange. But that is helpful to think through this next solution, which is paying fairly and on time. Yeah, I would say I was actually just talking to, like young staff photojournalist who’s thinking about transitioning to freelance, and I was really encouraging her to do that, if that’s what she wants to do. And I think maybe there’s this struggle or sense of, oh, well, this is, you know, this is the allotted staff job that everyone wants, and I have that, and how dare I not want it. But there’s a lot of different ways to do this work. And everyone comes to it in their own way. And we should find our own way through it and know that that path is valid, whatever it looks like. And part of supporting those different paths for commissioning organizations, for equitable outlets, whomever you’re working with, to understand that you’re carrying debt, you’re paying upfront for all of this equipment. And so you need to be paid fairly, but you really also need to be paid on time. And so some of the things we were proposing was paying deposits to photographers, which is a very common practice in the commercial realm. But not a common practice in news and editorial. Which, you know, I think, frankly, I understand how that can be difficult. Your day rate is, you know, not not even $1,000, it might be hard to convince newspapers to say, well, I’ll give you half of this upfront, but recognizing that this is a struggle, and actually is difficult for a lot of people and might be a deal breaker in terms of your ability to stay in the industry, we have to consider it, start talking about how to make those changes.
David Campbell: All right, we’ve got a question from Carrie, she says another side hustle question, that’s going to be the phrase of the day, the side hustle. Do you find photographers are creating whole separate personal brands / websites themselves, so they have feet in two worlds?
Tara Pixley: I mean, I’m, you know, I’m not kind of like the expert on what other people are doing. But just from my own experience of colleagues, I think that, you know, I know a person who is a photographer, and is trying very hard to be a full-time photographer. But they also are a web designer. And gosh, I can’t remember the word, but like they’re an incredibly talented like, coder, who does tech things. So yes, like, they operate three different websites for their photography and their web design and some of the other stuff that they’re doing in the tech realm. And I think a lot of people are doing that, you know, I know photographers who are working as consultants in different fields, working as educators. I’m seeing what I think is more of a move to consolidate that. And to, you know, kind of say, I do all these things. I’ve seen some pushback from other photographers who’ve been, you know, kind of photographers who have been working in the industry for a long time, making fun of people online saying, Oh, you’re a photographer slash, slash, slash, well, you’re not really a photographer, but that kind of mentality, it’s really toxic and problematic. It’s, you know, why would we? Why would we kind of hate on people for trying to do what they need to do. And again, I think it’s an opportunity to recognize that, wow, that’s really cool that people have a lot of talents and skills, or that you’re trying to give back by being an educator or that you’re a nurse. And, you know, one of the one of the best people in this field, who I absolutely adore, Rosa Morton, is a brilliant photojournalist, a nat geo explorer and a registered nurse. And because of those combined skill sets, she’s now able to be a security and safety adviser and to teach other photojournalists about first aid. She’s, like, an incredible resource that we were lucky to have. And that is rare. But you know, it doesn’t have to be rare if we made that, if we normalized it.
David Campbell: Yeah. Plus, the insights that she has for stories that she may want to do or may encourage other people to do. I mean, should be seen as a plus to have different skill sets experienced in different areas and bring it to bear, bring those things to bear on visual journalism and storytelling.
Tara Pixley: Yeah, and I think, you know, I think that it is now Like maybe 10-15 years ago, that might have raised some eyebrows from photo editors saying, what, why are you doing that? Or how are you doing that, but now people say, wow, this is incredible, like she understands this, can we, you know, put her in these different places. And during COVID, that was, I’m sure, a really important insight that was very necessary and very useful. So, I think recognizing that actually, the more that we do, the more knowledge we have as photojournalist that makes us more capable and better at our jobs, you know, more able to speak to people from a lot of different spaces and tell stories from a space of real knowledge and experience.
David Campbell: One, just one practical point I would would kind of really underscore for Carrie is that, whether it’s because of multiple skills, or whatever, it seems so obvious to say it, but you’d be surprised, we once actually had a winner of a World Press Photo of the Year did not have their own website. And one had a very unclear website that did not have any way of contacting them on it. So, when they won, and there was a huge amount of attention, there was no follow up for that possibility. So, this seems incredibly obvious. But don’t rely on Instagram, don’t rely on social media platforms, have your own piece of digital real estate, your own website on a server that you pay for, with very clear contact information. So, you can be searched for and found and easily reached, I mean, you’d be surprised the number of people sometimes in workshops I come across who don’t have that. And it’s like, to me, that’s the number one thing, you want to have a piece of digital real estate that you control, no one else controls, and showcases you and allows you to be searched and found and reached.
Tara Pixley: Yes, I agree. Working in digital journalism as a professor, that’s something that I require all of my students, like you cannot leave this program without having your own website. I think that that really is partially due to this kind of this big influx of photographers who are self-taught, which is amazing. I mean, people are doing such cool work. But when you’re coming, you know when you’re not coming from a J school are from the different workshops and things. And you’re maybe just looking at what people are doing on social media, and then you’re kind of mimicking that, or building your career from that, then you don’t necessarily know Oh, I have to have a website, I need to be reachable in these ways. And obviously, they don’t have to have it because they’re succeeding without it. But I think this point you make that your own digital real estate, you’re not subject to the rules of Meta, or whatever their name is today, you know, and all the different rights grabs and things that Instagram does, like, I think we should do a better job of not hoarding information and making it this kind of you only learn this at Eddie Adams or Mountain Workshops or whatever, you actually are able to access this information widely. Because we want to make this industry as open and accessible to people who want to be visual storytellers as possible, which is actually another one of the points I wanted to get to, and then I’ll take this slide off.
But something we saw in the survey is that people are building community and seeking community far more than maybe we had previously seen. And we noticed a kind of big relationship between the photographer respondents in the survey who were building community are succeeding, you know, are like maybe thinking about leaving less. I think affinity organizations like Diversy Photo, Authority Collective, Women Photograph, Black Women Photographers, all of these different spaces are maybe a part of that. But I think also, we’re sort of destigmatizing this sense that we should hoard our resources, that we should hoard our knowledge. And so, we propose an increased transparency around pay, around, you know, just kind of like, info about the industry, how to access photo editors, commissioning editors, you know, how much different organizations pay. Those things don’t need to be secrets, that that we only kind of have come from this space of scarcity in the sense of, you know, a lack of opportunity. And if we move towards collaboration over competition, then we’re actually all better for it. And, you know, so I think that was a big takeaway from the survey. That building community is one of the solutions that there’s strength in numbers that we have to support each other. We have to help each other and that inherently produces more diversity, more inclusion and more equity in the industry. It makes it more possible for people to enter to stay. And for us to retain, you know, great folks. Yeah, I think those are all the kinds of different things that we talked about. So, I’ll just stop sharing.
David Campbell: Yeah, just one point on reaching photo editors in time, a little, little plug for a series we do here on VII Insider, which is with photo editors, we’re up to our seventh or eighth, eighth episode coming up next. And I think what’s been really striking in speaking to photo editors about how they work, how they decide things, is how open they are about being reached. In every event, they provide their email addresses, they tell you how best to reach them, generally, they prefer PDFs with photographs, captions, short story description, they’ll do their best to get back to, et cetera. So, a lot of that is, as you say, kind of demystifying that, because they seem unreachable, because you can’t find an email address on the web somewhere. But you know, that’s one of the things we’re doing in that series is opening that up a little bit. And they’re all quite reachable and doesn’t mean you email them and get a job. But you know, it, you become known, they might file it away, they might come back to you later, etc. But there’s lots of good advice in that series for on how to approach photo editors and contact details for these particular ones. So, but I think sharing that information through collectives and organizations is absolutely crucial. Do you think that that’s something that’s more common now, the desire to share that information than previously?
Tara Pixley: I don’t know, the desire to share is more common, I think. Probably it is because I think we actually have a lot of younger folks who are photo editors. And you know, they’ve just been more online their whole lives, maybe, or at least a big portion of it. And so, this sense of being like ensconced in an ivory tower and unreachable by the unless you’re the most elite photographer, I don’t think that they’re really adhering to that kind of ideal, which is great for access. I do, I think that now, there’s just so many more opportunities. When I was starting in the industry years ago, it was a kind of mystery, it was, and I was coming out of a J school where I had the opportunity to do the New York Times Student Institute and all these different things that allowed me to make my career. But if I didn’t have access to those things, it would have been completely, you know, just totally obtuse. I wouldn’t have understood how to do those things. And I think we’ve really moved towards workshops like this, just so much more, that’s available online. And if you are, you know, if you have a good work ethic, and you are willing to kind of be a self-starter and do searches for how to find this information, the information is there. So, that’s really, really amazing. And then I think, also, photo editors and art directors being on Instagram, being on LinkedIn, they’re just more present. It used to be that you’d have to kind of dig deep to find an email potentially, or just even know who the person was at a particular magazine or newspaper and even then, it could be really difficult to find. So yeah, I think it’s a lot more accessible. Yeah.
David Campbell: So, we’ve still got time, plenty of time for questions, if people in the audience want to drop those in. Tara, one of the things you know, I remember at the end of the survey, because we found this out in the World Press Photo survey, which was kind of, I thought slightly curious, but definitely interesting in a way was to ask people actually, despite everything that they had answered previously, did they feel happy or not about working as best as they could as a photographer? And the answer is relatively positive about that. So, in the 2022 survey, some 62% were between slightly two extremely happy with the bulk 31% being moderately happy. How do you explain that? How do you explain that despite all the precarity, despite the risks, despite the sexism and structural racism, and so on and so forth, people nonetheless, two thirds feel slightly to extremely happy about working as a photographer.
Tara Pixley: Well, frankly, there’s not a field of that I know of that doesn’t have structural racism or sexism. So, there is that somewhere, you might as well be really enjoying the work that you do. But I think, you know, being a photographer is incredible. It just, it’s wonderful. I think, you know, it brings so many different opportunities depending on who you are. It’s creative, its technical, its social, its antisocial, right? It’s like how you approach it. You can be a lover of wildlife and the environment and maybe hate humans and you can have a career in photography. You can have an excellent career, you could be the front page of Nat Geo, and never have to talk to humans very much. You can love talking to humans and engaging in different spaces and have a wonderful career, you can love the ocean and be, you know, there’s so many different ways to be a working photographer. And, you know, I’m a person that I do enjoy talking to people, I really enjoy experiencing different things. I love the aesthetics of photography; I don’t care about gear. I’m just really not, you know, like, it’s never been a thing that I’m excited about. But I know many people who are like, oh my gosh, this new camera, and now I’ve got this camera and I’m doing this thing. And so, and we both have careers, right, that are different. So, I think it offers a lot. And it’s very, I think it can be really, what’s the word? It’s just a diverse set of experiences. Like this month, I have been to a ketamine clinic to photograph people there. I’ve met with families to talk about how they’re being impacted by police. I’ve traveled to Florida to talk to professors. I’ve done and had the opportunity to do so many things. And I get to be here talking about photography with you, and all the really wonderful people who have joined us. I think there’s just so many different ways to do this work. And it activates so many different parts of our brain and offers so many different chances to know things about the world that I just wouldn’t have access to otherwise. So many of the things that have happened in my life that are interesting and good and that I remember fondly, I was there because of photography. So, I’m pointing to my own experiences, because I can’t really speak for all the 1325 respondents, but I think it probably is something like that for a lot of people.
David Campbell: That’s what I imagined, too. It’s to do with the social purpose, the social value that you feel, the sociality of it as well. But despite all these things, and if you’re involved in a range of other work, you’d know that maybe that those other forms of work are a long way from being as fulfilling. So, it’s worth carrying on like that. Do you think, and this is hard to speculate on, it’s also kind of about where social change comes from. Do you think that that makes it a bit more difficult than for people to mobilize together to make change in the profession if they’re feeling this social worth and social value from it does that weaken the possibility for resistance or struggle against some of the things that are causing the precarity and so on?
Tara Pixley: I don’t think so. I think that actually, the more you love something, the harder you fight for it. And that’s been the space from which I personally have operated as a very vocal advocate for change in the industry. It’s not because, you know, I do that because I value photojournalism and photography so much, because I think it is so important. It’s too important for us to not fight really hard to make sure it is the best version of itself. And I think that a lot of people do feel that way. I also think that, you know, I think the real limitation to change is that people who have power don’t want to give it up. And they fear that change means giving up power. But I don’t think that that’s true. I think that actually, we all gain from sharing whatever that is, whether it’s shared power, shared experiences. And I think actually, it’s probably very lonely to have a lot of power to yourself and be making choices on your own and to be critiqued in this kind of, you know, social and social media environment. And it would behoove us all to ask, well, what can I do differently? What can I do better? How can I listen to the people who are trying to tell me what their experiences are, even if that has never been my experience? I think we can all benefit from that. I love learning about people’s experiences that are different from my own. That informs my world and expands my understanding of humanity and the universe. So, you know, even if I disagree or if it’s just like something I’m like, wow, that is very different from my experience. I like to know that so I think that if we can take that approach to it that this is hard for me to hear or this will be difficult for me to address, it will personally impact, you know, the way that I do business or live my life. Yes, those things are difficult. But frankly change is going to happen whether you agree with it or not, so it’s probably better to just kind of get on board and then be part of that change, my perspective on that.
David Campbell: Jim has an interesting comment on that. I think it would be interesting to ask how much time photographers actually spend with other photographers. He says that he does a little, but most of the people he knows aren’t photographers. Feeling community and sharing information require us to spend some time together one way or another.
Tara Pixley: I think photography and photojournalism can be a really isolating endeavor. Some people like Annie Leibovitz, she gets to work on a set with 8,000 people, because she has 1 million lights. So, you know, that’s cool for her. But that’s not always the experience of a lot of people. Oftentimes, it’s, you know, you and your camera, and whatever you have to photograph, and sometimes that is people, but then that’s often strangers. So, I think that can be very emotionally draining, even as it is exciting and interesting. So, yeah, I think it can be really isolating, but we have to choose to not remain isolated, we have to choose to build community. And that that can only happen when we return to the collaboration over competition. And when I was talking to this photographer I mentioned, who’s thinking about making the transition from staff to freelance, she’s maybe planning to move to a different city. And he said, yeah, just find out who were all the photographers who live there, and go and talk to them, see if you can take them out for a beer or coffee and just like, talk to them about what their life is. I think 10 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have given that advice. I, you know, when I was moving to new cities, I feel like who am I going to be competing for for jobs and that, like that sense of lack and scarcity is just really detrimental for everyone, right? It’s much better to make friends and to make competitors. And then you, then you open up an opportunity where like, you have people who understand what you’re going through, you can talk to them about, you know what that experience is, and people don’t always understand like, my, my friends, who aren’t photojournalists don’t really get what my life is or like, what are you doing now? Who are you talking to? Why are you there, what’s going on. And if something really upsetting or stressful happens, or some, you know, talking to people who are also photographers, photojournalists, that makes it easier to live this life. So, building community is a choice we have to make. And sometimes it can be hard. And that also depends on where you are, if you’re in a rural area. If you’re constantly traveling, I know that that can be difficult, but I recommend just really connecting with online communities, finding a space that is— some online community very toxic, so find a good online community. Surround yourself with people who understand you, not necessarily are just like you, you know, but who understand what your experiences are, and are willing to engage you and inform you and share their own lives and experiences. I think that makes us all so much better.
David Campbell: And I think this is probably what’s going on with the rise and growth of say Women Photograph, Authority Collective, Diversify, etc. I mean, these are not agencies in the old model, because the agency model is, it’s no longer sustainable. But these are collectives and networks designed to sustain people in these communities. And that’s a huge entry point, I imagine.
Tar Pixley: Yes, I will say, you know, I don’t want to speak for any of the other organizations, but I think it is very hard to make money off of community, like when you’re entering, you know, it isn’t an agency. And so like, I think Magnum probably made a solid amount of money for the people who were photographers, you know, quoting Magnum, which is awesome.
David Campbell: In the past.
Tara Pixley: Yes. Perhaps in the past. And so, I think we’re in this kind of time where building community is great. It’s awesome, we need to find a way to make the industry value community building and support, right, like, I think that there’s less money in general in the industry. But on some level, I think that also can’t really be true, because photography is so much the coin of the realm in every facet of modern life, that we have to actually find a way to access that, you know, and make sure that it’s, it’s being spread widely to the many people who are working in the field. So, I think it’s just really about changing our perspective and how we do this work, and valuing different things than we used to value, you know, so I don’t have all of the answers to that, but yes, these organizations are doing this work. These organizations are also struggling to be funded and they’re primarily volunteer driven. So that that is not a tenable situation, by any means.
David Campbell: It works for community but not for not for precarity.
Tara Pixley: Like longevity also, yes, yeah.
David Campbell: So, a couple of quick questions, big questions, but quick ones, from Dominique. Given that editorial doesn’t pay as much as commercial, do you want to speculate on what the future of editorial photography is compared to advertising and commercial from your experience?
Tara Pixley: Ah, that’s tough. Um, I mean, I think it’s kind of, it goes back to what I was just saying is that we have to reframe our models for editorial. And I would love to see more visual people being in the upper echelons of editorial organizations, because text people, I love text people, they’re great, writers are cool, love to read the writing. I think that they’ve dominated this field for a really long time and have maintained this like, incorrect assumption of the preeminence of the written word. And they’re unwilling to, you know, I’m speaking very generally here, I think editorial needs to be more welcoming to a lot of different ways of working in news, and, you know, just media production, because a lot of the visual people I know are, they’re very smart about design and the internet. And, you know, which is not to say that all writers don’t understand the Internet or anything like that. It’s just that we need to have a diversity of knowledge of informed perspectives. Yeah, of forms of knowledge. And if we had, you know, I wonder what would have happened if we’d had a lot of different people in the rooms, thinking about what the internet was in 1999? And 2000? Like, would we have had this massive crash and this huge shrinking of what the news industry is and can be, we might have had people who saw what that was, who understand what Craigslist was going to be and do. But we didn’t, we had people who think the same, who looked the same, who thought, you know, who didn’t understand and couldn’t see ahead. So, we need to open up the rooms, right? Like, I don’t know what the future of editorial can be, because I’m not in those rooms. But I probably have some ideas. I would love to be invited in. I know many people who I think should be in those rooms. And when we get to the point where we value diversity of knowledge, right? Like, when we talk about diversity, it’s not just racial, ethnic, gender diversity, for the sake of those things. It’s because those things inform people’s understanding of the world differently. I see the world differently than you do, David. You see the world differently than me, you know, all of us have, are coming to things from different places. And we need that in order to survive. We need that in order to like, you know, have a future of editorial, to have a future where the world respects news and factual information and cares about images that are real, we need that. So, I think, well, I don’t know what that looks like. But I hope it looks different.
David Campbell: I think the interesting thing that I would say is the audience cares about that. The audience wants those images, the audience cares about those images that are real. They sniff out those that aren’t very, very quickly. So yeah, someone who’s in charge of an editorial organization and can understand that audience impulse will be on to something. Two questions. I know that you’re short on time.
Tara Pixley: It’s OK. I love questions.
David Campbell: One from an anonymous attendee, and it kind of follows on from this because any thoughts on encouraging and sustaining local visual journalism, that is making a living and supporting communities through photojournalism? And before you answer that, I’ll just give a little sidebar and say this person should go and look at the Catchlight Foundation as an example, because they have a very successful and important program on supporting local visual journalism in the Bay Area where they’re located in California, and some really good examples there. So, check out the Catchlight foundation for that. Your thoughts, Tara?
Tara Pixley: I love that question. Thank you. I definitely cosign the encouragement to check out Catchlight but I think maybe you’re thinking even more independent than that because Catchlight is still like a, you know a nonprofit organization. And we don’t want to put all of our eggs in those organizational baskets. So, I think that now would be a really amazing time to do community funded— you know, what would it look like for a town to have a couple photojournalists who everyone just gives like, a couple dollars a month or some—you know, what would it look like for us to community fund the work of community storytellers? I don’t know that that model would work. Maybe it has been done. I think there’s a lot of different things we could try with that. But I think, you know, we see the ways in which social media giants have monetized and commodified everyone’s everyday life and how they have produced influencers that make money for these individuals, but then also make money primarily for the advertising agencies and all these different things. So, these models actually do exist, they’re just not making money. They’re pulling money from communities from people, but they’re not making money for photographers. They’re making money for that Meta, whatever, Facebook, Instagram, Nike, etc. So, right. So, you know, what, if we harness those kinds of ideas, and what if we stopped trying so hard to buy into that sort of capitalistic, very stratified structure and instead, you know, invested in our communities invested in storytellers? I think communities are ready for that. I think communities are open to that. But that’s on us to kind of, you know, pull away from this sense of value of well, am I really a photojournalist if I’m not on the front page of The New York Times, if I’m not, you know, whatever, being highlighted by this and that. The work is about the community, the work is about the stories, the work is about educating, informing people, and making democracy possible, or that’s what the work is about for me, right? So, I would love to do this job if it was something that was focused on the community. I think that that’s possible. There’s, um, I can’t remember the name of it right now. But there’s this, um, it’s like a subscription-based newsletter thing. It’s a, like, you pay like $5 a month, and you get this person’s newsletter. I can’t remember the name of it. But I was talking to a few people about what do we have a photo version of that? And we were really excited about it. So, I encourage anyone who wants to, you know, take that and run with it. I think that would be cool.
David Campbell: Yeah. So, something like substack, you know, which—
Tara Pixley: Substack! Thank you. That is what I was trying— I couldn’t remember the word. Yes. Yeah. I haven’t had coffee yet this morning which was a poor choice on my part.
David Campbell: Yeah, but using a Substack platform, you know, for a local community. And there was that trend in journalism for a while, you know, hyperlocal journalism, where you were talking about, like neighborhood blocks, where people did stories, and so on, obviously, less money involved in that, because there are less people less audience and so on. But you could imagine very small units potentially supporting it. Very, very interesting. And—
Tara Pixley: I think it requires that— I could be wrong about this and I’m just kind of thinking in relation to this question. But I really feel like journalism has gotten away from itself, that we are beholden to organizations, we’re beholden to our own high profiles. We’re beholden to our own like vision of ourselves as photojournalists rather than being beholden to the community. And I know this is complex because there are a lot of, there’s many people in the community who hate journalists, and there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of dangers in the world and risk for being a journalist. But I think that some of those dangers come from how inauthentic we’ve been to our communities and how we have not been beholden to our communities. And people know that they recognize that. And, you know, if you’ve spent years being ignored by your local newspaper and your local journalists, or, you know, misrepresented in many ways—
David Campbell: Or not have one altogether because it has shut down, right?
Tara Pixley: You don’t know what a journalist is. And this is something I tell my students, when you go out into the world, you’re representing yourself, but you’re also representing journalism. Imagine that every single person you’re talking to this is their first experience with a photojournalist, with a journalist. Now, comport yourself accordingly. Right? How do you want to represent the work that you do? And I think that the, like, it’s such a really wonderful opportunity, and we live in a really interesting but difficult time. It’s, you know, it’s like, we need to rise to this occasion to really show the world what, why we do this work, show our communities why we do this work. So, I think it’s hard, you know, like, it’s much easier to sit up here and say this than it is to do that. But I think that we could start shifting how we frame what the work is and how we do it. And we could shift that together.
David Campbell: So, Jim is has a slightly skeptical question about that. He says, I like the idea of community-funded photojournalism, but how many communities will agree on who to fund? And I think building on what you just said, I understand that question. But I think that the framing of that is heading down the wrong direction, because it’s not the question of who to fund. It’s the question of what stories to tell. And if you if you ball up to a community and say, hey, I’m a photographer, pay me to take pictures in your community, no one’s going to fund you. If it’s your community and you say, together, we’re concerned about these issues, these stories, whatever perspective we have on those, why don’t we make the more visible, why don’t we tell these stories, maybe you have a chance. So, I think get away from who to fund and think about what stories to tell, might be a starting point for that.
Tara Pixley: I think people pay for the services they think, are worth the cost, right? So, if, you know if, if there’s something happening in a community, like I’m imagining, I’m thinking about Los Angeles, and there are a lot of environmental justice issues happening here. So, if you’re someone who’s working closely in the community that you live in, you know, not just like showing up and being like, hello, undocumented migrants, I’ve heard that you have a struggle, and I would like to photograph it, right, that’s a totally different vibe. That is the current vibe in practice. So, I think if we’re doing something a little bit different, and we’re saying maybe like, I see that this is a problem, and I want to focus the next like three months on this, and I’m going to take the photos, you know, if you’ll give me the access, and I want to work with you, tell your stories, and then I will reach out to these different organizations, I will pitch this project, I will work for you to try and get this story placed. I don’t know, this is, we’re all just, like, you know, this is not an idea that I had, like in my pocket to talk about today. So, just throwing it out there. I think that is a really good question. Because it acknowledges that communities are stratified. There’s no community now that is like all of one accord. Everyone in this neighborhood is the same, that’s, you know, when in fact, thinking and assuming that everyone in the community is the same is part of the problem of, you know, news now is that we have lumped people together for so long, instead of acknowledging that everything is deeply nuanced from like one house to the next. So, what does it look like to actually do community storytelling, I think is maybe the question. So we need to answer what does it look like to tell the stories, the experiences people are having, and actually doing the work of like, maybe educating people as you’re doing stuff, you know, Hey, Jim, I see that you were, you’re saying, you know that this is happening, but I just talked to Bob the other day, and he was telling me that this was his experience. So, did you know that there are other people in your neighborhood who are having this experience? And Jim, might be like, oh, I didn’t know that actually. Who knows, right? Like, it really takes a kind of like radical shift in how we think about what is possible and what we actually require of ourselves.
David Campbell: And there’s a segue here to something else that you and I have worked on, which I think is also something that still needs to be hugely developed. And that’s the whole idea of solutions visual journalism. And I think that focusing on the way in which some people in communities are already working on solutions to problems, not just identifying the particular problems, and telling the story of how those people are working on the solutions, not the solution, but local efforts to respond to problems would be a very, very powerful source of community storytelling that people— if people are interested that we had an event back in January on that perspective, I still think that that is something that could be hugely developed.
Tara Pixley: I really love these questions. I’m like you to do a working group with the people are interested in. Let’s just remake the entire world of photojournalism together. Well, let’s just do it.
David Campbell: I’ve got one for you. The final will be the final question to remake the internal tire world from Carrie. She says, as a woman in the industry for over 20 years, I so agree that this is absolutely worth fighting for. Syed, from sharing your wisdom and experience with audiences like this, do you have any immediate actionable ideas to keep the equity ball rolling? Also, thank you. This is incredible.
Tara Pixley: Thank you for your question, Carrie. And I’m really excited to be here in community with so many of you asking such wonderful questions and pushing back. You know, I think that this is really how we think differently. And maybe that’s part of my answer is that I think the best thing that any of us can ever do is ask ourselves what change can I make? We often think about, the institutions are racist, and that over there is terrible and what those people did is bad. But those are really difficult concepts, you know. How do we change an institution? We can change ourselves; we can change our own actions, we can change our own thought processes. So, I always say that we need to start from there, right? Like there’s something that I’m doing, there’s something, there’s some way that I am thinking that is making life harder for somebody else. And so I just need to like, kind of sit with that and say, what is that? Who can I ask? Who do I turn to? What do I you know, what do I reflect on in my daily practices in my daily actions? In my long-term practices and actions? In my, in my actual thought processes, like how do I think about people in places and work and pay and my space in capitalism or in an industry, and what is limiting my different thinking?
And I know that this might kind of sounds trite, probably. But I think it’s really true that all change starts from the individual. And you can’t actually hope to change institutions or communities, if you haven’t actually done that self-work. So, keeping that equity, ball rolling, I really believe is about recognizing that this work is never done, we’re not going to, there’s no solutions, right? There are addressing problems, there are recognizing issues and acting to, you know, impact them. But equity work never ends, it is ongoing, there will always be something else to be done. And I hope that that can be invigorating rather than demoralizing. It means that you can always impact change, you will, you know, from today, tomorrow, until the end of time, until your time on this earth is over and my time, that we have the opportunity to continue to make lives better, somewhere. And I hope that that kind of like reframing of our thinking makes more possible because it is really tiring. I think we keep hearing maybe this phrase of the fatigue, right, of having to wake up every day and see, wow, this terrible thing is happening. There’s another school shooting, we’re still at war, people are awful. And those, that is true, you know that the fatigue is real. But I think part of pushing back against that is again, returning to okay, what can I, what can I do today? What is my small move today, that I can put something good out into the world. You can’t stop the war, you know, or maybe you can if you’re a US ambassador or whatever, that’d be great. Thank you, please go out there. Thank you, by all means. But if you are like me, not capable of moving international politics, then think about what you can do, you know, and who you can impact and try to do that. And then wake up tomorrow and do that again.
David Campbell: Absolutely. Well, there is the perfect way to end, I think, thank you very much for that. And Tara, thank you very much for your time, it’s been great to go over the survey results again, and also to see how those, that data really animates this conversation, which of course, was the intention of doing the survey in the first place. So, it’s good to keep coming back to that and having that conversation. So, thank you very much to everyone in the audience. We really appreciate the questions. As always, we’ll have this recording up on site in about a week or so. So, if anyone missed out, they can come along and check it out. But Tara, again, thank you very much for your time.
Tara Pixley: Thank you all. And I just saw a question that Ted had asked about texting scams in national newspapers. I don’t have time to address that. But I just want to flag that. We should talk about that another time and hopefully, maybe there could be another discussion about copyright and rights grabs by— that’s another big thing that I like to talk about. Thank you all so much for being here. Thank you for the wonderful questions and for engaging this work. I hope you’ll read all of those reports there. There’s a lot of interesting tidbits and thank you so much, David, for having me and to VII for creating these spaces. So, thank you.
David Campbell: Great, Tara. Talk soon. Thanks very much.
Tara Pixley: Take care.
David Campbell: Bye