Money, Creativity, Art, and Money Again

  Living as an artist is a daily struggle to not only pay one's bills but to pay for your art. Painting at least to me is more affordable. The cost of paint, brushes, canvas...ok, I use cardboard a lot, is nothing compared to photography's cameras and all the little things you need for it, film and processing, scanner, printer, ink, paper, storage, software, travel, etc, etc. Which brings me to today's topic of constantly needing money to continue as an artist. There's nothing more frustrating than having a great idea and not being able to follow through with it because of money. The very lucky well connected artist relies on grants which are usually in the area of $50,000-$75,000 ( PEW, USA GUND, Guggenheim) while the rest of us without those connections will never get to prove our full potential. Is the game rigged ? You bet it is ! I've been thinking about street photography again even though I've been fighting that thought, but the cost of doing so will quickly squash any ideas of starting up again. First would be my 6x6 medium format photography of some street and mostly of Rittenhouse Square Park. I would need a reliable TLR camera, medium format film, lab development fees, scanning fees or a scanner, transportation costs because I no longer live in center city. A conservative estimate would be $4000-$5000 and that would be without printing a single photo. I often wondered what my "Lonely New York" project cost but I don't want to think about it. Amtrak to NYC and back were mostly covered by points due to spending hours a night filling out questionnaires for points. Besides the train there were subway costs both in Philadelphia and New York, eating in diners, two Ricoh GRD1 cameras, several batteries, and the cost of printing the zine. One of my cheapest projects was my three year Philadelphia Project. No travel cost, several cheap cameras and the zines paid for themselves. The biggest cost was shoes. Over 36 months I did so much walking I went through 15 pairs of shoes !


  1. Hang in there Michael. You've had some success already and someday you will be rewarded for your further tenacity.

  2. Thank you Russ Marshall Photographs. I hope you're right.

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