Five Questions with Photographer and Writer Bob Soltys by Copyright Alliance
This week we would like you to meet one of our Individual Creator Members, Photographer and Writer Bob Soltys.
1. What was the inspiration behind becoming a professional photographer? What do you enjoy most about the creative process?
Shortly after I read Alfred Eisenstaedt’s The Eye of Eisenstaedt in 1967, my aunts gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera for Christmas. Later, the daughter of one of my paper route customers was dating a fellow high school student who freelanced for the local weekly newspaper; meeting him opened my mind to starting out part-time while still in high school. When the seniors walked out a year later to protest a teachers’ strike that would have prevented them from graduating, I went along with my camera, and the weekly paper bought my pictures. Fortunately, this was back in the day before the current expectation of “post your pictures on our website or to our Twitter feed.”
The most enjoyable thing for me about the creative process is I’m completely immersed in what I’m doing and feel most alive when taking pictures. Shooting the same assignments as the photographers for the daily paper inspired me to look for different ways to portray the same event.
2. Can you take us through your process? How long does it take? Does everything you produce make money?
As a photographer shooting film – and who develops and prints it myself – it takes days or weeks.
Making a fiber-based traditional silver fine art print can take several hours, and that doesn’t include flattening the print and framing it. Because it depends on the presentation, I’m fortunate to have the help of John Rehner, a local photographer who runs a gallery and framing shop. John does all the framing.
The reality is not everything makes money, and to partially answer the next question, not everyone appreciates the value of a fine art print and of the time it takes a professional photographer to properly cover an event. As a result, I started writing, and recently self-published A Lucky Life, a book about my aging Jack Russell Terrier that includes photos I made of him during our twelve years traveling.
3. What do you think is the biggest misconception about your line of work?
That photographers should work for little or no cost because they’re family members or because “my brother just bought a camera and would shoot the wedding for free (or $500). And that some news media escapes paying for professional work by encouraging people to post their shot on its websites etc. in return for “exposure.”
4. What is your best piece of advice that you would give other creators in your field about copyright and how to protect themselves?
Use the copyright symbol on all your work as follows: © year / your name/ All Rights Reserved. Register your work within 90 days.
5. If there was one aspect of the copyright law that you could change, what would that be and how would you change it?
Create a small claims court to hear copyright cases.
Fine Art and Event Photographer • Coauthor, A Lucky Life.
Take a break by walking thru an exhibit of my Paris images.
To listen to a sample of the audio book of A Lucky Life, please click here. For iBooks, click here.
Photo by Joshua McLaughlin
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