People expect me to do things for free. They say it is because I enjoy doing these things, so it is not really work. Because of my situation in life, this is okay—for now. I am still a student with a full scholarship. Even so, I could really use the extra work and extra money. However, I am only allowed to work for 20 hours. I am very lucky to have a paid internship, and I know this doesn’t come along often.
What annoys me the most is when people expect me to do something for free in return for networking. You do not eat with curriculum experience or connections. However, because there are many wealthy people who can afford to do this sort of work for free, people assume that’s just the nature of artistic or creative labor.
I have done so much photography for free, and sometimes I do enjoy it. I think this is necessary to make a name for myself, and I think that this art should be accessible for all people. However, I also think that a lot of internships are taking advantage of young photographers.
Unfortunately, I do not have much hope that this issue is likely to change. Personally, I do not expect someone to work for free, no matter how close I am to them. At times, I may give it for free for people I am really close to, and I sometimes offer free sessions for publicity. However, I take issue with the expectation that I should always work for free. People don’t understand how exhausting this kind of work can be; I did not realize this until I started. There are numerous societal factors that allow us to consider some types of work as worthy of compensation, while others may be considered less seriously. I believe that we as consumers need to be more mindful about what we ask from others.