This image has been used successfully in many tourism campaigns to promote the Coffs Coast, but at what cost?
This image has been used successfully in many tourism campaigns to promote the Coffs Coast, but at what cost?

View is for sale

By KIREN THANDI

SHOULD NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have the right to charge a professional photographer who takes a panoramic photo of the beach at sunset and sells it?

Sound ludicrous? Well, this policy has been in effect for the past three years, but now has local photographers riled up.

Be it a big-budget film or a small wedding photographer, if they use land managed by the NPWS, they have to pay for it.

This may make sense if they want to bring in trailers and equipment to a rainforest where there are trees and fauna to conserve, but what about a lone photographer setting-up for an afternoon, waiting for that perfect shot?

"It's unfair and unjust," said local photographer Toni Fuller.

"If we (photographers) want to go to a park and take photos professionally we have to pay for it, but amateurs can go right in.

"If they can do it, why can't we?

"Painters can go in and paint, why can't we stand beside them and take a photo of the same thing? It's a visual art; we're not touching anything."

Ms Fuller said that, in many cases, it cost thousands of dollars to get just one good picture.

"We pay to get to a location, then it could take weeks of waiting for the right light ? and then we have to find someone to sell it to.

"In advertising the agency will pay the fee, but for independent photographers, we're set back."

Contrary to popular thought, photographers do not have reel after reel of perfect pictures; sometimes, after taking hundreds of photos only a handful are good enough to use.

"I've been out sitting on a rock for three days waiting for the right picture, and came back with nothing," Ms Fuller said.

"We are often left very much out of pocket.

"Selling an image is not a guarantee. We could spend thousands setting something up but it comes to nothing."

With the policy up for revue in mid-2005, Ms Fuller said she and other photographers would be pushing to have it changed.

"The current policy is aimed at professional photographers; how is that fair?" she asked.

"If an amateur takes in a small camera and takes a good photo, he could sell it for $20,000, but a professional photographer can't."

"After all the time it takes to set these things up, telling NPWS where and what you'll be taking photos, you don't feel like doing it anymore."

"It's just stopping creative people from creating beautiful works of art."



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