Money and what it’s worth. There is a gap between what it is worth to society and what it is worth to me. It’s strange how the world is made up of loans. You buy a house with a mortgage that can never be paid off. You feel rich because you can get a high mortgage but in my perception you are very broke. You have a debt of 4 tons or more that you can never pay off, for the rest of your life. The money is shifted from one computer screen to another. But what is it actually? Now if you’re a starter, have just finished your studies, you can’t buy or rent a house because the bank, the landlord, society is afraid that you can’t pay for it. Apparently living is only for the elite these days. I do not understand. My knowledge about the financial world is minimal, but looking in from the outside, it looks like a fairy tale that unnecessarily classifies humanity.
I have been working as a photographer for years. The hourly wage I ask for is in line with the average income earned by most other professionals in the same position in the same industry. While I was studying photography and styling, I worked in the hospitality industry. I washed the dishes, worked in the kitchen and as a waitress. I did that work for more than 15 years on different levels, and that kind of work, in my experience, is at least ten times harder than the work as a photographer. Yet as a photographer I earn ten times as much. Don’t get me wrong photography is also beautiful work and qualities are needed for that, but why are those qualities worth more than the qualities of a waitress who practices her profession with passion.
Not to mention the health care providers; these are the people who take care of you and your loved ones when you are struggling. That I, as a photographer, earn more than the care providers is strange in my eyes. I don’t mean to make healthcare as a profession more important than any other profession as I hope the nurse, the waitress and the photographer all do what they do because it makes them happy.
And of course there are all kinds of ways to justify this. For one profession you had to study for a long time, the other profession you were able to develop yourself without an education. But who cares? If you chose to study for ten years for something, I assume that you did it because it made you happy. So all those reasons to justify the system don’t make it feel any different to me at the core. This system doesn’t work for me.
I dream of a world where we pay each other for what makes us happy; pay for someone’s talent, for equal opportunities. Where we can all receive the same care and have access to what we need for our health and happiness and where we exchange our services in an equivalent manner. To do that, we first have to change how we value something. To determine value, I look at how I feel about the product or service. Does it make me happy? Does it make the person who the service provides happy? Is it driven by quick money or by love, passion, craft.
This is not an easy measure in today’s society; where we don’t know what a carton of milk actually costs, where the prices you pay in the supermarket are not realistic at all. We live in a society where someone in the supply chain gets the short end, and it is rarely ever the top.
In my existence I act in a way that suits me. This way I create a world for myself in which I feel good. It means that I like to exchange my services for other services; if I have leftovers I give it to others who are happy with it, when I need something I ask around if anyone happens to have too much of what I’m looking for, I ask for and offer help.
And this is why, when possible, I work for donations or PWYW (pay what you want, or even better pay what you feel). I have the confidence that it will allow me to get by. I understand that this is a difficult concept for many people, and this is especially complicated in the business world. Yet I choose to challenge people; let them think for themselves about what my services are worth to them. To make it more accessible, I can think of a minimum price, and the customer can decide whether he/she thinks it is worth that amount or more. And with more, I don’t necessarily mean more money; it can also be a service, a cake, a referral, or whatever way someone wants to show their gratitude.
For this reason, there is a QR on my contact. I prefer to use this instead of advertisers and other marketing. I trust that if you read my text and it has given you inspiration, an idea, space, something to think about, you will be willing to show your gratitude in whatever way suits you. Whether that’s money for you, or you tell someone else about my existence or my words make you want to partner with me. I am grateful for whatever it may be.