Editors vs. Artists, and the Struggle for Creative Freedom

Steve Friedman’s feature, “Dangerous Liaisons,” on the inherent struggle between the priorities of editorial art directors and their editors [Magazine Report, Oct. 23] failed to mention the real victims of that struggle: freelance photographers and illustrators who are forced to create imagery for those publications that both parties will approve.

Creative freedom is the primary reason most self-respecting, successful artists even consider doing editorial work. Historically, that freedom combined with quick payment terms and the exposure generated by the publications helped offset the low fees that editorial clients paid for imagery.

Now the dichotomy between art directors’ and editors’ diverging interests often results in visual solutions that show the effects of too many masters—creative processes that bleed the life out of the artist, defeating the creative purpose of doing editorial in the first place. This, combined with increasingly demanding contracts, heavy administrative costs, slow payment terms and fees that haven’t changed substantively in 15 years, makes editorial work hard to justify.

The loss of the best talent could ultimately result in less effective publications, reduced circulation rates and more editorial art directors and editors out looking for new jobs. Maybe then they will learn to see eye to eye.

John Sharpe


Sharpe & Associates

Los Angeles

The Truth Is Out There, Especially Across the Atlantic

Ienjoyed Neilan Tyree’s column about Truth in Advertising [Art & Commerce, Oct. 16]. I received a copy of the video in early October; it seems it spread like wildfire in Europe as well.

While we had to watch the video several times to understand the dialogue, it was great fun. So much so we thought about making an Italian version! We probably won’t do a “Verita in Pubblicita” online movie, but it’s clearly a great promotional idea. Putting an insider’s view of a specialized market in a video, then spreading it through viral e-mail obviously works.

Nice article.

Marco Deveglia

Director of planning

Azzurra IMP New Media

Milan, Italy