Update: September 24, 2004
Jackson Hole Ski Company vs. Photographers: A Letter from Greg Epstein
For all of you who want some more details, here's what JHMR is proposing. This year's contract now states the photographer actually gives unlimited rights for an unlimited term to ten photos in exchange for a pass, early trams and model tickets. This could add up to hundreds of unlimited usages in a lifetime. These same images will then be placed into the PR and collateral file where they will then be used by the magazines (free of charge) and JHMR to further compete against the photographer. In the past we've been paid a small amount for the relative usage of our images and were given early trams, model and photographer tickets and had a good relationship with JHMR. Another issue is the equality amongst photographers. JHMR is obviously trying to penalize the veteran shooters who will not comply with there terms. Now a visiting photographer will get more privileges (early trams, model and photographer tickets) than a veteran shooter (who doesn't except these terms) at the resort and the visiting photographer doesn't have to give usage away. As it stands now if we don't except the contract JHMR will provide 3 early trams in a year and NO model tickets to perform our work. In addition to this we'll have to pay over $1,600 for a season pass at the same area where many of us have established the JHMR brand and it's identity. This years work for trade/hire contract borders on the fringes of extortion and is ruining the very essence of our business and livelihood.
Over the years JHMR has diminished the value of our photography by not offering fairly perceived values for our services and product. These ten images have a value estimated to be $15,000 and potentially far more and yet they are only willing to trade a pass and access for all photo uses. They've done this by changing the conditions of the agreement between the photographers and JHMR, ultimately making this agreement no longer beneficial for a prosperous business model. Furthermore JHMR asks for unreasonable usages and are willing to give less compensation to the photographers. This further devalues the business of photography, causing some of the more experienced photographers to reevaluate the ski industry and their businesses as well opening the doors to new shooters the resort thinks it can replace us with. Secondly, JHMR does not see value in photography on an exposure level in newspapers, magazines or catalogs. They think or are unwilling to admit that our photos do nothing for them outside of the area maps, website and brochures which they will not fairly compensate us for now.
Do you find value in our photos? Would your product suffer without the dedicated work of the professional photographers who have worked hard for you in the past and may not be able to have the access and means to make quality photographs you have come to rely on? If you do, I think you will know how to respond. Finally we've decided to have you all send your responses to me so we may organize and present our final plan for a resolution to this contract in a professional manner.
Thanks for your time, support and relationship we've established.
Please contact me with any questions.
Greg Epstein, Greg Vondoersten and Wade McKoy
Photographer PO Box 1343
725 S Fall Creek Rd
Wilson, WY 83014
mobile: 307 734-1282