The Cult of Cheap

The Bride and Her PartyToday I read a great article on PetaPixel regarding the all too common prenuptial outcry about how outrageously expensive wedding photography is. Rather than justifying his fees to customers by providing an overall expenses list, wedding photographer Pavel Kounine prefers a different approach. He clarifies the difference between getting married and “holding a wedding,” and points out that the latter is actually a luxury… and an expensive one at that. Succinctly put, he writes:

The major expenses are everything that isn’t part of the official ceremony: the venue(s), liquor and multi-course meals for guests, a multi-tiered cake, flowers, decorations, entertainment, your wardrobe, makeup and hair, accommodations, and… your desire to have a wedding photographer document the entire affair and do so with exceptional artistry.

While Kounine’s argument holds merit, I think the problem goes much much deeper, especially where everything and anything creative is concerned. This perpetual baulking about price speaks to the disturbing devaluation of art and artists of all kinds in a world where outsourced knockoffs (Chanel handbag clones included) can be had for a buck at Walmart or elsewhere. Many people also believe that they are entitled to free music and movies (acquired illegally on the Internet), and besides… everybody with a smartphone can be a ‘photographer’ on Instagram [insert sarcasm here] so $3,000 for a professional wedding photographer?!!!?!! OMIGAWD!!!

The sad truth is that today’s values have been shaped by a financially driven, corporately designed, disposable mentality and lifestyle where consumers have been conditioned to endlessly consume cheap shit, thus keeping the 1% rich and laughing all the way to the bank. They have created a society that is addicted to dopamine inducing sales and deals, where the true and horrific costs of such are unscrupulously hidden from view. All of us, whether we want to admit it or not, have fallen victim to the cult of cheap.

Given our current situation, wedding photographers continue to struggle (as do creators in all media)… so when it comes to securing contracts, I suppose it is simply more prudent to point out the “luxury” rationalization to an emotional bride-to-be rather than argue with her the psychology of the corporate conspiracy to manipulate the masses and cheapen everything on the planet. In the end, we all pay one way or another.

Disclaimer: Although I captured the photo above at my niece’s wedding, I am not a wedding photographer. Kudos to her for hiring accredited photographer, David Fong, who did an amazing job capturing the magic of the day from beginning to end.

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