There’s a rather brutal Twitter feed called “for exposure” which is related to people asking for free creative arts work. Effectively a lot of people seem to think that creative types should work for free for exposure. Because exposure pays the bills, right?


So here’s the thing…I had always just written this off as something that affected creative types. I’ve come across it myself as a photographer with people asking me for my shots for free. Uh, no. But I digress…

Last week I was at a scientific conference. It was actually pretty good: great lineup of speakers, interesting content, good networking opportunities (I’m about to be back on the job market)…

Yet something struck me when I was sitting through one presentation from a tenured professor. His field of research is the same as mine, and it turns out that where I had been considering my employment options and going into consulting or doing what I do outside of academia as a paid career – this guy is doing it for free. He’s got tenure, he’s already being paid a good salary, so what does he care if he can offer to do what he does to what would have previously been paying commercial clients for nothing? He gets exposure – and the rest of us trying to make a living from what we do get fucked over in the meantime.

I was speaking to a number of industry people at the conference about job opportunities, and several did actually bring this up. Why would we pay you to do it when we can get this guy to do it for us for free?

Fantastic, right? Must be nice to have the luxury of tenure and being able to offer your services to industry for free. Because I mean who cares if you fuck over your more junior colleagues in the interim? They’re not your problem.