I found an entry from January 1st 2020 in my journal last week. It was a list of things I hoped to do in the new year. Every year for the past twelve years, I've made a list to reflect on the past year and write down new ideas and ambitions I want to achieve. It's hella corny but it helps keep your goals in sight and stand still to appreciate past accomplishments. From business goals to social goals, like every other year, the list went on and on with a positive and hopeful note. Not knowing of course, 2020 would turn into an endless shitshow of epically bad news, staying at home and cancelling out all plans until further notice. And when a crisis hits the world, the creative industry is one of the first to receive the blow. From every photographer, stylist or agency director I've talked to, never was there such a gloomy outlook on the future of the creative industry. All the bright creative years we've experienced over the last five years (and I mean bright bright), seemed like a time long ago. Agencies dropped their creatives one by one and creative jobs were, for the first time in a long time, scarce last year.
This year I'm letting go of my list-making habit. What's the point of a list when the factors you usually rely on (stability, safety, a normal world) seem to have dissipated into nothing. "The Great Reset" they call it. But in some big, significant way, I'm sure it will turn out to be a great, monumental thing in the end. Call me a nihilist, but I am all for a reset — especially (if not, specifically) in the creative industry. For years, and I realize this is an unpopular opinion, the creative industry has relied too much on traditional structures, methods, names and ideas. First off, work is being copied shamelessly from one creative to another. Much has been said about this by fellow creatives already and it remains one of the pivotal problems of the industry. Second, non-creatives are banking massively on the works of creatives, without even lifting so much as a finger, while paying their creatives a penny and a dime. This is one of the industry's business models that has always baffled me and needs to stop. Third, real visionaries are currently buried in a cesspool of non-visionaries, but whoever shouts hardest, wins. What can I say — viva la introvertism I guess.
Needless to say, there's a rotten core in some places in the creative industry and if a reset is a way to stop it — then let it happen.
The crisis is going to change the world in many ways no doubt. And when this crisis is over and we all get out of this safe and healthy, I propose a new order in the creative industry. An industry of honesty and transparency. An industry that celebrates and values talent above creative reproduction. And an industry where businesses are able to set up new business models where creatives get their fair share of a job. Now that's a list I can stand by for this year. This is 2021 — and you better be ready for it.