“A photographer properly monetizing [his or her] influence can very easily make $1 million a year in this day and age. I know some that do it, and I’m very close to doing it,” Cam Kirk, the man behind the lens of many rappers, told ONE37pm. Kirk, who has watched the landscape of photography change since he started taking photos in 2012, has shot many of the biggest rap artists of this decade, including Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott, Young Thug and Gucci Mane.
We now live in a world where brands will pay a Kardashian $1.2 million for an Instagram post and where Apple has billboards of photos shot on iPhones. Photographers are being nominated for iHeartMusic Awards honors similar to artists because photographers are beginning to be viewed as brands just like those artists.
To capitalize on this, Kirk and his business partner John Rose, an entertainment lawyer, decided to treat photographers as such with the launch of his self-funded “record label” of sorts called The Collective Gallery, with the intention of signing photographers the way record labels sign artists. A record label advances an artist a certain amount of money to complete a project. The Collective Gallery will do the same for a photographer who may want to put on an exhibit, a photo book or anything the photographer wants to do with a creative vision. In fact, the creative label plans to give the first photographer it signs a $20,000 advance to do just that.