Power Corner

Bill Hurter has been involved in the photographic industry for the past thirty years. He is the former editor of Petersen's PhotoGraphic magazine and currently the editor of both AfterCapture and Rangefinder magazines. He has authored over thirty books on photography and hundreds of articles on photography and photographic technique. He is a graduate of American University and Brooks Institute of Photography, from which he holds a BFA and Honorary Masters of Science and Masters of Fine Art degrees. He is currently a member of the Brooks Board of Governors. Early in his career, he covered Capital Hill during the Watergate Hearings and worked for three seasons as a stringer for the L.A. Dodgers. He is married and lives in West Covina, CA.

Mitche: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the industry?

Bill: I don't see as many challenges as I do opportunities. I hate to use the cliché "the digital revolution," but it made a huge difference in terms of how people see the world and consequently how they take pictures—on every level, amateur and professional. In terms of professionals, it has made a huge difference in the potential creativity and I think that converts into dollars and cents in the long run. In terms of obstacles, I see fewer obstacles than challenges. I think that is going to continue until the day that video starts to override still photography.

How do you see it changing?

HD Video is a very basic prosumer camera and very affordable. You can cut a high resolution 7x10 still from an HD video, so this is just the beginning of that technology. Provided it is lit and composed correctly, you will be able to pull a nice quality still out of video, which will have a remarkable impact on the world of still photography.

Do you see a there being some resistance to that transition just like there was for the digital?

Yes, maybe even more so. The still guys don't like being on the same bus as the video guys. The feeling is mutual. The technology is going to be the overriding factor here. I think it is coming and it is not that far off.

What is Rangefinder's marketing philosophy?

In a strange way it is kind of like a small company. We have 60,000 readers that you might think of as our clients, and we do try to take care of them, respond to them, and give them what they want out of a good magazine. And we maintain them in terms of our circulation program, which in this day and age is tougher and tougher to do—but that is one of the things that we do and that is why we have been in business for over fifty years.

Everything you do in life, everything you have, what are the most important things to you and how does marketing for the company you work for play into the priorities that you have?

I tell my kids this all the time: a job is a job, but a profession means that you love what you do. If you are good at it, and you are intent on getting better at it, there is no greater joy. Family, of course, is obviously important and financial rewards and so forth, but the biggest thing—and I think the reason that so many people in the business live so long—is that they are passionate about what they do.

How do you balance your personal life with your professional life?

It helps to be married to someone who likes to work all the time, too.

What common threads do you see that attaches top level marketers together?

Oddly enough, this year I have noticed that the successful marketers have a kind of built-in "give back" clause. Just this year, Tero Sade from Tasmania told me that half of his sales go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation—the booking fee and the shooting fee go to Make-A-Wish

Foundation and he charges for only the prints. So if you look at it, it is kind of a silver-lined mouse trap; it's beautiful in terms of its marketing simplicity, yet he really is a believer that you have to give back. I have noticed this so many times. Kathleen and Jeff Hawkins, Jeff Lubin—they have all built a charitable wing or platform into their business. I think that this actually makes people better human beings, but it also aids in their marketing programs because, honestly, people like to do business with people who are thoughtful and caring about other people.

Tell me about your background.

I grew up in New Jersey, I went to school in Wake Forest in North Carolina and ending up graduating from Amer-

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