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Foto Confusion

Working as a photographer ain't as fabulous as it's cracked up to be. Take it from someone who once had to process film in the darkroom at Fenway Park to get Red Sox photos on the Associated Press news wire. Oh sure, walking by all of the suckers who paid for tickets, sailing past the box seats, and stepping into the photographers' box on the third baseline -- that part rules! But knocking over the hot dog seller with the two-foot-long, 20-pound, 600-millimeter lens you're lugging? That bites. Zooming in on Johnny Damon's butt so closely that you can make out the panty lines through his uniform? That's really fun! But getting elbowed by the competing photographer who's there to make a precious little Topps baseball card? Downright annoying. Getting access to the darkroom in the world's greatest ballpark? Super cool! But burning yourself with darkroom chemicals while the players' wives hoity-toit by in their fur coats, and the hotshot Boston Globe photographer -- who already owned a digital camera in 2000 -- pigs out at the buffet in the press room? Super not.

When you meet Sports Illustrated photo editor Jimmy Colton at Fotofusion -- which is like, the biggest photography extravaganza of the year -- he'll probably tell you the same thing: It's not all fun and games. When the magazine puts together the swimsuit issue, he probably has to do all the tedious stuff, like Photoshop away the models' stray chest hairs and make sure that captions are spelled correctly. But you're not going to listen to us, are you? You're going to drop two grand on a new digital single-lens reflex camera, and $300 on a flash, all the while fancying yourself on assignment from National Geographic. Yeah, lying in a swamp to get a worm's-eye view of a water buffalo's butt -- glamorous!

Well, in that case, you might as well invest another $545 on the pass that gets you into most of Fotofusion's hundred or so events -- like "Fotographing the Nude," an actual shoot with Nikon legend (and former model) Nancy Brown. Or the "Photography as Social Stimulation" discussion, which includes on its panel badass Condé Nast shooter Larry Fink. If you can't shell out the big bucks, just pay for the selected lectures or computer labs that you want to attend. For $5, get "Insight into Kashmir" from United Nations photo chief John Isaacs; for $90, make digital art with technical pioneer Laurence Gartel. If you can't discourage millions of other aspiring photographers from getting into the ultra-competitive profession, the sessions on "How to Get Hired" or "Publishing a Photo Book" might come in handy. Hmm... a coffee table book with 700 pictures of Johnny Damon's bum would sell pretty well, don't ya think?

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Deirdra Funcheon

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