Is this a problem though, ethically, letting/asking/having a subject pay for some of these things for a shoot production, and even doing a lot of the work/planning? I know the LA Times (I was the Photo Editor for their magazine) would never have let a subject pay for all that or be involved in the production to that extent. Letting you use a location, yes, and props if they bring them. Certainly not paying for an assistant and gear or a racing car and bits. (In addition, it could make the magazine seem extremely cheapskate w/no budget … kind of embarrassing). Typically, strobe rental and assistants, within reason, could be paid for by the magazine and many of the photogs I hired as a picture editor had enough gear to light a decent sized set, though not always, and I understand the high cost of gear myself.
Drew Houston, CEO and co-founder of DropBox, photographed for the November cover of Forbes Magazine. Drew was shot in San Francisco on October 11, 2011.
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I get what Patrick is saying, but I think the implication of somehow generating tainted journalism doesn’t really apply in this particular venue. As Heidi said, most major magazines generate entertainment first, and journalism second and I think this goes even for a magazine like Forbes. Also, it might go without saying, but given the current budget cuts most magazines are facing I’d wager many stories like this (and even those requiring significantly less production value) wouldn’t even get off the ground without some assistance from those being profiled.
Randall Lane, editor of Forbes magazine, acknowledges these surging numbers for the once dozing brand. "It's rewarding to see our print magazine surging in lockstep with our online growth," he says. "Too many people see print versus digital as a binary choice. The right answer is both-when each is clicking, they make the other stronger." He attributes this sudden jump in growth of Forbes' readership and influence to adherence to the Forbes Culture on both platforms- a culture in which the stories on Business, Money and Economics revolve around the personalities of those at the helm, the people driving the economic engines as well as a Forbes magazine commitment to creative and top tier photography in its glossy pages and the old saw, fact-checking.