Myrmecos

The death of career photography?

The New York Times on the changing face of the photography business:

Amateurs, happy to accept small checks for snapshots of children and sunsets, have increasing opportunities to make money on photos but are underpricing professional photographers and leaving them with limited career options. Professionals are also being hurt because magazines and newspapers are cutting pages or shutting altogether.

“There are very few professional photographers who, right now, are not hurting,” said Holly Stuart Hughes, editor of the magazine Photo District News.

It’s worth pointing out that what’s happening to photographers is little different than what happens to every profession tied to ever-cheapening technology. The tools become accessible and careerists can’t rely on economic barriers to keep out the competition.

The world survives without typists, for example, as it will with a reduced cadre of pro photographers.

Comments

  1. #1 allthingsbiological
    March 30, 2010

    We live at a wonderful time. The rate at which change occurs across disciplines is extraordinary. In part this is based on widescale communication opportunities that did not exist several years ago.Boundaries between disciplines have softened extraordinarily during the past few decades.

    I recall first seeing PBS when I was in high school, and marveling at the world it brought me in my blue collar hometown. During my teaching career I have seen the introduction of videotapes/VCRs, camcorders, personal computers, DVDs and the Internet. I cannot tell you how these technologies have opened the world to me, as well as my students. Technologies have allowed youngsters to express themselves and present their individual and collective thoughts. They are better and faster thinkers than individuals of my generation because of their broadened exposure to vast amounts of information, and a vast array of technological tools. As an example check this out – http://www.isaacchambers.com/EV09/index.html … and my kids attend a school that is technologically lacking relative to many of the surrounding local schools.

    So often people see demise of a several century career path as analogous to the loss of a species. Nothing could be farther from the case. Manmade constructs are made to come and go.

    I’m new to the photography thing, but have been amazed at what it has allowed me to see and appreciate. Bring on those low cost technologies and let me see what I (and my students) can do with them!

    BTW, it would be kind of nice if those plunging technology pricing would carry across to Nikon lenses ;) .

  2. #2 How to make coffee
    March 31, 2010

    I guess the only thing to do is to excel at what you do. Make your work and dedication unsurpassed, so you stand among pro photographers and you get the best clients.

  3. #3 Marvin
    March 31, 2010

    I don’t really disagree with anything that’s been said. Technological progress is inevitable and while it is not kind to everyone, society as a whole benefits. Still, in some situations losing the highly-skilled professionals is lamentable, and the end product with which we a left may not be quite as good in all respects.