Quantity Over Quality: Photojournalism Going the Microstock Way?

The rise of microstock and the fact that anyone with a camera can sell cheap photos has done a lot to devalue stock photography, but is the same thing happening to the photojournalism industry? Paul Melcher says that the industry is headed in that direction:

Forget the photo agency as an agent of talented photojournalists. The key now is to have a lot of contributors worldwide and hope that one will be at the right place at the right time. With photographers everywhere chances you will get the right image at the right time will increase, like buying a lot of lottery tickets.
In the film age, the cost of film, processing, shipment was too prohibitive. Now, you can receive and store million of images for a buck or two.

[…] Thus, taking a queue from the microstock model, photojournalism is now switching to the volume based model. While profitable for a photo agency, it is devastating for photojournalism and photographers themselves.

The story is the same: as technology makes photography and the distribution of photographs easier to do, the buyers of photographs win and the producers of photographs lose.

Volume based photojournalism (via The Click)

Image credit: Everyone is a photographer. by andrew.chau

  • Dennis Marciniak

    The photojournalism industry gets bleaker and bleaker and I’m just getting started. Thank god for press conferences, sporting events, red carpets, fashion shows and other events you need media accreditation for.

  • Igogosh

    That’s ok as long as the images are any good, which I doubt. Agencies need GREAT photos to make people look through the news. I doubt anyone who makes great photos will sell them cheap as a profession – this thing will die off. Just like anything good, it costs money. With all the automation it still takes a knowledgeable man to point the rig in the right direction and set up the mood. 

  • Andrew MacDonald

    You and me both Dennis. I specialise more in concert photography, where not everyone can get access, but just lately, I’ve been to quite a few concerts where there have been photogs in the pit with basic consumer point-and-shoots. 

    I first presumed they might be with the band or something, but when speaking to the person, she informed me she was shooting for eFestivals – the biggest festival/concert site in the UK.