Facing The Future: Nine Perspectives on the Future of Photography

Late last year, during the Day of Photography in Amsterdam, PhotoQ interviewed nine photographers about the challenges facing them and photography as a whole from both an economic as well as social perspective. The resulting videos offer nine different perspectives on the business of photography, how it’s changed, where it’s headed, and how to adapt. Some viewpoints are more negative and others more positive, but in the end you can tell that each of these photogs love what they do, and just want to make sure they keep getting to do it for a long time to come.

Peter van Agtmael

Joost van der Broek

Inge van Iersel

Ed Kashi

Hellen van Meen

Peter Stigter

Michle Szulc Krzyzanowski

Newsha Tavakolian

Donald Weber

Facing the Future [Vimeo]

  • Knur

    Future of Photography = everything for free. Phothography is dying

  • Jake

    Anyone who understands the difference between good photography and great photography knows that the value of the latter cannot be diminished just because it is saturated.  Anyone can play baseball, many can excel, but only few make money off of it, and those few are giants in American culture.  Pro photography won’t disappear, it will just become more exclusive.  I don’t pity the great pros, I pity the good ones who will fade in with the rest of the competent masses who don’t care to market their skill.

  • Jeremy

    As a general observation to this series of interviews, it strikes me how incomplete the majority of their foresight is. There’s a lot of talk about how to react and adapt to the current climate, which of course is important in order to stay above water. But there’s little discussion about how to change the climate, or usher in a new era, or how to collaborate to achieve what the general population is incapable of.

    For decades, photography was complicated by design… or at least lack of technological advance. Between the costs of the learning curve (formal instruction was the generally accepted method, which ensured jobs), cost of material/production and lack of global economy (social media, online sales, virality, etc) – photography was a very expensive endevour; one which took a significant amount of time to generate even marginally acceptable results.

    Combine the current accessibility to photography (particularly focusing on cost of equipment, ease of operation and immediate results – which allows for self-teaching)… combine that with the digital age of online publishing and it’s free price tag, the proliferation of ‘sharing’ and how readily accessible these images have become. Is it really a wonder the photographic industry, as it was known, is in upheaval?

    The response to this has been “brace yourselves, cut costs/overhead to survive, weather the storm, etc.” while we await something to magically happen to repair the industry. Guess what? Nothing – I mean NOTHING – will repair this industry… this medium.

    What was once a commodity is now run-of-the-mill. The photographers who survive will have been the ones who realized this and concentrated on the value they bring the client through service, response and consistency, and not through treating the profession like rocket science.

  • Renato Murakami

    Can’t call myself a photographer just yet, but from these interviews and from several others I’ve been collecting and studying it goes something like this:

    A while ago, for quite sometime photography was valued (mostly by non-photographers) a big part for it’s technical aspect.
    It was a complex process which involved knowledge of professional cameras, several techniques, lab work, image editing and treatment, among some other “secrets of the trade”.
    Of course, for people who knew photography well enough, it’s never been about technique, but we’re talking market here.
    In the past few years, the technical gap is becoming less and less of an issue.
    Since this gap is something lots of people took in consideration, technology caused a downfall in market value.
    If at first it wasn’t possible for non pro photographers to reach, even by chance, a single picture worth of the pro label, nowadays it happens.
    I think anyone will agree with me that sometimes, even complete amateurs can get great photographs… even if it happens by pure luck.
    In an optimistic point of view, what will happen from now on market wise, is that people will slowly start realizing that photography isn’t about technique, isn’t about one good photo every now and then, but about relationships, a full body of work, a disposition towards photography, the personality behind photographs, unique style, unique feel from the professional behind it all.
    Photography is finally fully migrating, not only for photographers but for everyone else, from a technical job to a form of art.
    The technical gap has been closed.
    You can get a relatively cheap equipment that will automatically produce good pictures with options for several techniques that were once painstakingly hand made, and now are pretty much automatic.
    So, what has to be valued is the artistic weight. The personal side, the personality of photography. And since it’s a hard thing to measure, hard times will be here until everything is figured out.Fortunately, photography is a form of art that’s inspiring. And even in a bleak market scenario, there are tons of people passionate about it. So passionate that they are willing to endure several hardships just to continue dedicating their lives to it.This passion is what moves it forward, and finds ways to make it worth again.In close relation, journalism is going that way too.Technology is forcing us to redefine process and it’s forcing people to change the way they see things, how they value, what they choose is worth continuing.

  • punktoad

    Information wants to be free

  • punktoad

    It’s called open source, $0.00 is the future

  • Jared Monkman

    well said

  • Emcgruff

    Well said!

  • steve

    Until food, cars, houses, cameras, lenses, photoshop etc. are $0.00, I don’t think we will see all photos selling for $0.00.

  • steve

    Until food, cars, houses, cameras, lenses, photoshop etc. are $0.00, I don’t think we will see all photos selling for $0.00.

  • Michael Leza

    Things have flipped around. Instead of trying to sell your photos to a mass audience or take the “iconic” picture, you now have to focus on bringing a unique vision to intensely personal photos. This means being able to provide people with captured memories of times they cherish (yeah, weddings is the immediately obvious example, but not the only one by far) quickly, cheaply, and in the way they want it. That means finding ways to reduce the time from shutter click to delivery, and building a loyal local audience to support your work. Not easy, by any means, but the internet and digital imaging fundamentally changed things, and if you don’t adapt you’ll likely die.

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  • Knur

     PS: There is too much photos. Sometimes it makes me sick. Really.

  • Eric Freeman

    Well said!

    There is a marked difference between value proposition and strategic competitive advantage.  Not to stereotype, but too many artists get subsumed in their craft, not realizing that even in the photography business, BUSINESS is the noun … not photography.

  • Pick a Name

    Say that to typewriter manufacturers.

    Sorry for the late reply (2 years late)