Marissa Mayer Sorry for “Misstatement” on Professional Photographers


Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer found herself in the spotlight earlier this week following a controversial statement made at Flickr’s NYC press event regarding pro photographers:

There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because [with so many people taking photographs] there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore.

Photographer Zack Arias took offense to the comment, and before long, a number of publications picked up the story, sparking discussion and debate on the matter. Some users even took to Mayer’s Flickr page to voice their opinions.

But according to Mayer, the comment was taken out of context. She’s taken to Twitter to explain her remarks to outraged and confused users, stating that she “worded [her] answer terribly”.

Mayer response on Twitter

Mayer Twitter 2

Mayer says her “misstatement” was related to the terabyte of storage now available on Flickr and how many photos users are taking. In other words, Mayer is suggesting there isn’t quite the need for a Pro account given the tremendous amount of storage space now available to all users.

Mayer is also using her Twitter account to apologize for the confusion, and it looks like the community is taking kindly to her outreach. Certainly, it’s understandable how a comment can be taken out of context, and this being the Internet, it can easily can be stirred into a controversy very quickly.

Image credit: Marissa Mayer, Google by magnus hoij

  • j

    Jesus, was this written by Marissa’s personal assistant or something? I know what she meant, I understand her context and it was still a BS statement to make. This isn’t Fox News, we know how to speak and we know what people mean when they say things. It’s made all the worse as we see the effects of her changes on what was one of the few professionally-minded photo sharing sites.

  • j

    At least Zuckerberg has always been a prick, does not deny it, revels in it. Mayer is disingenuous. The only objective of this change is to get more smartphone/tablet photographers’ eyes on more ads, to the detriment of paying customers who actually cared about the features of the site. Period.

  • Phyllis Ollari

    You are very miss informed. I have never seen a well exposed photo from a phone, except in perfect light. If it’s less then perfect then forget it. Unfortunately mediocrity is becoming the norm for greatness. This is not to say you can’t get good photos from a phone or even be creative. But there is no real skill involved. Sorry but it’s true.

  • Phyllis Ollari

    I do but maybe because I was trained to actually study the craft of making a photo. Anyone can take a photo but can you make one?

  • mavfan1

    wow, that’s sad that you’d let such technical details determine whether or not you enjoy art. It’s no different that worrying about into what kind of ink Shakespeare dipped his quill or what kind of pigment Van Gogh used in his paints.

  • MewDeep

    Okay, so it was taken out of context. Give her the benefit of the doubt. Can she then tell us about the context in which these words don’t sound awful?

  • bart4u

    This lady is crazy. I have been a professional photographer for many years. I started shooting 4×5 with film. With the invention of digital photography everyone thinks they are a photographer because of their Iphone apps they use. To take a professional high res image it takes knowledge of how to compose, light, retouch and deliver a perfect picture to your client every time. Many times I have to shoot famous people and I have only ten minutes with them. When I show up I have to scout a location, pre light the location, make both the famous person and their PR people comfortable, edit the RAW files, retouch the files and deliver the files via FTP. Not everyone can do that. Or if I have to shoot interiors I have to know how to use TS lenses for perspective control and I have to know how to light a large space so my image looks professional. Next time Yahoo has to shoot an annual report I bet you they will hire a professional photographer not just anyone off the street. The reason clients hire professional photographer is that they know they will consistently receive good quality professional images. The sad part is that our fees have been lowered over the years because of behavior like this woman. How did this lady get her job is beyond me with statements like that.

  • Phyllis Ollari

    No, it’s not sad when you think of it in turns of light or lack of, composition, and yes exposure. These are all important as well as the final out put, usually some sort of printing. This was especially important in the darkroom and looking at professionally printed photos. Go look at Moonrise Over Hernandez by Ansel Adams and study how he made that print from crappy negatives. And I never said I let those “technical” details determine whether or not I enjoy a piece of artwork. I wonder about them to learn. Being a photographer is more then knowing composition and by chance getting a good photo. It’s about knowing how to achieve making a good photo and being able to repeat it. That is being a skilled photographer. If one never wonders about the technical aspects of photography one won’t grow as an artist or any sort of working photographer. And that is a bad analogy. The only way that would be apt is if it was about equipment. Looking at “technical” aspects would be like looking at the language of Shakespeare’s work, not the quill or the ink.

  • Phyllis Ollari

    It’s also about knowing light and how to manipulate it through shutter speeds, iso and apertures as well as the printing of it.

  • Phyllis Ollari

    and actually knowing what sort of pigments Van Gogh used is important if you want to paint and get similar colors. I can tell you a tube of windsor newton ain’t going to cut it.

  • Aaron Moore

    Ever heard of the phrase loose lips sink ships? If she didn’t want the negative attention from those statements, she should have chosen her words carefully. As Sam Walton puts it, there’s only one boss. That’s the customers, and they can fire everyone top down by taking their business elsewhere.

  • Mark aus Hamburg


  • Outtanames999

    Oh photographers are a recalcitrant, stubborn, whiny and fairly narcissistic group of egomaniacs, now aren’t they? YES I MEAN YOU.dipwad.

    And disintermediation by the Internet is always ugly to watch up close and it’s certainly no fun when you are the one being disintermediated. Just ask booksellers, Best Buy and travel agencies.

    But try not to take all this personally, ok? Now where was I? Oh yes, if you can manage to forget about your own personal little self for a moment, and consider Yahoo’s perspective on the storage of image files (which after all is all Flickr is), then you will see that in that context, what Mayer said is perfectly true: from Flickr’s perspective (they after all incur all the storage, hosting and at least one side of the bandwidth costs of uploading and downloading YOUR precious little images on their system so I’m sure you will agree they are entitled to an opinion on the matter), more and more photographers of all stripes are hosting larger and larger amounts of image files .A terabyte now looks entirely within reach of anyone storing a large collection of high res images coming out of mega pixel cameras and cell phones.

    THEREFORE, FROM YAHOO’S PERSPECTIVE as the owner of Flickr, professional photography standards aside, technical and aesthetic quality of images aside, TO AN IMAGE HOSTING COMPANY, all stripes of photographers increasingly LOOK LIKE professional photographers IN TERMS OF the amount of and size of images they are storing ON FLICKR’S SYSTEM.

    Get it? Her comment was NOT ABOUT YOU. It was about FLICKR.

    Oh wait what’s that sound? I can hear the whiners already. “But that’s not what she said”.

    You’re right. And this is where intelligence, common sense, good judgement and the ability to understand the world around us and the perspectives of others comes into play = all qualities of a professional. And as a PROFESSIONAL photographer YOURSELF, I’m sure YOU possess those qualities, right? Maybe not for the AVERAGE PROFESSIONAL photographer, but YOU are better than AVERAGE now aren’t you. So it should be within at least YOUR grasp to UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE MEANT even though it MAY NOT BE as obviously stated as YOU would have liked based on WHAT SHE SAID.

    Now don’t you have some photos to take or develop or something? Get outtahere!!

  • Outtanames999

    I, I, I, I, I. And another thing I, that is to say I, and did I mention I?

  • Dominic Ciancibelli

    It all really doesn’t matter. With her misguided changes there are flocks of members switching to ipernity. Such a shame!

  • vegan punkgirl

    What no one is mentioning is the fact that now you cannot control who downloads the large size of your photos. On the Pro account you could upload a larger size for storage on Flickr and ensure that only you could download that size – others could only see and download the lower resolution images. That protection is now gone.
    Also the Pro account was unlimited storage – the free account is only 1 terabyte. The 2 terabyte account costs 10 times what the 1 terabyte account costs – very strange pricing and policy.

  • wayne.carroll

    This is about as interesting as Flickr itself – in other words: B-O-R-I-N-G!!!

  • Jonny Brungus

    Christ, people get bunged up over the dumbest crap. That’s the real study here; the mob outrage at any opinion that is not yours. Completely ridiculous.

  • Jonny Brungus

    I wonder what the difference is between a person who can be confronted with someone else’s opinion, consider it for what it is and move on, and a person who is driven to let it affect them to the core, dragging out their soapbox to let the internet know how hurt their feelings are?

  • Corelogik

    Ms. Mayer’s “misstatement” was no such thing. It was and is indicative of the new thinking and business model that has taken over flickr, and produced and then held onto, the new design ethos.

    A simple, clean, elegant layout is no longer acceptable there, as the photo’s, stories behind them and the people who take them, are no longer what matters.

    Quantity, speed, and reach is all that matters now.

  • Leslie F. Miller

    She didn’t have to insult us for us to know how she feels about creatives. Not at all a misstatement. Just a poor choice, like so many of her choices: revoking telecommute rights, uglifying Google (and now Flickr). I know a four-letter word with her picture next to it.

  • bob

    People are just getting mad because she’s a prominent character

  • RegularGuy55

    It was a simple mistake. It happens all the time.

    For example, people mistake Marissa Mayer for a competent CEO, one who doesn’t burn bridges or insult clients.

    It happens.