PetaPixel

Marissa Mayer Sorry for “Misstatement” on Professional Photographers

mayer

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


 
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  • UatuSees

    Am I the only one who thinks that the original quote was too specific to just be a misstatement?

  • http://twitter.com/NMatosPDX Nate Matos

    It clearly wasn’t. Misunderstanding is an easy word to use when someone says what they weren’t supposed to.

  • Snor

    “You are complaining because your wedding photography surexposed?? You misunderstood the photography.”

  • Viking

    To be honest, she couldn’t be more right. Truth is many people think they are “professional photographers” when actually less than 5% of photographers actually make anything you might call a “living” at it.

  • -

    Why can’t they just tell, “Sorry, I of course don’t think this way after giving all my attention to this subject” or “after a second thought” instead of making things up…

  • Kevin

    You wrote: “Mayer is also using her Twitter account to apologize for the confusion, and it looks like the community is taking kindly to her outreach.”

    When I went to the specified URL, I saw nothing that looks remotely like an apology, or even an acknowledgement of the remark. Are you sure that her apology isn’t just an unfounded rumor?

  • http://www.petapixel.com Michael Zhang

    https://twitter.com/marissamayer/with_replies The default Twitter view filters out Tweets that are directed at other users.

  • 2l33t4u

    it wasn’t a misstatement but there really isn’t much separating a hobbyist and a pro photographer these days.

  • Allyson

    I think “professional photographers” need to work on being less sensitive. It is quite true that the array of technology, web resources, etc. available to everyone renders the playing field significantly more level for anyone with interest to reach an advanced level of proficiency at photography. Assailing Marissa Mayer isn’t really going to solve whatever is really bothering you. No- everyone can’t take great pictures. But, yes- anyone who wants to acquire the knowledge to take professional quality pictures can figure out how to do so with invested time and effort, for free (minus gear). One of the best photographers I know works for one of the big 3 ad agencies and has NO “professional” training.

  • johnr

    pros no longer own great photography. 12yr olds who would never smile for a picture are now taking volumes of well composed, well exposed, and well timed photos off of their cell phones. They are also doing fantastic digital post processing and rapid publishing to boot by availing themselves of today’s technology. The golden age of photography is here, and the rulers are not art majors with Hassalblads

  • azntaiji

    I’ve been loyal to Flickr for 4 years – their new design and pricing ruined it for me. The design is so half-assed, with several sections of the platform still using the old version, not to mention several elements aren’t very aesthetically pleasing. As for the pricing – $50 for a limited storage account, and $500 for 2 terabytes? Ridiculous. I just switched over to 500px yesterday, and for $40 a year I get unlimited everything, a portfolio site, and a much more professional community of enthusiasts (sign in with Klout and you save a lot of $).

    I’ll miss some aspects of Flickr (groups, huge community) but I feel the recent changes are for the worse overall when there are much better options now available.

  • aksolanki

    Hi Allyson, I disagree with you. Everyone can take great pictures. There is no science or art involved. Lots of thought, and a lot of pictures over time is all that is needed. If everyone took 50 pictures everyday. Than I guarantee you will eventually take a “great” picture. All of the professionals take hundreds of shots. And then pick that one “great” shot. Just my opinion. Regards. Anil

  • Mansgame

    She had nothing to apologize for. As I posted in the other story’s comments this morning, many photographers have a highly exaggerated sense of their importance. Delicate geniuses if you will who put themselves up there with the most noble of professions. There are some great photographers out there with talent of course, but for most people, having a “pretty good” picture is just enough and in many other cases, the average guy has the ability to take a “pretty good” picture. That should tell you delicate genius photographers types to turn the outrage meter down a notch.

    Let’s put things in perspective:

    1. Most people can’t dunk a basketball and can never ever be a professional basketball player – even a bad one. The worst player on any professional basketball team (or even college) will absolutely destroy any average joe.

    2. Most people can’t perform surgery. The professionals went to school and spent many years perfecting their craft. There are no amateur surgeons.

    3. Most people can’t wire their own house, run the plumbing in their own house, frame the house, etc. Sure, some people are handy and can do a few things, but when push comes to shove and the house and they want things by the code, they call a professional.

    Etc. etc.

    On the other hand, there are thousands of amateur photographers who can take pictures just as good as the top 20 percent of the professional photographers. and tens of thousands more amateur photographers who can take as good as the average professional photographers, and hundreds of thousands of people who with a basic DSLR who can take better pictures than the worst professionals.

    No other industry is like this. If an amateur can do a better job than a professional in your field, it’s time to get over yourself. You’re not that special Mr. Photographer. Sorry you picked the wrong career.

  • The JennCast

    Unless you want to print the photos.

  • Rebecca Roth

    I think most people took her poor statement out of context. When you read it , it didn’t make much sense. You could tell she was referring to the “Pro” account not being necessary any longer given what is now available for free to everyone….she just didn’t say it very well.

  • Frankie Rodriguez

    Marissa’s apology perfectly describes many of the Yahoo! search results I received before I got fed up and switched to google back in 2000 – “It was a misstatement on my part and out of context. I worded my answer terribly.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/ksuwildkat Rob S

    Now she sounds like a sleazy politician saying they were “misquoted” or taken out of context.

  • azntaiji

    You’re comparing apples to oranges. Sure, many photographers just as skilled as others consider themselves “Pro” which I disagree with, but when you state something like you just did, you’re speaking for everyone and generalizing.

    Just as there are professional surgeons, basketball players, and handymen, there are professional photographers that even specialize in niche types, such as high end Weddings, Products, and Architecture, and have been doing it for several decades. So yes, those professionals do have a right to complain about what she said, besides, who are you to tell them that they’re not professional?

  • ant

    Hey man,

    Not sure which way you are arguing. I can do the wiring in my house, but im not a professional. I have pulled the odd splinter out of my foot, but im not a surgeon. I can dunk a basketball, but definitely not play for a team. I can take photos, (who cannot?), but i am definitely not a pro. A pro makes money at it and i know of several pros.

  • ant

    she is sleazy. right up there with that facebook guy.

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    Sadly, Google has gone the same path with highly irrelevant search results, cluttered layouts and more ads than results. So like I did back in 1998-1998 when I went from a host of search engines to almost exclusive Google, I have moved away from Google and gone to mostly DuckDuckGo.

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    Sad but true. Lots of “well” exposed, “well” timed and “well” composed images are being made but the art of making exceptionally timed, exceptionally exposed and powerfully composed photographs is getting harder to find. As micro-stock has allowed “good enough” to replace skill and excellence many amazing artists simply can’t compete even with high quality.

    It is a sad but true statement on Mrs. Mayer’s part.

  • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

    Taking great photographs is all about understanding art, lines, space, light and composition. It is true that pros will take 100′s of photographs to get the 1 super exceptional image. The random amateur will take, however, 1,000′s to 10,000′s to get an image near the same level.

  • bri

    Honestly, what does it matter what she said? She’s not a professional photographer so what would she really know about being one? The general public probably has much the same thought as her. Explains the decline in the industry as a whole.

  • Mansgame

    What you say is true for the highest of caliber photography needs like commercial photography. Many of the people complaining however are either weekend wedding photographers or slightly above average portrait shooters. I’m not saying they’re not professional but I’m saying their profession is not really that important now days when the average guy can do their profession as a hobby and get very similar results. I for one do not want to get surgery by a “pretty good” surgeon but can live with “pretty good” photographs.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ksuwildkat Rob S

    you havent been around real professionals.

    put an amateur in even slightly challenging light and the distinction between a pro and a non-pro will become immediately clear

  • Mansgame

    Yeah true, but what’s the worst thing that can happen to a person if they have bad pictures? Is it a matter of life and death?

  • Lisandro O Oocks

    ok, This isn’t a comment on Mayer’s issue, or a comment against professional photographers. take it more like a question please.

    Is professional photography turning perhaps more into professional photo editing?

    I don’t know if every professional photographer will say yes to this. This particularly only applies to the professional photographers who use software editing tools which I’m sure is the majority. And I know it could be just my experience, but seems like the professional photographers I know can turn 2 hours of actual picture taking into weeks of editing.

  • Mansgame

    Ok how about this, the worst team in the NBA this season was the Orlando Magic winning only 20 games. The worst player on that team was DeQuan Jones with 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. Dude is only making $470k also.

    If you or one of the guys on your street played DeQuan one on one, do you think you would have a chance in hell against this 6’8 211 pound gentleman? I’m going to say no.

    Now look in Craigslist and find one of the best Craigslist professional photographers out there who offers their services. Then go on flickr and find a pretty good non-professional photographer. I’m willing to bet that “pretty good” flickr photographer can more than hold his own against the below average pro.

    Point is that in many non-photography fields, there is a reason to be offended when someone says their skills something that others can do.

    Your surgeon skills don’t add much..a splinter? ;)

  • Mansgame

    You realize Marissa was working at Google before moving to Yahoo right?

  • schray

    I think everyone reactwd to angry and fast. Ten years ago a professional photographer could make even 5-10000 photographs monthly, when amateurs maybe 4-5 rolls average. But now even some phones can make decent photographs, teenager girls making more pictures in the bathroom than a professional wedding photographer. She said this controversal thing in context of the 1Tb storage, it was clear and people reacted a bit stupid.
    This upgrade is a big leap, specially for amateur photographers. If I convert back my photographs to 6-8megapixel large jpg-s, all my archives ( 8 years ) can be uploaded to a safe place now. It’s awesome, a very generous from flickr.

    I’m sorry for my english, I don’t suppose everyone speaks here hungarian. :)

  • SomeGuyInBoston

    Another case of people looking for reasons to be offended. “What? You said something I disagree with? I shall claim to be offended on a public forum, thus forcing you to apologize for expressing an opinion that you have every right to hold.”

  • Danielle

    Life or death wasn’t the point. It was professional or non-professional, of which there *is* a difference. It’s not life or death if a plumber doesn’t fix my toilet, either.

  • danG!

    I’ve had a non-pro flikr for many years, was excited to hear about the 1 Tb, was in process of setting up workflow to use again but after CEO comment I stopped cold. Are the 1-click effects buttons there yet?

  • fredsugar

    Yeah, it was obvious she wasn’t trying to insult anyone. She is the best leadership Yahoo! has had in years, and she is from Google, she isn’t an idiot.

  • Mansgame

    but it is if you have a gas leak and your house blows up.

  • Lubyanka

    If Marissa Mayer is this careless with globally specific dismissive comments about many members of her actual target demographic, how careless is she likely to be with anything else she does?

    I could say
    “Sure, there’s no such thing as pro CEOs anymore, just different business skill levels. Anybody can run a business y’know.”
    Then again I’m not the head of a multibillion-dollar corporation trying to design and run a service to attract loads of poorly paid struggling CEO artists to use it. I’m also not affected in the slightest by whether any CEOs give a s**t what I say, and they are not affected in the slightest by what I say about them.

    So what I say about them doesn’t matter. What Marissa Mayer says about members of Flickr’s target demographic impacts bunches of people. Whether they’re “too sensitive” or not, in that context those people’s responses MATTER.

  • Ronald

    Put your sorries in a sack missy. I’ve always wanted to say that.

  • Tom collins

    Leave the keyboard and go take pictures. Who cares what she said. I’m heading out to get some shots and coming back and posting to my Flickr. really, get over it. Marisa can’t define you, you do.

  • http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com Ken Aaron

    2t33t4u, I beg to differ. A professional can consistantly make quality images in a variety of situations and conditions. Advanced amatures may be able to do the same or come close. The general public takes snapshots, some of which may be good but most of which is not suited for commercial or artistic uses.

    So how about qualifying your statement? Share with us your amazing insight about what makes a photographer professional, or why there isn’t much of a diference between a hobbist and professional?

  • Rugger Ducky

    Allyson,

    You say one thing, that anyone can become a skilled photographer, but continue to defend the statement that there are no professional photographers. Then you use an example of someone who IS a professional photographer, but with no formal training in the field. So your friend isn’t a professional?

    Photography is something that takes an intense amount of training. A lot more than most snap and click people understand. I spent years in high school, 4 years of college, and I’m still learning. I’m not a pro, because I don’t work daily in the field, but I fully respect those who do.

  • http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com Ken Aaron

    And it matter if the photo that is going for a multimillion dollar ad campaign turns out flat because your definition of pro didn’t understand how to adjust to changing light.

    You’re whole argument is rediculous. Photography, by it’s nature, is accessible to a wide range of people, and some of thos people can become quite proficient at it. I agree that there are a lot of really good amature or hobbist photographers out there.

    But a pro knows how to talk with their clients to understand their needs, translate their marketing message into an image, can work with the client to improve their concept and create a truly compelling image that the client didn’t envision.

    Most of those excellent amatures are creating images for themselves, not for clients, and certainly not for commercial clients. There is real skill in working with your client, meeting their deadlines, consistently producing images that meet their needs.

    From you other comments you only consider making an image. You don’t consider all the work involving the client, you don’t consider that pros make images to match the clients needs, not images that they want to make for themselves. Nor do you consider all the skill in translating your photographic vision and skills into an image the client wants.

    That is what a professinal does.

  • http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com Ken Aaron

    And it matter if the photo that is going for a multimillion dollar ad campaign turns out flat because your definition of pro didn’t understand how to adjust to changing light.

    You’re whole argument is rediculous. Photography, by it’s nature, is accessible to a wide range of people, and some of thos people can become quite proficient at it. I agree that there are a lot of really good amature or hobbist photographers out there.

    But a pro knows how to talk with their clients to understand their needs, translate their marketing message into an image, can work with the client to improve their concept and create a truly compelling image that the client didn’t envision.

    Most of those excellent amatures are creating images for themselves, not for clients, and certainly not for commercial clients. There is real skill in working with your client, meeting their deadlines, consistently producing images that meet their needs.

    From you other comments you only consider making an image. You don’t consider all the work involving the client, you don’t consider that pros make images to match the clients needs, not images that they want to make for themselves. Nor do you consider all the skill in translating your photographic vision and skills into an image the client wants.

    That is what a professinal does.

  • http://www.blastcow.com/ Marc Osborne Jr

    isn’t the guy at Sears a Pro?

  • Oisin Vink

    All of the people spouting ignorance in favour of hobbyists being on par with professional photographers recently is just plain insulting. After three years in the industry… honing my skills, in terms of my understanding of light on location / in a studio setting, directing models, corresponding with clients and constantly studying Photoshop in order to increase my proficiency, I still couldn’t call myself a true professional. There’s an ever expanding learning curve in terms of bettering yourself as a photographer.

    Yet still, let me clarify this conjecture– People with access to instragram, or better yet, a hobbyist with a wasted high range DSLR is apparently on par with all of my hard work and study, because they can use Creative Auto Settings; yet have no idea of all of the numerous processes that are involved in creating a magazine standard image?

    Of course ‘professional photographers’ are f–king sensitive about their craft these days. Ignorance is truly bliss I suppose.

  • Guest

    Any grown-up who read her actual statement realized there was not a story there. Unfortunately Peta-Pixel (and other blogs) run on an old business model that requires serving ads to survive.

    Given the constraints of Peta-Pixel’s business, there are now several stories that must be written so that it can distort what happened, then pretend to clarify the distortion, then comment on the fact that the whole thing was taken out of context.

    Meanwhile, Mayer has (1) improved Flickr (2) made a bold statement about how everyone deserves the same level of service and (3) apologized in order to placate all the folks who were looking to be offended by something.

    It’s a shame that professionals aren’t confident enough in their work that such things even cross their minds. If you think Mayer was talking about you, what does that say about where your head is at?

  • http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com Ken Aaron

    No.

    A professional knows how to talk with their clients to understand their needs, translate their marketing message into an image, can work with the client to improve their concept and create a truly compelling image that the client didn’t envision.

    It is true that digital has expanded/extended the editing process, but that is typically at the client’s request to start with a photo turn it into a heavily manipulated image to meet their needs. Why, because it’s possible to do it with the tools we now have.

    But you still need to be a photographer first.

  • http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com Ken Aaron

    No.

    A professional knows how to talk with their clients to understand their needs, translate their marketing message into an image, can work with the client to improve their concept and create a truly compelling image that the client didn’t envision.

    It is true that digital has expanded/extended the editing process, but that is typically at the client’s request to start with a photo turn it into a heavily manipulated image to meet their needs. Why, because it’s possible to do it with the tools we now have.

    But you still need to be a photographer first.

  • Safe Toronto

    Hey, Freeman Patterson never studied photography – just became a serious amateur – would you call his work not professional?

  • Safe Toronto

    what BS…. that is. pro will take 1000 pics and chose one, and amateur will take 10000 to achieve the same – I almost choke on my food from laughing so hard reading this “pearl of wisdom”