We all know by now how Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unleashed the collective fury of photographers and the creative community during her presentation of the new Flickr with a few poorly chosen words. She has since clarified her statement, but the real issue is that the distinction between photographer and professional photographer is fuzzy at best in the minds of most people, particularly those that know little about the world of photography.
This appears to be a big week for Yahoo! with their $1 billion Tumblr acquisition announcement followed by a number of changes to their Flickr service. Exciting stuff in the tech world. However, amid the Yahoo! hoopla, CEO Marissa Mayer managed to insult the entire professional photography community with her comments, being widely interpreted as “there’s no such thing as professional photographers” anymore.
…there’s no such thing as Flickr Pro, because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers, when there’s everything is professional photographers. Certainly there is varying levels of skills, but we didn’t want to have a Flickr Pro anymore, we wanted everyone to have professional quality photos, space, and sharing.” – Marissa Mayer, Yahoo Event, May 2013
Woah, there, Yahoo cowgirl…let’s hold on just a second!
Photographers often grumble about the rise of hobbyist photographers who charge little to no money across all kinds of photographic niches, robbing hard working professionals of clients and flooding the market with subpar results.
Instead of simply being discontent about how the industry has been changing, photographers Geoff Johnson and Kameron Bayne decided to do something about it. They’ve created Fotoseeds, a business that aims to make professional photography a sustainable profession by educating photographers, helping them grow their businesses, and doing away with insecurity and ignorance.
The Onion has published a humorous tongue-in-cheek piece that many non-professional photography enthusiasts may find very thought provoking. It’s titled “Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life.” In the commentary, author ‘David Ferguson’ writes,
I have always been a big proponent of following your heart and doing exactly what you want to do. It sounds so simple, right? But there are people who spend years—decades, even—trying to find a true sense of purpose for themselves. My advice? Just find the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else, your one true passion, and do it for the rest of your life on nights and weekends when you’re exhausted and cranky and just want to go to bed.
It could be anything—music, writing, drawing, acting, teaching—it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that once you know what you want to do, you dive in a full 10 percent and spend the other 90 torturing yourself because you know damn well that it’s far too late to make a drastic career change, and that you’re stuck on this mind-numbing path for the rest of your life.
If you’re reading this blog and you can relate to this satire piece, that ‘thing’ for you is probably photography. It seems to be hitting home for many, many people, as the article has gone quite viral online over the past few days.
Find The Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights And Weekends For The Rest Of Your Life [The Onion via Reddit]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on Cubicle Sweet Cubicle by DDFic
In late 2012, Photoshelter surveyed around 5,000 photographers to find out the industries outlook on 2013. Some of the findings were pretty interesting.
The chart above shows the top challenges the photographers think they’ll face in 2013. Only 10% of those who responded were worried about gear-related issues. People don’t seem to be having a hard time finding the right equipment to use for their shoots — it’s the business-side of the photography business that’s weighing photogs down.
Zack Arias is a professional photographer based in Atlanta who runs a popular personal blog with a sizable following. He’s also runs the photography equivalent of Dear Abby.
Professional photographers are often hired to capture moments in life that are memorable and emotional — two words that aptly describe military homecomings. The number of photographers hired to shoot homecomings is reportedly growing, as more and more families are hiring professionals to document the reunions that occur when soldiers return from war.
Ever wonder what the average age of professional photographers is? Dave Good of Rangefinder magazine writes,
Ed Lee is the group director of InfoTrends Worldwide Consumer and Professional Imaging Services. “The number of female photographers has grown,” he says. Now it’s a 2/3-to-1/3 split of males to females, a pickup from last year.” Forty percent of them are part time, while 28 percent, he says, are full time. “And it’s a younger female at that,” he says. “Age 45, and younger,” according to the 2011 & 2012 InfoTrends Professional Photographer Study.
“It comes down to the economy,” Lee says. “With families still struggling, people are turning to part-time photography as a way to bring money into the home.” He sees the photo business as a changing of the guard. “The average age of the full-time male photographer is 50. The average age of the full-time female photographer is 41.” The implication is that more full time male photographers are retiring. “You’re going to see a shifting towards an even higher percentage of females.”
The magazine’s entire Business Trends Report 2012 is worth a read if you’re at all interested in how the photo industry is changing.
State of the Industry: Business Trends 2012 [Rangefinder]
Thanks for sending in the tip, Phil!
Image credit: Photo illustration based on Tree rings by [email protected]
A brief exchange during a passing conversation a few days ago got me thinking. Someone said something about how lucky I was to make a living as an artist. I immediately corrected them; while immensely thankful for my career, a job where I get to wake up every day and make images, I felt obligated to point out that most of the time I am not, in fact, an artist at all.
At best, assignment photographers are craftsmen, not artists, solving other people’s problems and putting other people’s ideas into effect in the most timely and cost-effective way possible; to think otherwise is delusional.