Magazine and newspaper stories have traditionally revolved around the writer. A writer would pitch stories and was almost always the architect of the piece. When the story needed visuals, a photographer or illustrator would be brought in, often after the story was finished. This order of operations placed the writer in the driver’s seat.
The primacy of the writer was reflected in the leadership of the publication where editors, responsible for direction and content, rose from the ranks of authors. During the nineteenth century, when publications were gray tomes celebrating the written word, this was a perfect arrangement. Artwork accompanied the story, augmented it, clarified it, attracted attention to it, but always served a subordinate role. Photography was the appetizer to the article’s main course — the words.
Hiroshi Hiyama over at Phys.Org reports that smartphones are crushing the point-and-shoot industry, putting compact cameras in the same group as video game consoles and portable music players — devices that are having a hard time competing against all-in-one phones. The numbers are crazy:
Just as digital cameras all but destroyed the market for photographic film, the rapid shift to picture-taking smartphones has torn into a camera sector dominated by Japanese firms including Canon, Olympus, Sony and Nikon. “We may be seeing the beginning of the collapse of the compact camera market,” said [analyst] Nobuo Kurahashi. Figures from Japan’s Camera and Imaging Products Association echo the analyst’s grim prediction. Global shipments of digital cameras among Japanese firms tumbled about 42 percent in September from a year ago to 7.58 million units, with compact offerings falling 48 percent, according to the Association. Higher-end cameras with detachable lenses fell a more modest 7.4 percent in that time, it said.
As the compact camera market shrinks, the war over mirrorless camera dominance is growing. All the major camera makers now have a horse in that race, which will only be heating up as consumers discover that they no longer have a need for small-sensor cameras.
Smartphones crushing point-and-shoot camera market [Phys.Org]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on still from Inception by Warner Bros. Pictures
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@example.com
Yesterday we shared a piece by photographer Kenneth Jarecke on why Instagram isn’t fit for photojournalism. Now, from the other side of the aisle, Jeff Bercovici of Forbes writes that Time had great success after hiring five Instagrammers to document Hurricane Sandy:
The resulting collection on Lightbox, Time’s photography blog, was “one of the most popular galleries we’ve ever done,” says [Time DP Kira] Pollack, and it was responsible for 13% of all the site’s traffic during a week when Time.com had its fourth-biggest day ever. Time’s Instagram account attracted 12,000 new followers during a 48-hour period.
One of Benjamin Lowy’s photos even ended up getting selected for the cover, although it’s one of three covers Time is running this week [...] While the level of resolution isn’t perhaps what might be achieved with a camera, says Pollack, “It reproduced beautifully. There’s almost a painterly quality to it.”
Pollack tells FolioMag that the decision to use Instagram was based on distribution speed rather than aesthetics.
Why Time Magazine Used Instagram To Cover Hurricane Sandy [Forbes]
P.S. It seems that by “Instagram photo”, Forbes and Time are referring to the fact that they were shared through, not captured with, Instagram.
Another sign of the times (and bad news for film-photography enthusiasts): one of the most prestigious photo competitions in the world no longer accepts film photographs. Earlier this week Nikon published a “call for entries” for its 34th Nikon Photo Contest. Here’s what the entry guidelines say about “Eligible Works”:
Image data files created with digital cameras (including medium- and large-format cameras). Images that have been retouched using software or by other means will be accepted. Both color and monochrome images will be accepted. (Scans of photographs taken with film cameras are not eligible.)
The contest has been held since 1969 to “provide an opportunity for photographers around the world to communicate and to enrich photographic culture for professionals and amateurs alike.”
The photograph seen here was shot using a tablet computer — one that doesn’t officially exist yet. Google engineering SVP Vic Gundotra posted the image to Google+ at 4:57 this morning with the caption, “Early morning walk on the beach.” A quick peek at the EXIF data reveals that it was captured with the “Google Nexus 10,” a tablet that’ll reportedly be unveiled at a press event next Monday.
Businessweek writes that Canon has lowered its sales estimates across all its camera lines, saying that smartphones are drinking its milkshake — and it’s not just Canon:
Global camera sales are expected to fall 4.3 percent this year to 115.2 million units, according to market researcher IHS. Industrywide camera shipments fell 25 percent in August from a year earlier, according to the Camera & Imaging Products Association in Tokyo.
By comparison, global sales of smartphones [...] rose 32 percent to 146.1 million units in the second quarter, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.
“We lowered our camera sales projection because of slower economic growth and an increasing use of smartphones that’s eroding demand,” [Canon] Chief Financial Officer Toshizo Tanaka told reporters in Tokyo today.
This year, compact cameras are projected to have the worst demand since 2009. Who would have thought that digital cameras would be struggling as digital photography booms?
Canon Reduces Forecasts as Smartphones Start Replacing Cameras [Businessweek]
Update: Canon has announced its latest quarterly results. Revenue is down 13% and profit is down 42%.
Image credit: Fotógrafo / Photographer by ajgelado
In an interview we published this past weekend, popular photo blogger Thomas Hawk predicted that one of the major trends over the next five years will be “monetization for non-professional photographers.” Paul Melcher of Thoughts of a Bohemian made the exact same prediction today:
The next major disruption in the photo world will be individual licensing. The ability for any individual to license images directly [...] Getty has been fighting these trends by cutting deals with photo sharing platforms like Flickr, but for how long? Those who license via Getty do not appreciate the very low commission rate they receive and since they are already contacted by image buyers directly, can easily jump ship if offered other solution.
So what will be the effect? While, like today everyone is a publisher, tomorrow, everyone will be a photo agency capable of licensing their images with one click from anywhere. They might license only one image a year each, but multiplied by millions worlwide, they will seriously impact the photo licensing world.
So which entrepreneur or photo-hosting service will be the “first mover” in this yet-to-emerge market? Whoever it turns out to be, that person or company will both make a killing and turn a photography-related industry on its head.
The Next Big Thing [Thoughts of a Bohemian]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on hand full of polaroids by and Money Hand Holding Bankroll Girls February 08, 20117 by stevendepolo
Nikon published a news post recently boasting that its D4 and D800 DSLRs had “become the first DSLR cameras to pass the very elaborate European Broadcasting Union (EBU) test, commonly referred to as the BBC Test.”
These tests were conducted by Alan Roberts, who spent most of his career in research and development at the BBC and wrote the new EBU guidelines and testing procedures. Alan commented that both the D4 and D800 exhibited the lowest amount of rolling shutter he has ever seen in a CMOS equipped camera. He also commented that the exposure latitudes of the D4 were truly remarkable at around 13 stops;
Other publications reporting on the test results aren’t nearly as enthusiastic as Nikon about the results. wolfcrow writes that the D800 actually failed the test, pointing to the concluding line, “This camera cannot be recommended for serious programme-making.”