RIP “Professional Photographers”


…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!

Before we start writing the obituary for all Professional Photographers everywhere, let’s recap what we know:

You, Marissa Mayer, were brought on as Yahoo CEO to take a company short on vision and turn it around. With a history of lackluster acquisitions, the task is daunting, to be sure. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say the purchase for $1.1 billion of Tumblr, a company that generated only $13 million last year, was surprising, to say the least, but spoke volumes as to the extent Yahoo is willing to go to increase its “coolness” factor.

The logic behind the purchase? Not cool company (Yahoo) associates itself with cool company (Tumblr) and thus, becomes cool.

If that worked, my grandma should be shopping at Forever 21.


But, I realize that it is not up to me to determine the course of Yahoo. As I sit here in my pajamas, drinking my coffee, I know that there are big power players in the world that are wheelin’ and dealin’ and quite frankly, not much of it has anything to do with me.

I don’t think anyone suffers under the delusion that you, as Yahoo CEO, are trying to better the Professional Photography Industry; that you wake up thinking, “How can I support and enhance the world of Professional Photography and those that create it? How can I, Marissa Mayer, make a difference to these artists?”

You might not think that, but let me assure you, girlfriend, WE do, which is why your statement struck such a raw nerve.

There is no such thing, really, as professional photographers… everything is professional photographers.

You know, I like to think that you were tired when you said this. It was 46 minutes into the event, after all. Maybe you were speaking on an empty stomach, you’d stayed up late watching Jimmy Kimmel and wanted to try out a comedy bit, or maybe, like me, when you open your mouth, you’re never really sure what will come out.

Oh wait, probably not…’cause you’re the CEO OF YAHOO, for cryin’ out loud!

Okay, Marissa, what the what were you thinking?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

See, I believe you have every right as CEO to make decisions for your company, but when you explain your decision by disparaging a group of professionals who already use your product, well, between you and me, girlfriend, that was NOT the smartest move. It ranks right below the Yahoo acquisition of GeoCities. (If you’re reading this and asking yourself, “What is GeoCities?” I say, “Exactly.”)

Now, I’ve been hard on you, Marissa; I admit it. But, it’s tough love. And because I really do want you to do well in your position I’m going to share a little nugget of wisdom with you. This is something those Yahoo Execs won’t tell you. In fact, this is going to come as a major shock, so you might want to sit down. Are you ready? Okay, here goes…

Not everyone with a camera is a Professional Photographer. 

Let’s just let that sink in for awhile.


Now, I know this is hard to comprehend. I mean, I know what you must think: if you have a camera and you can press a button, what more is there? I know, I know, it’s a difficult concept to grasp, you’re not alone in this, but I assure you, there are many Professional Photographers out there.

Some of us are incognito, hiding out in studios or home offices; many of us try to blend in when we work, and there are even those of us who support ourselves and our families with our craft. Mind=blown, right?

So, Marissa, in closing, I wish you well. I would write more, but I have an appointment to go do that thing done by professional photographers that don’t really exist.

(Oh, and by the way, when I researched this article regarding Yahoo, I had to Google it.)

Image credits: Shot @ Hello, India! (BLR) by Neo-grapher, Forever 21 – Columbiana Mall by daysofthundr46, Fortune Most Powerful Women Dinner With Marissa Mayer by Fortune Live Media, Cameras everywhere by noraaaaaaa