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Casual Photographers Were ‘Stealing’ Work from Pros Back in 1887



Professional photographers sometimes gripe about how casual shooters undercut their businesses by offering (often) lesser quality work for pennies on the dollar. But it’s not something that was brought on by cheap and accessible digital cameras — this “problem” has been around from the early days of photography.

RIT photography professor Ted Kinsman found the small article above from a UK publication titled The Photographic News. The article, owned by the Eastman House Museum, is found alongside a few pages of chemical formulas, and was published way back in 1887 — 129 years ago!

It’s a note about how an amateur photographer brought his camera to an event and was shooting with “such coolness” and in “so business-like a way” that it ruffled the feathers of a professional photographer there.

“Photography is now so widespread, and apparatus so cheap, the peripatetic photographer, who used to do a good business with picnicing and boating parties, may perhaps be driven out of the field by amateur competition,” the article concludes.

129 years later, there are still professional photographers making their living by producing photos that clients are willing to pay a premium for.