Photographers getting the squeeze....

From portraiture to photojournalism, fashion, weddings and whatever
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Dusty
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Photographers getting the squeeze....

Unread postby Dusty » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:27 pm

This is as close as I could come to a forum to post this. An article from the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/busin ... gewanted=1

This talks about pros getting squeezed out by the amateurs and micro-stock photography.

The times, they are a changin'.

Dusty

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Re: Photographers getting the squeeze....

Unread postby Javelin » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:40 pm

I'm kinda conflicted on this issue. I just met a man that was a commercial photographer for 30 years and has a Bsc in photography and some other degree in art. he said he got out as soon as digitals started getting popular because it was becoming impossible to kake a living. on the other hand 2 people I know are making a really nice go of it just selling thier pictures and a third is training these new users and making some money at it.

Theres also a few people from the STF forum that started at the same time I did there which are hugely talented and well known now, I asssume they make a nice living at it too.

I wonder if the box camera guys felt the same way when 35mm started taking over?

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Re: Photographers getting the squeeze....

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:35 am

The difference is that in the past someone who was a good technician - like me - could succeed without much creative talent or originality (ditto!). I was a good imitator, and still am a good imitator - that extended to being able to copy studio or darkroom techniques, remember words and terms, and learn very quickly from books, articles or experience.

Learning is, after all, just imitation - copying. What the NYT article demonstrates is that someone whose artistic vision is effectively naive, untrained, personal can do well in an era where the technical/aesthetic imitative (learning) process no longer matters much.

I will admit this is a problem facing me; my current work will probably end in two or three years, I will still need to work but I'm not entirely sure what as. I've seen the beancounters (with mixed respect, I have some good friends who are beancounters!) win huge salaries while creatives earn next to nothing. I don't understand it; when I was in my late 20s, my earnings were a match for the chief executive of ICI (probably because the 'earnings league' tables back then never revealed all the share options and bonuses...) and WELL above a head teacher, a local authority chief, or a typical manufacturing company director. On the level with a doctor or architect, and they were usually twice my age.

Now we earn about a quarter of the salary of a minor local authority head of dept, and significantly less than my daughter and her partner earn in government and software jobs. We couldn't even buy a basic house if we didn't have one - and yet on paper we were worth a million (sterling not dollar) a couple of years ago, because we bought our first house when I was 19, and resolutely moved to properties we could not afford to buy or run at every opportunity. Rather less now, but it's all relative.

I know photographers who are doing as well as I was, similar age - the Porsches etc, we had 'em, two or three or four car family, full time living in nanny, whatever. But they are all doing WEDDING photography not photojournalism. 30 years ago wedding photography got you nowhere, photojournalism could earn as much in a day as most people made in a week - advertising photography could earn what they made in a month, in one day. Today, if you want a quarter of a million a year, wedding and portrait photography seems to be the preferred route - and people will pay $10,000 to their wedding photographer.

Still, someone paid $750 for a shot of a hotel exit sign on a main road last week - I just wish I could find one of these every day...

David

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pakodominguez
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Re: Photographers getting the squeeze....

Unread postby pakodominguez » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:05 am

Nothing is the way it used to be... Darwinism is everywhere and photographers have to adapt their-selves to new markets and trends.

But, I think the only way to be somehow successful is by doing what you love -there are hundred of better reasons for doing weddings that just the fact that nowadays you can make some money (in certain markets, not everywhere...) on it.
In any case, the article is out of date: the industry got the shock that bring us here by the first Golf war (9-11 was the definitive sign that digital will toke over the market)

And, about the character selling her pics trough Flickr, Susan Sontag's On Photography already develop the idea of "luck" (I don't agree) during the act of photographing. If that lady sell her pics better than a certain professional is probably because she is in closer contact with "the public".

Regards
Pako
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Dusty
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Re: Photographers getting the squeeze....

Unread postby Dusty » Thu Apr 01, 2010 5:19 pm

pakodominguez wrote:Nothing is the way it used to be... Darwinism is everywhere and photographers have to adapt their-selves to new markets and trends.


That's very true. New technology brings out new paradigms. Buggy whip makers had to start making steering wheels, and typing pools were done away with by the PC and word processing software. Factory workers are increasingly replaced by faster, better robots. I saw on the History Channel how a Kia was made (here in the US, no less!) from rolled sheet steel to completed car in 23 hours, with very little human input. That used to be a 3 day job assembling pre-stamped and welded parts with a lot of human intervention.

There's still the creative angle for good photographers, especially in commercial and industrial photography, when they can find it. I have a customer trying to get sewage municipal pumps to look appealing!

Dusty


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