Enough !!. Those that talk about the good old days of photography have no memory. They are the same who declared the photography industry dead when Royalty Free first appeared. And did the same when technology forced them to move to digital, which they did very reluctantly and backwards. They cried at the arrivals of the corporations saying that, that too, was the end of photography. Photography has died so many deaths. Poor thing.
These dinosaurs think like little boutique owners that wish for an ever immobile status quo. They would love to see a business world with no disturbance and thus no growth. When they see a supermarket opening next door, they spend more time complaining and winning then reacting to change, let alone creating change. The photography world is not different than the rest of the business world. It grows, it changes, it evolves, it mutates, but it never stays the same. It never will. This is why it is so fascinating and engaging.
It is still very much in its infancy compared to other industries, and yes, it is evolving very fast. Photographers had to switch from manual cameras as heavy as rocks with no light meter to automatic cameras. And then embraced the digital evolution by learning all there is to know about computers. You would never see that in any other trade.
Photographers are as much client friendly as agencies. They want their images published and paid for. That is why some of the best in the world work for and with Getty. It works. Photographers are not on the side of photographers, they are on their own side or the side of their successful agencies, “because they work only to please their clients”.
And that is the rule number one of any successful business: please your clients, not your suppliers. A photo agency that believes that success lies in satisfying their photographers will fail, for sure. Does Amazon.com work to please the book publishers or writers ? Does Wal Mart work to please the toy manufacturer ? Certainly not. But by allowing those suppliers to access a huge client base and generate significant revenues, I am sure they satisfy their needs. Just like the photographers.
So let’s stop winning about the “good old days”. When were those, by the way ? the 30’s, the 50’s. Or was it when photo agencies where still taking 50% of the photographers revenue from sub agents for no reasons. And losing transparencies. They never existed, these :Good ol’ Days”. The good old days are today, when everything is possible and still new, where the market is opening to new photographers and new customers. Where one has the ability to leverage technology to such a degree that what used to take 10 person a day to accomplish can be done in minutes.
and yes, like any other business, the customer is always right. They are the ones who declares an agency, or photographer, successful.