It’s not photography that is sick and dying, it’s the people that handle it. Sure, there has been dramatic bankruptcies, like Grazia Neri , l’ Oeil Public and now Eyedea Press ( that one was a long time coming). On the other hand, there more than a billion of images on Flickr, more on Photobucket, and Facebook. There has never been so many cameras in the streets and so many people interested in photography. With the Internet, there has never been such a demand, and need for images. Smartphones, Ipad, tablets, netbooks, are only increasing the demand for stills.
Yet, pro photographer can’t seem to make a living anymore, while photo editors have either no budget or are being laid off by buckets. So what is wrong ? Well, for one, it’s those who manage photography that are sick. None of the old and current guard have any idea how to take advantage of this Tsunami of demand. It’s leaking from all over the place. The only made with Flickr was when the original founders sold it to Yahoo. Since, it’s been bleeding cash. Instead of creating tools to allow members to license it, they passed it on to Getty Images to try and squeeze some money juice out of it. It could take decades, if not century for Yahoo to see a return on investment using this route.
While magazines are dying a slow and painful circulation death, there online counterpart have yet to be succesful in generate the same revenue as they used too . Why, because they keep on trying to replicate online what has been a success in print. The fact that its not working doesn’t seem to bother them. They keep on trying.
Photographers still shoot the same thing, the same way, for a clientele that is shrinking, both in size and resources. They desperately cling to old formulas that they hope will resurface some day. Not going to happen. And finally, photo agencies try to hang on the slippery slop of declining revenue by agreeing to cut fees in the hopes there is a trampoline at the bottom of the hill. Not there.
Everyone is playing the waiting game, hoping that some savior will find the magic solution. In the mean time, they are all guilty of killing photography by undervaluing it. It’s has become a commodity, some say. Other offer ridiculous subscription model, feeling comfort in the fact that mass production Getty does it. All whine all day, all night, all the time.
Stop whining. Do . Try. fail. Try again. fail again. Who cares? You will make progress. And if you are lucky ( or smart), it will work. Better than you had ever expected. It’s not obvious. But the market is there. The current model doesn’t work, we can all agree on that. So, try new ones. Take advice from no one. Just do. It will hurt, it will be frustrating, it will be exhausting, it will feel incredibly useless, it will not work. But it’s so much better than whining all the time. Stop waiting for something to happen. Take control.