(see Italian version of this entry on Poterefotografico )One of the leading explanation for the disappearance of the Neanderthals was that they could not adapt their tools to the new conditions surrounding them. They were stubbornly trying to use those they had and adapt them. Obviously it did not work and they vanished.It is said that they might not have had the mental capacity to understand their conditions and were genetically doomed anyway. Since the invasions of the corpocrate in the photo industry in the late 90’s and early 00’s, brought forth by companies like Corbis, Getty and the now defunct Jupiter/A21, it seems that we are seeing prehistory repeat itself.Armed with poorly adaptable tools inherited by their MBA schools, a steady stream of self assure corpocrates have slowly invaded the photo business trade. They have tried to adapt the industry to their tools rather than the opposite. An incessant flow of un-passionate executives coming from all kind of non photo related backgrounds have the taken the helm of these companies, utterly convince of their superior business understanding, only to be spit out a few years later. Regardless, they persist. The amount of ex Corbis, Ex Getty or ex Jupiter executive who had no previous experience in the photo industry before they entered those companies and have now opened some kind of photo related business is frightening. As if a failed stint in these corporation have made them suddenly experts. Some open RF photo agencies ( the majority), others become Success Coaches or marketing experts ( with newsletters or blogs) , while others create “one trick poney” companies that have no chance of surviving. They all have in common this pathetic idea that somehow, somewhere, they received the magic touch from the Photography gods and they have seen the Light.While all these ex open their useless shops, their old companies replace them with new batches of fresh executives, as clueless as they were, in the hope that someone, anyone, will figure out how to make these tools fit the market, or the opposite.All this would be amusing if it wasn’t for the fact that in the process their are destroying their own market. Because this industry is not, or poorly regulated, anything goes. And like a bunch of irresponsible farmers, they are creating there own dustbowl. Obsessive and poorly equipped for change, they try over and over, to survive, or grow, by applying their inadequate solutions.It is not photogrpahy that is dying. Actually, it is doing just fine. It is the Business of photo licensing. From publishing CFO’s convinced that by cutting their photo department they will revert the incessant decline of their publications to photo agency executive who beleive that by cutting their prices, bankruptcy will ignore them, to photographers smiling when they receive commission check with sales of 11 cents, there seems that there is no shortage of Neanderthals these days.Most of this is driven by fear. Fear of change, fear of losing , fear of even trying. Those who’s responsibility is to create and license professional grade images are paralyzed by fear. Mostly because they shortsightedly beleive that on the other side of change there is chaos, death and emptiness. Just like their ancestors did.Sure, they don’t eat as well as before, and sure, they do not travel as much and sure hard times demand sacrifices. But something is better than nothing, right ? And the solution is right around the corner, isn’t it? someone will find out what to do and then I can follow their example. Right ? Why would I change what I have been doing for so long. I didn’t do anything wrong. Things will come back to what they used to be. Right ? right ? Can somebody please answer me ?5 years from now, this landscape will have been completely transformed. It’s going to be a painful carnage ( it has already started). The first to go will be those who fear.
The Fear Decade