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Does The World Even Need Photojournalists

Watching CNN here on the plane and helo collision over the Hudson (just after returning to DC) CNN appears to rely so much now of Citizen Journalism, and reports now from Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook, it prompted me to start a discussion on why does the media even need us PJ’s anymore? With the onslaught of cheap digital cameras, and instant intent access anywhere?

Just the other day I had called an editor friend of mine asking if he had any upcoming slugs for me, to which he chuckled, “Nah, we get most of the little stuff these days online from readers who just email pictures. Saves me the hassle of having to send out a [pho]tog.”

Truth be known it’s hard to see why the media would want to pay us to do a task that people are willing to do for free. yes, we have training, and experience, but it seems that the big boys (the networks, CNN, FOX and so forth) would gladly give that up for free man-on0the-street coverage. And the increase dependency and use of using Twitter, Flickr, and/or Facebook and just goes to rove it.

by Aaron J. Heiner at 2009-08-08 21:35:48 UTC New York City , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

as a White House economic advisor once said:

“If your horse dies, I suggest you dismount”

by teru kuwayama | 09 Aug 2009 04:08 | Kabul, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
I noticed this too. I was amazed to go to CNN.com and see that their entire photo gallery for the collision was provided by iReport. It was even sadder when I looked through the photos and realized that, even though they were clearly amateur and lower quality than a pro, they were just fine for a story that will be out of the headlines in 36 hours. In the age of the internet breaking news is disposable news. I think the photojournalists role is going to shift towards the in-depth stories…

by Jon Vidar | 09 Aug 2009 04:08 | Los Angeles, United States | | Report spam→
If someone were to introduce a system or service where people could charge the media for the use of their photos, that would go away.
Not an agency, per se, but some kind of broker that would charge the hell out of the networks for photos from non-journalists.
The trick would be to get it into the consciousness of the man-on-the-street that he should be charging for newsworthy photos, not giving them away.
If that situation were to correct itself, the media would have the option of paying for mediocre quality, or paying for professional quality.

But with the Hudson helicopter crash, were there any pictures of the actual crash taken by a photojournalist? The pic I’ve seen of the actual collision looks like it was probably snapped by a lucky tourist, though the credit now reads AFP/Getty on some of the sites using it.

by [former member] | 09 Aug 2009 04:08 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
There are still story that need infiltration, research and intimate relation with the subject or feature. It is indeed a more in-depth approach.

Two years ago, I met George S. Zimbel, a 80 years old photojournalist of the JFK and Marilyn era. He told me to forget about breaking news and find a feature that matter to me and work it out deep and intimate.

“Go back to the essence of reportage, photojournalism and storytelling. By getting passion into your work you will acheive something and things will fall into place”.

Best

M-A Pauzé

by Marc Andre Pauze | 09 Aug 2009 04:08 | Parent, Qc, Canada | | Report spam→
“find a feature that matter to me and work it out deep and intimate.”

well I guess many photojournalist/photographers are already going down this road. Since the “start” of my career I think I never really shot anything “breaking news”, it never made much sense to me. Many of the stuff you get over the wires are happy-snappy with a expensive camera anyways, I think. So why should the costumer pay so much more for just a little bit extra.

Photostories are a all different ball game though. The biggest problem here, is the funding in my experience. You want to do a good job, so you have to invest some time and that is costly. If you lucky you can do a story beside your daily work or squeeze it in the days where you don’t have so much to do. But as soon as traveling is part of it, you have to find someone who is willing to pay the bills.

But in general I agree with Marc. As a freelancer breaking news doesn’t make much sense anymore, apart from going a little bit more extrem ( war/conflict ), but even this assignments don’t pay so well anymore and are left more or less to fixed agency people ( or local stringers ).

And to be honest, I find photoessays much more satisfying ;).

by marc hofer | 09 Aug 2009 09:08 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
It is true our profession has changed too much too fast. But lets see the " i-media " types go to the far off places and report, as we have seen the wannabes have been captured, imprisoned etc. with not much real news from them. Our job still exists, we have to change and adapt.
The money is gone the impact is gone from true photo stories. We all have to go out and make our own stories, and show that they count. Filtering out the bad will come soon. Twitter will die along with lame blogs, 2-second news flashes from the web will fail also.

PJ’s will need a second job, while they work on their passion of telling stories with pictures. We will have to start shooting video at the same time, and writing.

Hang in there and we will prevail.

by N&N | 09 Aug 2009 09:08 | | Report spam→
I am heartened by the fact that the Times is going to charge to view as are many publications in England not to mention Murdoch is going the same way. Once this becomes the norm, consumers will have to decide where to spend their “News” dollars. On a a crappy citizen journal or a professionally run and produced publication. I think those who really care about truthful, fully investigated, fact checked news will be willing to pay for the professional publication.

I am working on a project called iPress News an organization that puts shooters, reporters and editors back to work, is monetized and has world wide coverage. This is a place for professionals and will allow for some exciting collaborations for reporting.

by Barry D Kirsch | 09 Aug 2009 13:08 | Orlando, Florida, United States | | Report spam→
Please remind me where all these indepth stories are usually shown. I’ve started to wonder if the only place such work is shown is in an art gallery or web gallery.

Is it any surprise that a professional photographer wasn’t there to capture the Hudson crash? Should editors be told in advance that these events are coming up so they can send a professional out to capture it all. Did they ever know in advance or was it always a question of being lucky enough to be there with a camera handy or to catch the follow on. I find Marc Pauze’s post reassuring.

On the other hand, some events do take time to develop and then the pros are there. There were some fabulous images taken by professional photojournalists during the bushfires in Australia in February this year. They were shown on the tv news (which makes a nice change from video) and used beautifully in the memorial service which was broadcast live around the country.

Perhaps if amateur pictures are used for news, its because that’s the best that is available.

by Andrea | 09 Aug 2009 16:08 | Queensland, Australia | | Report spam→
There are still story that need infiltration, research and intimate relation with the subject or feature. It is indeed a more in-depth approach.

Two years ago, I met George S. Zimbel, a 80 years old photojournalist of the JFK and Marilyn era. He told me to forget about breaking news and find a feature that matter to me and work it out deep and intimate.

“Go back to the essence of reportage, photojournalism and storytelling. By getting passion into your work you will acheive something and things will fall into place”

Seems to me there are quite a few bloggers out there, that do this now. Many of whom never make a penny doing it. They do not call themselves photojournalists, nor do they do it as a profession but rather as a method for social change. Most of them have no interest in journalism, being objective, and are completely asymmetrical in the recordings and reporting of fact. (aka citizen journalism)

I guess it’s obvious Andrea does not make her living doing this field. The trend in iReporting has increased exponentially over the past five years, and in a city as large as NYC, I find it completely appalling if no PJ’s were available to cover this events. Even five or ten years ago if a simple car wreck or house fire broke out, a local photographer for the paper would be on site in five minutes. A city of 10 million people, clearly press photographers and PJ’s have police scanners.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 09 Aug 2009 16:08 (ed. Aug 9 2009) | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
When I first wrote my post on the Zimbel quote, I have deliberately erased the result of his suggestion.

Since I am following his advice, my photojournalist profesionnal activities got better. Not that I rely only on photojournalism to live, but recognition, offers, openings and publications came as a result. Was it because I concentrated on subjects that matter or because, going back to the essence, grounded me in what I really want to do in photojournalism and improved my vision.

I can say that doubts invade me periodically. On one of those depressing morning, I reveived a phone call telling me I was finalist in the Independant Journalism Award, and the other one, a few minutes later was an assignment offer.

Of course, building my essay on writing (in french) and photography help me but I move on. Writing in english, would help me probably more.

We as photographer (or journalist) can document topics without being activist. As for objectivty, I think it’s W. Eugene Smith that once said “Objectivty” was the biggest mistake in the photojournalist language. We should try to be “Honest” in our reserch of facts.

Objectivity is the result of different visons, it comes after intellectual process from the reader/viewer exposed to these different independant visions.

by Marc Andre Pauze | 09 Aug 2009 17:08 | Parent, Qc, Canada | | Report spam→
To be honest, do you really want to base a career out of breaking news? What’s the going rate these days anyway? I bet you’d get more working at starbucks, so leave it to joe blogs and his 1ds/d3x and worry about other projects that do earn cash.

I agree with Barry, I think what Murdoch is planning will change the industry. Right now the Internet is free, you can get what you want, when you want it. When the customer is faced with having to pay to view websites, I somehow don’t think they’d happily accept the crap that is currently being pushed by the big networks. i-report is lovely as a free alternative, but how many people will honestly pay for that?

by Daniel Cuthbert | 09 Aug 2009 18:08 | Durban, South Africa | | Report spam→
Yes aaron, I take your point but i was referring to capturing the event itself, not the aftermath. I guess its possible that the flight towers could have contacted an editor quickly in the past but now don’t bother.

The absence of stunning pictures from every day news events is perhaps only part of the whole equation. Everything is getting cheaper. Pictures, writing, even aeroplane travel. (now i believe they are talking about standing up on flights for cheaper tickets). People seem to want it this way. However, there will always be quality, you just have to be prepared to pay for it and as always it won’t be available for the masses.

Its just difficult for photojournalists now because things are not as they were. People have to adjust and find a new path that has not been mapped out for them. People have to stumble upon it themselves, create it themselves. The uncertainty is causing stress. The world is definitely more stressful for many I am sure, or the cause of the stress is changing.

The world changes but everything stays pretty much the same. The stresses photojournalists have to deal with today are only different from the ones they had to deal with in the past. There must be some guys out there who are not stressing. They are already established, have a ton of contacts, etc and will never be without work unless they want to. Its just the mob who are starting out or who haven’t quite established a secure income who are under more pressure. Then of course there is the recession which is an added stress on pretty much everyone anyway.

by Andrea | 09 Aug 2009 18:08 | Queensland, Australia | | Report spam→


by Marc Andre Pauze | 10 Aug 2009 04:08 (ed. Aug 10 2009) | Parent, Qc, Canada | | Report spam→
“The absence of stunning pictures from every day news events is perhaps only part of the whole equation. Everything is getting cheaper. Pictures, writing, even aeroplane travel. (now i believe they are talking about standing up on flights for cheaper tickets). People seem to want it this way. However, there will always be quality, you just have to be prepared to pay for it and as always it won’t be available for the masses.”

In general we can say, that there is a over-supply of photographers and a dwindling market share ( that actually pays ) for them. Hundreds of young and hungry men and women are out there, with a DSLR, a cheap airfare ticket and the will to risk something ( lets face it, we are all out there trying to live our dream ). Although Im not a big fan of market-mechanics but in this case I guess it applies. There is of course of huge demand of pictures, but not in a way that it makes a difference to the financial element ( huge demand, but nobody wants to pay ). I think in the end the whole thing will work itself out. At some point many photographers are going to move on to other fields because they just can’t sustain themselves over a certain period of time. A couple of guys will be left, sharing the left over market-value of magazines and other media outletts who are willing to pay for their pictures or cover their costs ( like many posters mentioned, that there is always someone out there who is willing to pay for quality). The rest will do something else. We just have to accept that not all of us can live “the dream”.

by marc hofer | 10 Aug 2009 07:08 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
…At some point many photographers are going to move on to other fields because they just can’t sustain themselves over a certain period of time. A couple of guys will be left, sharing the left over market-value of magazines and other media outlets who are willing to pay for their pictures or cover their costs…

gets the hit the nail on the head award!

by John Robinson | 10 Aug 2009 07:08 | Pietermaritzburg, South Africa | | Report spam→
Right. That’s why I’m doing weddings. The occasional assignment from AP like I had yesterday simply wouldn’t be able to sustain me. I’d rather suffer the boredom of shooting weddings than being constantly broke. I regret the dying of our profession but I won’t go to the grave with it. To those who have the courage and resolution to stay with it, good luck. May the “reset” of the business of news reward you eventually.

by Max Pasion | 10 Aug 2009 07:08 (ed. Aug 10 2009) | Bayonne, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
you should all quit

by [former member] | 11 Aug 2009 13:08 | Kunar, Afghanistan | | Report spam→
Do you really think many people will pay for “quality” online news providers? Are people actually interested in what happens in the world? Just look at the succes of the tabloid/gossip “press”… It seems to be the only thing the majority of the people care about these days. I looked into the biggest newspaper of my country and it is all about sensation and celebs. And “news providers” like this help make the public opinion! Real news like 44 casualties in Iraq was hidden in a small 3×4 cm section on the same page with a huge story aboutt a DNA test which confirmed that celeb X is the father of baby Y……. So, how can we expect to ever sell our “quality work”?

by Guido Van Damme | 11 Aug 2009 13:08 | Brussels, Belgium | | Report spam→
Thats not exactly a new problem, that the world on the on side is not particularly interested in what happens on the other half. That is something all journalists have to struggle with and for me it somehow part of the business. But isn’t that why we started!? To take pictures so people stop for a second and notice because the picture moves them !? Sometimes I have the feeling so many people here complain that the chicken is not served on a silver plate. We all now that the internet and also the obsession of certain key elements of the business with celebs doesn’t make it easier. The lobby for strong photojournalism is definitely not getting bigger. But there is a market. I admit its very very small and prob. wouldn’t sustain half of the people here at this community, but never the less.
So everybody cheer up now.

by marc hofer | 11 Aug 2009 15:08 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
sure, that’s a damn question…it seems like the main aspect is about pj getting “only” the jobs that require a deep knowledge off facts, and storie behind the image..where thiss will bring the news is unknown, but in my opinion there will always be the need of a specific kind of work made with real knowledge of the facts and stories rather than only of the cameras. Probably this situation will implode in some years and many magazines, website, etc will need some fresh air. In the meanwhile, I just live shootins some more commercial kind of photography, even tough with a pj eye..
cheers

by Gabriele Lopez | 11 Aug 2009 16:08 | Milano, Italy | | Report spam→
Yeah, you should all quit.

by [former member] | 11 Aug 2009 20:08 | Lagos , Nigeria | | Report spam→
Guy, Eros, please lead the way.

by Barry D Kirsch | 11 Aug 2009 21:08 | Orlando, Florida, United States | | Report spam→
Guy, Eros: Great advice. Timely and wise.

by Max Pasion | 11 Aug 2009 21:08 | Bayonne, NJ, United States | | Report spam→
Yep were will follow your lead….

No one was talking about if they should quit! We are all just saying how hard it has become to do good useful work and make a living too! Sure we bitch and complain, but we still love this job and will continue to.

by N&N | 11 Aug 2009 22:08 | | Report spam→
apparently the milk has been spilled….

by Matt Wright-Steel | 11 Aug 2009 23:08 (ed. Aug 11 2009) | Texas, United States | | Report spam→
“But isn’t that why we started!? To take pictures so people stop for a second and notice because the picture moves them !?”

In following Zimbel’s advice, i have decided that I won’t try to play the game by the industry rules but my own rules.
By going back to the “essence of photojournalism”, things improved. No matter what will happen, I will find a way to continue because I believe in what I do. Maybe by doing some changes, like telling the stories with a more personal point of vue and collecting facts.

How come there has been journalists doing there jobs in country with totalitarian regimes and almost no freedom of the press? They did (and still do) what they believes, out of passion.

by Marc Andre Pauze | 12 Aug 2009 00:08 | Parent, Qc, Canada | | Report spam→
What the world needs now is to provide certain people with enough funding to rebuild the global media and make everything better.

by P. Money | 16 Aug 2009 01:08 (ed. Aug 16 2009) | | Report spam→
Also the world needs more dancers.

by P. Money | 16 Aug 2009 01:08 | | Report spam→
No. There are so much

by Hernan Zenteno | 16 Aug 2009 02:08 | Temperley, Argentina | | Report spam→
A good point, Marc. Passion is an important ingredient. That will improve your photography and helps you to be persistent.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 16 Aug 2009 12:08 | Vienna, Austria | | Report spam→
I loved the job enough to quit. As a young photog starting out, it’s hard to get a foothold unless you’ have single minded focus and the right support. Support I had, focus I did not. Three cheers for all the committed souls doggedly making insightful photo stories despite ungrateful markets and editors. Hopefully us deserters can be of some service to you one we get this new media thing under control.

by Ida | 20 Aug 2009 15:08 | Brooklyn, United States | | Report spam→
Marc, it just seems like over the past couple years the problem gets worse and worse though. Maybe I’m just getting older.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 22 Aug 2009 00:08 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
So what if some tourist got some photos published of a mid-air crash? What were you hoping for, that one of the pilots would tip you off so you could get into position on top of the Statue of Liberty so you could capture the amazing mid-air carnage with your 700mm lens? Who gives a shit about that kind of news? So, spot news in the developed world is dead. So what? Good riddance. Is the concept of ‘citizen journalists’ daft? Of course it is. But it’s not like these so called ‘citizen journalists’ are going to go off and do real stories. If, as a photographer, you’ve never gotten passed chasing ambulances and fire trucks, that’s your own fault. The world needs photojournalists for the other stories, the ones that help keep the savages in the governments a bit more honest. What it doesn’t need are the vast number of whingers, bitchers and nay-sayers in our industry.

by [former member] | 24 Aug 2009 05:08 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
“So, spot news in the developed world is dead”
I think that is exactly the point. If you still want to make money with you taking pictures, go out there and get into the dirt.

by marc hofer | 24 Aug 2009 06:08 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
nay nay nay… the world does not need photojournalists anymore. What the world needs is a good ol’ armagedon to weed out all the wannabees.

Oh wait, it’s here. Simple, if you didn’t survive this economic crisis, you shouldn’t have survived this economic crisis. If this doesn’t make sense to you, that’s another reason why you should quit.

by [former member] | 24 Aug 2009 12:08 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
Will, you’ve missed the point entirely. Guess, that plane flew right over your head.

It’s just not the spot news, soft news as well.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 25 Aug 2009 03:08 (ed. Aug 25 2009) | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
If you wonder why it is so hard to make a living,
sit down and think about something you have not
seen covered. If you can find a way to show how
it matters to people beyond the location or community
you are photographing, then you have an important story
and will probably, though not always, sell it. You
may sell in a year or you may sell it in a month, but
if it grabs the viewer, it will attract a client and rent
money.

A friend, Antonin Kratochvil said, (I am paraphrasing)
“I wait to see where everyone is going
and then I go where everyone is not going”.

Before I went to Afghanistan a year ago or so,
out of curiosity I searched on the Getty site
and put in one key word “Afghanistan”. 70,000 images
came up. If you go to someplace like Afghanistan,
you had better have an assignment or clients you
can count on to react to the work.

Compelling work will sell. Reportage will support
you but you must diversify.

Think before you jump into a project.

Citizen journos make mistakes and take images out
of context or do not understand the true context.
In depth speaking-truth-to-power takes time,
and experience. There is a place for the lucky
shot at the right place at the right time. But,
nothing can replace a strong story. Strong stories
are not old school, they are human.

by [former member] | 25 Aug 2009 04:08 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Armageddon? Crisis? What’s all the panic about? Don’t worry folks, it’s all good, the medium is safe – as long as the Military Industrial Taxpayer Bailout Wage Packet Collapse Complex needs embedded shills, there’ll always be photojournalists queueing up to propagandise off the military teat…

http://tinyurl.com/mqe9eu

by [former member] | 25 Aug 2009 04:08 | Singapore, Singapore | | Report spam→
So Aaron, the tourists are stealing your soft news as well? Boo hoo.

by [former member] | 25 Aug 2009 06:08 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
Absolutely right James.

and with regards to Afghanistan there are plenty of stories to do without having to embed.
http://www.markseager.com/Buzkashi/index.html

http://www.markseager.com/Dog_Fighting/index.html

Sold the Buzkashi story many times over.

by [former member] | 25 Aug 2009 08:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Exactly, Mark.

Find your own way.

by [former member] | 25 Aug 2009 09:08 | Tokyo, Japan | | Report spam→
Nevermind. We can always get jobs as rent boys and hookers. It’s a more honest job, easier hours, less risk and the pay is better (and more frequent), while the achievers can move up the career ladder and become pimps/ brothel madams. Tax free too.

by Mikethehack | 25 Aug 2009 10:08 | Way up my own ass, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Mark, I looked at your Buzkashi story which I had seen before, but with my dial-up connection. Now that I have done my own multimedia piece, I looked at it differently and with broadband connection, I can look at its entirety without a problem and I appreciate the way you presented your piece. Thanks for reminding us that a unique story can be sold many times over.

My multimedia piece on Shirasaki, a limestone cape in Wakayama, Japan is http://www.tomoko-yamamoto.com/multimedia/yamamoto/shirasaki/shirasaki.html . The music is my own composition, setting the text of a Japanese ancient poem about Shirasaki to music for voice and piano, and I sang the song with the accompaniment of Robin Kissinger, my vocal coach at the time. Currently I am working on a song by Franz Schubert who set the text about a lake in Austria called Erlaufsee with my current vocal coach.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 25 Aug 2009 12:08 (ed. Jul 31 2010) | Baltimore, United States | | Report spam→
CNN appears to rely so much now of Citizen Journalism”
These outlets are lowering their quality output and it is in fact a fact that people still do like quality whether that’s in the clothes they wear, the car they buy or the images that they see.
It’s clear that publications like NY Times, Washington Post and others still value the professional photojournalist interpretation of the story at hand.
It’s also clear that when dailies or news outlets seek content from amateur photographers, it’s extremely evident that the quality is a sort of “mom and pop” quality.
Now listen, it could be that the whole country is going to shit and the quality of content doesn’t matter anymore, but I don’t think that’s the case.
I appreciate, learn from and VALUE professional photojournalists’ images as nothing can replace that.

by Michele AnneLouise Cohen | 25 Aug 2009 20:08 | Elkhart, Indiana, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks Tomoko.

by [former member] | 26 Aug 2009 18:08 | London, United Kingdom | | Report spam→
Could this “Citizen Journalism” be seen as the other side of the coin? The good side is that with new technologies taking photos, and thus working more in general, have become faster and easier for everyone; the photos have the possibility of being back home before the photographer, whereas before after returning home I suppose the photographer had few things to do before handing out the photos (and there was the possibility that the films wouldn’t have made it, they could be destroyed for example by airport X-rays). Of course – returning to the other side of the coin – now everyone wants the final work in their hands immediately, yesterday if possible. But – returning to the good side again – then also the technological development allows everyone to be in contact with other for example in forums like this for all kinds of support: technical, professional and moral, having literally a worldwide network, not to mention having the possibility of being in touch with family and friends even when being really far away and thus reduce the worries of those who stay at home.

Apart from that, I, too, agree with those giving the advice Find your own way.

by Laura Larmo | 31 Aug 2009 14:08 | Milano, Italy | | Report spam→
http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0908/editorial-its-time-to-build-the-bloody-wall.html

by Aaron J. Heiner | 31 Aug 2009 15:08 | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
Looking at your profile Baxter, it must be big bucks over there in Thailand, not the same can be said for DC. I’ve watched my income get slashed by about 60% over the past two years.

by Aaron J. Heiner | 31 Aug 2009 15:08 (ed. Aug 31 2009) | Baltimore, MD, United States | | Report spam→
Recently, a prominent Australian Wire service editor told me that for the first couple of years I should be happy just to get my Image published and not be concerned about payment at all. Great advice for someone thinking of starting out in editorial photography eh? The problem is ignorant people are listening to assholes like this. It’s a capitalist free for all. It’s called deregulation and its affecting every industry not just photography. Everyone is casually employed. I am a Journo and language student now, but I was a construction/mining mechanic before. Before that I was an aircraft mechanic, all industries are fucked not just photography, everyone is getting shafted and anyone that just says harden up is the enemy. They are the problem, because they obviously don’t care about anyone but themselves.

by Stephen Mclaren | 01 Sep 2009 11:09 | Hobart, Australia | | Report spam→
retrain as a shaft………….

by Imants | 01 Sep 2009 11:09 | "The Boneyard 017º", Australia | | Report spam→
That’s not a bad idea..

by Stephen Mclaren | 01 Sep 2009 11:09 | Hobart, Australia | | Report spam→
The problem though, is that everyone would be bearing down on me…

by Stephen Mclaren | 01 Sep 2009 11:09 | Hobart, Australia | | Report spam→
Aaron’s question is totally valid – but a lot of it comes down to the definition of amateur and professional – and that’s an increasingly difficult distinction to make. Organizations like World Press Photo, etc are going to have to come to terms with those collapsing barriers – since their “professionals only” restictions are effectively excluding some of the most significant work in contemporary photojournalism. In short, if you define “professionalism” as getting published in conventional media, and making a living from your work, what happens when the publications shift towards amateur content, and the professionals stop making a living?

Stephen Mayes recent thoughts on PDN, which I’m surprised hasn’t gotten more attention:

http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/content_display/features/pdn-online/e3i8b95ac51de67e196d15ec26cbd94da1b

Read between the lines, and what he’s saying is very forward thinking, and pretty radical as well. When he talks about a shift in relationship with magazines, etc from client to distributor, what do you think he’s suggesting?

by teru kuwayama | 01 Sep 2009 12:09 (ed. Sep 1 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Among the comments to Stephen Mayes thoughts on PDN

>>Another VII (or is it what 12 now?) self congratulatory piece of smugness. The second you “partner” with your subject you are no longer doing journalism. At least a Magnum they have the balls to admit that their primary source of income are commercial clients rather than journalism. VII’s think outside the box business model seems to be selling its integrity. I guess the business model where they sold young journalists workshops to train them for non paying jobs has finally failed.<<

by Daniel Legendre | 01 Sep 2009 13:09 (ed. Sep 1 2009) | Paris, France | | Report spam→
The key suggestion done by Stephen Mayes :

>>. One of the things I’m looking into at the moment is some limited form of publishing. I think there’s a role for VII as an agency to become a publisher. And I am working on a strategy at the moment which will have VII publish bodies of work. We will then partner with magazines as distributors, where VII will be the publisher and the magazines will be the distributors, which is a bit of a shift in the old ways of thinking.<<

by Daniel Legendre | 01 Sep 2009 13:09 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
Crikey! Didn’t realize I had my financial statements posted on my Lightstalkers page…will have to remember to remove those. Wtf??

by [former member] | 01 Sep 2009 16:09 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
the photo workshop phenomena is a textbook example of the professional-as-coach model that writer Chris Anderson proposes in his recent and somewhat controversial book FREE – and the notion of magazine-as-partner, vs magazine-as-client follows the same line of thinking, which isn’t an unreasonable adaptation.

Subject-as-client/partner is certainly problematic, but it’s not like the traditional model of working for magazines and newspapers was compromise-free either. Getting paid by anyone is compromising.

My point is simply that there’s no point in blaming amateur photographers for a changing world, or in trying to enforce walls between them and professionals. The world changes, like it or not, and a lot of professional photographers are going to lose their jobs, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for photography. The invention of the camera put a generation of painters out of work, but it certainly didn’t kill painting.

by teru kuwayama | 01 Sep 2009 19:09 (ed. Sep 1 2009) | NYC, United States | | Report spam→
Of course Teru has a very valid point. The problem starts out if all of a sudden your self is on the losing side… :). Pleading for the survival of the fittest is easy if you are not the guy who is biting the dust.

In general I strongly agree that running around pointing with fingers is very contra productive.
But what I see with a lot of ideas is not really something new, something that could elevate the whole business/scene into a new existence. Right now everyone is just fiddling with the screws here and there…but its not really solving the issue of money loss/scarce funding for projects.

We could all be honest and call the modern photography are very elite form of employment. Limited ressources for a very limited amount of people. Keeps everyone happy. We all know that the “amateur” photographers can’t do certain things. As a amateur photographer I don’t have the time, the determination and the money to go lets say central sudan and hang out there for a month to do a story.

As professionals concern, the business can’t make all of us happy. So what we have to figure out is, where do we want this whole thing to go. How should the photojournalism of the future look like ( not just visually, but the whole scene, the business etc ).

Me for my part sometimes I’m stuck in two worlds. On foot is still in the “old school” and the dream of being like one of the traditional guys and the other foot is already ahead.

Pointing fingers and lamenting won’t help us, but comfortable adjustments of the existing/old situation won’t get is anywhere either.

by marc hofer | 02 Sep 2009 11:09 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
it’s a long read (then again, im still reading tolstoy too), but I thought if y’all are still discussing this, you might want to take 10 minutes to read this….a deeper analysis of the biz (and not specifically about photographic journalism)…if you liked the Stephan Mayes interview…take a gander at this essay….

from this weeks New YOrk Review of Books

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/23050

incidentally, skwaking in lamenation doesnt remedy, but healthy understanding of the value of what came before with a reasonably questioning respect for what happens now and will happen down the pipe, is what we all need to be doing…being limber is a basic tenet of life’s yoga, let alone being a photog :))

enjoy

b

by [former member] | 02 Sep 2009 12:09 | toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Thanks, Bob, for the link to the article on New York Review of Books. I read most of it, and was particularly interested in the potential of NPR and PBS.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 02 Sep 2009 13:09 | Baltimore, United States | | Report spam→
You’re welcome Tomoko :))..it’s a fascinating read…and one in which some real insights are reached….the involvement of foundation, private contributions, etc, are necessary….things have changed profoundly…but, there is lots of exciting things too, if we open ourselves up and see things as they are, might be :)))…

cheers
bob

by [former member] | 02 Sep 2009 13:09 | toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Marc,

No need to go to Sudan to do a story.

Take pictures and photograph where you are, life around you.

And you already are in Uganda.

by Daniel Legendre | 02 Sep 2009 15:09 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
The following is in Alert

http://www.1854.eu/2009/09/photojournalism_is_alive_and_w.html

Discourse is just irritating enough for me. Maybe am I wrong.

by Daniel Legendre | 02 Sep 2009 17:09 | Paris, France | | Report spam→
I do believe that pjs have to find their own way, and as this is already a tough business to begin with even without this crisis, we know how to do that.

However, in order for news agencies to want to pay us, they need to make money. And IMHO I think that the whole way that news is delivered on the web by big media has got to change in order for this to happen. It has to change for two reasons.

One, the way it is being done now (news agencies post their stories, people read them and comment on them, kind of like glorified blogs) has already been available for free for so long that people have been trained that news delivered in this way it is supposed to be free and should not change.

And two, the internet is not the same animal as a printed page. A newspaper is something that someone hands to you, and it speaks to you, and is a one-way conversation. I feel that big media is stuck in this idea of rehashing this one-way model and just more or less posting their paper online. They are missing the huge potential here though. One of the things people enjoy the most about the internet is that it is two-way/interactive.

Take Twitter, for instance. Lets be honest, one of the biggest draws to this social tool for the general public is that you can personally follow, and respond to, movie stars, musicians, and other famous people that once were untouchable and only communicated with you one-way. When Ashton Kutcher started on Twitter, he was basically a flavor of the month with 30 seconds left to his 15 minutes. That is why he started doing Nikon ads (and I mean that with the greatest respect, but it is true, anyone who is doing really well in Hollywood usually cannot get paid enough to be in a commercial). However, with the advent of Twitter, he found a way to personally connect with his fans and people who were excited at the idea of having such a direct connection to a famous person jumped all over that opportunity. With that Ashton has been Twittering his way into making an online-household name for himself.

The point is, this two-way connection is not being taken advantage of successfully by any media corporation. No respectable news agency (that I am aware of) has really worked on creating an online community for itself. They should not be thinking in terms of posting their articles and images online, making themselves just a fancy blog, but rather they should be thinking in terms of making themselves a community, a kind of “Facebook” for the news so to speak. If there was such a quality center for the news, it would require that they use quality writing and photography to distinguish them from blogs or rumors heard on Twitter.

IMHO until this evolution process happens and the news agencies can use this model or something like it to create revenue and pay for quality work, I think we will probably all have to just continue to find creative ways to make money. As it is, though, I think people are already far too entrenched in this idea that articles merely posted on the internet, like blogs, should be free.

by Alexis Evanoff | 04 Sep 2009 07:09 (ed. Sep 4 2009) | California, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks Daniel ;) ( go where ever the story is ).

But it was just one example of how you can distingiush yourself from “amateur” photographers. There are thousend different ways of doing it. It was just a simple example.

by marc hofer | 04 Sep 2009 09:09 | Kampala, Uganda | | Report spam→
Alexis, you have an interesting point regarding possible two-way communication opportunities on the Internet. I have not even tried Twitter myself.

Since my site has been around and is entirely in html, the whole site has been indexed and the images are in Google Images. As a result I get enough visitors, but I have not found a way to engage my visitors. I tried a feature of allowing my visitors to post their comments, but I discontinued it because of someone abusing the system. As I move to Vienna, I need to create fans of my own performances and let them follow me without getting a lot of spams.

When I did it right in my performances, I was able to get an enthusiastic audience, so if I find a right communication tool to keep my fans “to be” follow me and access my site for merchandise, I might be able to make money.

A question for photojournalists would be how one constructs his/her website so that you might directly engage the public with your photos. You probably would not want to wait for newspaper/magazine sites to come up with a formula. The general public is looking for information and images on the Internet for sure without necessarily looking for you. Obviously a flash website would not do that. A neat-looking presentation does not necessarily lead to it, either. If you have compelling images of photojournalistic nature, the Internet allows the public searching for information/images on that subject you have dealt with to find your images. Before you ever become a household name, it is your image that draws people to your website and to what you have to offer. The chances are most of us would not become a household name. I don`t know how one monetizes the web visits to your website or elsewhere.

by Tomoko Yamamoto | 08 Sep 2009 16:09 (ed. Sep 8 2009) | Baltimore, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Aaron J. Heiner, Photojournalist Aaron J. Heiner
Photojournalist
(Sleeping his life away)
Baltimore, Md , United States ( IAD )
teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
I/O
New York , United States
Jon Vidar, Photographer Jon Vidar
Photographer
Los Angeles, Ca , United States ( LAX )
Marc Andre Pauze, Documentary Photographer Marc Andre Pauze
Documentary Photographer
(Storyteller of Humanity)
Kangiqsujuaq , Canada
marc hofer, Photographer marc hofer
Photographer
Kampala , Uganda
  N&N, Photojournalist N&N
Photojournalist
(Nikon-Nikoff)
[undisclosed location].
Barry D Kirsch, Photojournalist Barry D Kirsch
Photojournalist
Tampa, Florida , United States ( TPA )
Andrea, Photographer Andrea
Photographer
Mumbai + , India
Daniel Cuthbert, button clicker Daniel Cuthbert
button clicker
(..)
London , United Kingdom ( LHR )
John Robinson, Photographer John Robinson
Photographer
(works with light)
Pigeon Club , South Africa
Max Pasion, Street Photographer Max Pasion
Street Photographer
Bayonne, Nj , United States ( EWR )
Guido Van Damme, Photographer Guido Van Damme
Photographer
Brussels , Belgium
Gabriele Lopez, Photographer Gabriele Lopez
Photographer
Milan , Italy
Matt Wright-Steel, Matt Wright-Steel
Texas , United States
P. Money, Creative & Futurist P. Money
Creative & Futurist
(See That Which Cannot Be Seen)
[undisclosed location].
Hernan Zenteno, Photographer Hernan Zenteno
Photographer
Buenos Aires , Argentina ( EZE )
Tomoko Yamamoto, Multimedia Artist Tomoko Yamamoto
Multimedia Artist
Vienna , Austria ( VIE )
Ida, Media Strategist Ida
Media Strategist
Brooklyn , United States
Mikethehack, Freelance thril performer Mikethehack
Freelance thril performer
Way Up My Own Ass , United Kingdom
Michele AnneLouise Cohen, Photographer Michele AnneLouise Cohen
Photographer
California , United States
Laura Larmo, Photographer Laura Larmo
Photographer
Milan , Italy
Stephen Mclaren, Stephen Mclaren
Bali , Indonesia ( DPS )
Imants, gecko hunter Imants
gecko hunter
" The Boneyard" , Australia
Daniel Legendre, Photographer Daniel Legendre
Photographer
Paris , France
Alexis Evanoff, Photographer Alexis Evanoff
Photographer
(Have Camera, Will Travel)
[undisclosed location].


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