re: Last Couple Photography Posts

As of this morning I had over 30 comments about the posts on photographers that I did. The posts were meant to be a private joke – just mine. I wanted to see how far I could turn up the volume on the few idiots posting comments about a story they didn’t have all the facts about. These commenters were like emotional balloons waiting to pop. They reacted with bizarre, and usually anonymous comments that really showed their anger at what’s becoming the sad state of pro photgraphy over the last 20 years.

I’ll address a couple things that came up in comments:

I wanted the photo in the sense that – I saw it. It would work at 200 pixels wide when I shrunk it. I asked. I was rejected. I thought I’d give her another chance because I could easily choose another photo from any of 10 different sources that wouldn’t have a link to her site and a mention of her business name. She still didn’t get it. It took me about 15 seconds to read her last email and that was it. I dropped it and went on to the next option. I looked at Getty, Dreamstime, and Flickr Creative Commons licensed photos.

Some of you made it seem like I was dying for this mediocre photo and that wasn’t the case. Did you SEE the photo? I didn’t ask her for a high resolution image – it was a 72 pixel shot on the site. It wasn’t a fantastic shot to begin with. It was convenient and I could have helped the girl out by using it. When she chose to charge for use of the photo to advertise her own business I found another business and another photo.

Who shoots themselves in the foot by charging someone to do something good for their own business? Apparently I know someone that does now.

It wasn’t a huge issue to me – but to all of you that latched on to a piece of the story, whatever piece you heard – you became reactive and posted some ridiculous comments.

I understand the frustration of being a photographer and competing with stock agencies. For about a year I considered returning to pro photography. Eventually I realized, the world is fast moving away from commissioned / assignment photos. There will always be successful photographers doing it – but the percentage of photographers making a living creating images that sell for more than even $20 each has really fallen off over the last decade or two.

I chose the easy way… shoot whatever I want, whenever I want – with a slant toward producing photos that would sell well in stock agencies and forget about trying to convince people to hire me as an advertising or travel photographer. I don’t enjoy that side of photography much, the business side. Stock makes it easy to dump my good photos somewhere and make a few pennies. Photography is a hobby now. It’s very difficult to make a go of it as a profession.

There are photographers that are making a living shooting stock photography. It’s a horrible way to go about life, cranking out a couple thousand photos a year, editing, tagging them, uploading them – only to see a percentage never even get past the screeners that don’t seem to have a clue sometimes. Now the stock agencies are getting very competitive. When I joined Dreamstime they had 1.7 million photos I think. Now they have more than 4 million. I’m surprised my images are still selling, but what about when they get 10 million? 100? It will get to that, and this is just one agency – not even the biggest.

It would be way too frustrating for me to keep chasing the dream of being a shoot on assignment photographer, and I don’t think it’s a good option for myself. Some of you might be doing it now – living the dream. I know it doesn’t feel very secure where you are and you’re afraid of the dream turning horror-show. I think that must be the reason for the tone behind the comments.

It’s depressing as hell that photography has come to this for most people. If you’re sticking it out and trying desperately to eek out a living as a pro photographer I wish you luck. It’s a much harder existence than it used to be when the majority of the world’s children and adults didn’t know how to go full-manual with their film cameras. Now the camera takes care of everything with shooting modes they can choose. A flower means macro. Depth of field preview is instant. Years ago the common person didn’t know where to develop or sell their photos, now they don’t have to develop them and they know where to sell them – though for just a couple dollars for rights.

I was disappointed in a way when the whole world became able to produce good photos. I knew it was a matter of time before the value of a photo would drop like a lead Leica.

A career in photography is still possible for those that bust their ass to make it work. You’ve gotta love it more than anything else though because there are trying times ahead even for those at the top. Is it going to get easier for professional photographers to continue doing what they love as a career?

Only more difficult. Everything is changing. Some photographers will adapt and continue creating photos that are in demand and charging high prices. They will always be there. Someone must be producing new photos that the world wants. Graphic designers are cranking out the most amazing images at Dreamstime.com for instance. Some of them sell better than camera-taken photos. What’s next? Taking photos with pieces of the photo animated and the rest static? I don’t know what’s next, but for most pro photographers the road will get much more difficult. Is it time to be realistic and start looking at alternative careers or ways to adapt to the trends?

By the comments I received there are still a lot of you out there trying to make it work. Good for you, I hope you do. Really – the last two posts about photography were meant to be funny. The latest was meant to egg-on the first couple idiots that commented – anonymously of course. I knew I could really fuel the fire by posting again and not letting anyone comment.

I’ll go back through the comments and try to verify email addresses and urls – to see if there is anyone that didn’t post anonymously. If I find some, I’ll approve the comments.

To the rest of the anonymous commenters – why would you waste the time to write something as a response to a post you disagreed with and then not use your name and real email address? Everyone knows my name. I’m not anonymous.

Do you think you’re going to post anonymously on my blog so I can let you rip me a new one? Do I owe you a forum to spread your nonsense? This is my forum. I spread my nonsense here. If you disagree with something I say – use your name and email and post a comment. If you resort to calling me a name – do you think I’ll post your comment? The mentality of some people posting comments approaches that of a spider monkey. Don’t bother to comment if you can’t say anything someone wants to hear. Don’t read this blog if you don’t like it. You won’t be missed.

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

1 thought on “re: Last Couple Photography Posts”

  1. You do at least reveal what is wrong with photography and media in general, and why quality of content is doomed. You, like anyone else in the media business, looks for the cheapest supply. In the case of photos, you and everybody else, including major publishers, hope that means ‘free’. And you’ll keep plugging away until you find someone you can convince of the benefit of a link, of publicity. Your presumption is that someone else will pay, that there is benefit somewhere down the line. But there isn’t anymore. All exposure generates is nore requests for free work.

    This isn’t killing photography, but it is killing professional photography. It is reducing the work that can be published to work that can be done for nothing and supplied for nothing. If we want a world of tourist travel shots, flowers, pets and sunsets, that is fine. But look at what that loses. It’s allowing censorship by market forces.

    And I have more bad news for you. Words are going the exact same way, as publishers seek to drive down their costs they are increasingly relying on user content and vanity bloggers. The days of professionals who have the time and the dedication to immerse themselves in their subjects are drawing to a close.

    This doesn’t mean amateurs are rubbish, by any means, many are talented and the emancipation created by participation is a positive thing. But commerce doesn’t care about any of that, it just wants to cut costs. And in media, as elsewhere, we get what we pay for. In photography and in journalism that increasingly means our view of the world will be reduced to what wealthy, Western amateurs wish to give away – along with axe-grinders and salesmen who can find some budget to promote their point of view.

    We forget that the roots of copyright law are exactly this problem. Copyright was devised because it was thought unwise to rely on the generosity of rich and privilged authors and creators who had the resources and the leisure time. Copyright was a mechanism to ensure people of all classes and origins could obtain reward for their creativity, so that culture could thrive.

    It has since been perverted by corporates into a mechanism of monopoly pricing, so by and large the public now feel contempt for copyright, and little compunction about stealing whenever possible. But the web and the demand that everything should be free is a road to hell. It isn’t even free, the costs are displaced into advertising budgets which we all pay for.. But it is driving traditional media to the wall, as they try and find ways to compete with ‘free’. They have reacted mainly by slashing budgets. Dumbing down is everywhere. The public right to know is being replaced by a public right to consume utter rubbish. Well, that’s progress I suppose.

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