Shooters are a bunch of over-sensitive wusses. I shot stock from 1983-2003 (for The Stock Market which became Corbis and for Pacific Stock) and people were saying that stock was the death of professional photography, or digital was or the Internet was or Photoshop was. Stop being such little whiny babies — besides, most of the people who are complaining about Marissa’s statement aren’t REALLY pros and I have seen lots of their stuff and while they have DLSRs, they’re not very good, either. So, better to blame your images than blaming the CEO of Yahoo! and Flickr and now Tumblr.
OK, background. This is all the brouhaha happening right now, real time, all over social media about this article written over at Petapixel, RIP “Professional Photographers” — you might want to go check that out and the above will make more sense.
My dad started shooting in the 70s when you could become rich as a professional photographer — or at the very least make a professional living. And you can now, too. You just have to treat photography like a full-time business. And you’ll hate that doctors and lawyers always have much better equipment than you do, too. When I did commercial, editorial, and stock photography, things were harder. My failings had to do with the fact that shooting slide film for Corbis meant that I would shoot and label 10,000 images, send them on to Corbis, and then over 9,000 of them would come back to me — they’d keep a thou if I was lucky. And that 10k of slides were already edited down from who knows how many, dumped in the can (these were film days with slides).
I am no longer a shooter. I love photography and the prestige associated with having a contract with a big NYC agency; however, I loved being a geek more and I loved that my mad skills with computers, the internet, coding, and the web allowed me quite a bit more money and security than being a professional shooter did.
That said, the images paid my way around the world in 1996 as I traveled from DC to New Zealand; Australia; Bali, Indonesia; all up and down Thailand; and then to Paris, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Helsinki and all around Finland; Saint Petersburg, Russia, and then back home — all porting a Domke full of two bodies, a Nikon N90s and N90, a bunch of expensive 2.8 glass, and loads of batteries and Fuji 100 and Velvia slide flim — and also mailers. Lots and lots of mailers.
I haven’t even tried to embrace digital photography at the professional level, though I am tempted. Then I remember how much work it takes to be a shooter. Only 1/3 is shooting and doing cool shit. Another third is editing and labeling and captioning and deleting and uploading and identifying and I guess doing Photoshop (see, back in the day, a slide was a slide, it was what it was), and then there’s the final third: business!
So, pro shooters (though all of your complaining and hating on Marissa are probably more along the lines of advanced amateurs, fan boys, and possibly even talentless technophiles.
If you’re not making a good living being a shooter right now, you probably never will because Marissa is right: the world is conspiring to make getting the perfect image easier and easier — and for free!