Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant

April 2, 2010

Death of Professional Photography Announced…Again

Filed under: Observations,Photography — Jarvo @ 10:57 am

A couple of days ago, over at the, there’s an interesting article about professional photography as a career path, For Photographers, the Image of a Shrinking Path. What they are talking about is selling pictures, which is not the same thing as making a living or creating a life with photography. In these days of micro stock, and photography sites like Flickr and Photobucket, major outlets that use photographers are now scanning these sites to find images. If you’re a photographer you know why, because it’s CHEAPER! Why pay $3000 for a unique image, if you will probably be able to find something usable for $30? This is an issue that photographers are having a difficult time dealing with. Yet as creative visual professionals, photographers are the best organized. Their professional organizations lead the way in artist’s advocacy for all visual artist, only second to the film industry. But the film industry is also unionized. Does this make a difference? Probably so.

This whole thing about the slow death of photography, has been on the minds of photographers for a while now. It has come up at my local APA chapter gatherings, though not quite phrased in that manner. I sit in these meetings, and a guest speaker will comment on stuff like differentiate your self. I’m thinking, “Damn, all these people are really GOOD! They’re all great photographers and good people. How can I differentiate myself?” When I do get back to my Hobbit Hole, I think, But you’re pretty good too! How am I different than those other folks?” But ya know, I do come up with an answer. And that answer is the skills that I have that go beyond photography. I think that’s the secret ingredient. Professional photographers bring more to the table than a camera, talent, and knowledge. It may even be more than their unique personal vision wrapped in their passion of expressing themselves. It’s something so very simple that we can see past it or through it. But the secret ingredient must be discovered by the individual, because it’s different for each of us.

Last year I came across a guy by the name of Marty Neumeier, a designer, art director, and Branding guru. Check him out. He speaks about the clutter individuals face as they go through their daily existence in modern industrialized cultures. As photographers we’re part of the group that adds to that clutter! On thinking about this idea of clutter, I start to ask myself, how can I help de-clutterize things?  I don’t mean stand apart of the clutter, that just creates another mass of clutter that will eventually be absorbed by the larger mass of clutter. I mean de-clutter. Right now it’s just a feeling. I’m working on a clear definition, but for now working with a feeling works OK.

So when I hear about the “Death of Photography as a Career Path”, I feel those who speak it are talking about all that wonderful visual clutter that exist, created by amateur picture takers. I’m actually glad there’s are places they can express themselves to the world with. More voices can make a wonderful chorus. But, more voices can also just create  louder noise. So to me the future is bright and interesting. As a creative individual I will, if nothing else, create my own destiny.

PS: Also check out Seth Godin blog on this issue of creative courage.



  1. […] couple of weeks ago I commented on an article that was in the NY Times about the Death of Photography as a Career Path. I’ve just read an article by Selina Maitreya on the same topic. Man what a difference! In […]

    Pingback by A Voice of Light in the Darkness | Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant — April 26, 2010 @ 1:37 pm

  2. Thanks for this blog post. It’s more meaningful to me than you know.

    Comment by Michael — July 14, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  3. Well Michael,
    It’s a little rough out here these days, and we need to be mindful of our strengths and vision as photographers. So let’s hang tough and not let the “outsider” define who we are.

    Comment by Jarvo — July 14, 2010 @ 12:38 pm

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