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Tuesday, 22 July 2014


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Another bold step into idiocy, I'd say. It won't be long before we see a journalist at a war scenario fiddling with an iPhone.
The golden age of photography is gone. Today I was reading an article on a photography website which is now more oriented to smartphones and drone photography; I found that lenses are now considered 'peripherals.'
The other day some silly dude asked me to take a picture of him and his friend at a rather cheesy location; he handed me... a tablet! That was the dumbest thing I ever used to take a picture, but some people seem to find it more than acceptable for taking pictures.
If this is what photography is coming to, little wonder newspapers don't feel the need of having good photojournalists: people don't give a toss about creativity, photographic skills or image quality.
Adapt or die!

I know little about traditional print media companies, but what's really going on here? When I read these stories about mass firings I always wonder: Why does the shift to "...more emphasis and resources directed toward the digital side" necessitate the layoffs and firings of photographers/photojournalists?

I can see the need for downsizing, say, in areas like the company's distribution network, or a department like storage and darkroom processing. But these companies still need to have someone taking pictures, post-processing, editing, layout, etc, and given the relative ease of utilizing digital versus print material, I would think they would need/want more photographers for their online product.

It's happening in Australia too: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/fairfax-announces-80-editorial-redundancies

It's sad as many of us got our baptisms in photojournalism in newspapers. I really don't know where this is headed, but I don't think I like it.
My two pesos.

Manuel wrote "... It won't be long before we see a journalist at a war scenario fiddling with an iPhone."

It's already been done. Take a look at the Libyan Revolution pictures of Michael Christopher Brown. He was with Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros when they were killed in an RPG attack, and he was wounded himself.

iPhone or not, he's a classically trained photojournalist and understands journalism law and ethics plus the myriad of other issues needed to do his job well.

While he used an iPhone in Libya, photojournalists like him have other skills that some people in management believe to be unnecessary. That's the real problem.

Sadness, really. The work of all these men and women capturing moments in the world around me affected me and my image-making my entire life. We are now in the most narcissistic of times, where snapshots (my old photography teacher, Klaus Schnitzer, would pronounce the word 'schnapshots' -- as if he had tasted something vile -- ) of oneself now have a name that makes me shudder everytime I hear it, and I will not reproduce it here.

Presumably concentrating on the digital side really means stealing their content from someone else rather than creating their own In which case, who needs them, just die.

Photojournalists now seem to be getting the big picture.

I was just saying the other day while looking at the news that the art of photojournalism has been lost, its just wide cell phone shots and video grabs. A real shame.

I shutter to think what's happening to photojournalism. It's no longer black and white.

How is this a "purge?" The paper doesn't want to pay as much for the photography department. This has been going on for years. It's unfortunate, but I'm sure this is a business decision (smart or dumb), not a personal attack on these people.

It's natural to expect photographers who read TOP to expect that their like should be employed regardless of the economics of the employer, but I hope we're all adult enough to understand that that's not how the world works.

Photographic journalism got "crowd-sourced" or otherwise made irrelevant in the digital age as have many other once viable careers, my own included. I have no further comment other than to quote a Joni Mitchell song " you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone".

"I think a lot of PJ work in the future is going to be set events and portraits, and you don't need a huge staff for that, or even a lot of experience—it was work that was given to rookies in the past."

If you say so, but not necessarily true. But there are plenty of 'experts' who reckon they know how to do a better job. It's like firing a team of carpenters because you can finish the build with everything from Ikea. But what about the next build, and the one after that. While firing the entire photographic team looks like economic sense, how will it looks later on when the product looks valueless to the consumer. Value in value out.

One local newspaper I was involved in had it's assets sweated by the new owner untill there was nothing left. It was a joke, one that ruined the paper in the readership and local advertisers minds. The original owner bought it back, and can't resurrect it, they are just barely holding on.

Any media organisation which retains it's photographic department and it's stored repository of knowledge and deploys it efficiently in today's market has a significant advantage.

But as with many things, accountants prefer to do things on the cheap with demoralised and underpaid staff. Suddenly, a newspaper stops being a newspaper and becomes a free sheet.

It's a win for everybody? Right?

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