“There is no such thing, really, as a professional photographer,” said Marissa Mayer of Yahoo!. How does such a ridiculous statement come from the CEO of Yahoo, which owns Flickr?
The worst part is that she said it as matter of fact — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgoaMDfhxOw is where you can see and hear it for yourself.
I ask — Is there any such thing, really, as a truly appreciated professional photographer? It is obvious that a pro’s work will greatly stand out from the rest, but in these days does the 18 to 30 something client really care? Life is moving at lighting speed for the newer generations – importance of quality is slipping away just as fast.
This generation is much different than past. Technology Creators, Camera Manufactures, and Social Media Outlets [as with Marissa Mayer] are working against the professionals in a way that has never been seen before. I do suggest that the 18-30 really care more about instant gratification than a better Job, a wife or husband, or a nice house as Photographer Jerry Peavy has suggested. All those things are temporary anyway [this is my perspective]. “Use it an throw it away” is the way society, pop-culture or the young look at everything. In all fairness to them – that is the only way to survive in a world that constantly bombards them with information that is screaming for attention. Perspective, Context, and Light are aspects that are not thought about more than the next youtube, fb, or pintrest posting.
The client that does appreciate a professional, is a professional. They can look at you and in two seconds determine that you are a professional at your craft. It is how you are presented by yourself and others. The Client greatly values what you do and expects you to deliver an outstanding product, without question. Typically, in business situations, there is little to no time [or outward appreciation] given, to you, as the level of effort [from the President, VP or CEO] is only measured by the capital it will produce. But, If you were capturing this same CEO in their home with his wife and children or at the their daughters wedding – You would be appreciated and cherished. As Photographer Bruce Lucier said “I am not surprised about the CEO of Yahoo making this comment”. She does this as the 18-30’s use her product exponentially more than Professional Photographers. Ms. Mayer is attempting to build her market share while stepping all over a profession that she feels is no long valid – to her bottom line.
I am very fortunate to work in the Hawaiian Islands where there are many opportunities for Photographers to do great work and push the profession to new and exciting levels. What I find is the appreciation for the professional photographer is declining every year. That is the case because the level of professionalism is declining and becoming acceptable by the hard working, over stimulated young clients. Do they really take the time to look at a broad range of work and decide what they want, or do they accept the hottest social media link that google says they should like.
Then there is the economy — and the “P” is for professional theory. “P” for those who do not know, is the setting on a camera that signifies program mode. I refer it to the “I think I know what I am doing mode”. So the economy is failing, and an easy way to make a few dollars is to buy a professional camera and take pictures of weddings. Because you can now look like a professional and actually see what the image looks like on the back of the camera – anyone can be a professional! So the CEO of Yahoo is confirming to the masses of unprofessionals. Ask a Bride, after her wedding, how she likes her photographes? Do they bring perspective and context into play. Is lighting used to capture the emotion and the depth of the moment? Or, is the beautiful background blown out to the point of no return? I cropped the images below to make this point — The non-professional will capture the first image and describe it, in the social media world, as an angel-like wedding on the beach. The second image will stand on its own.
More on this subject in future posts – KB
Just a quick update for a real life example — This image just won a very popular wedding magazine’s best image, Love in Bloom?