Monday, April 26, 2010

New Business Strategies for Photojournalists

Photojournalism, first pronounced dead in 1972 with the closure of the weekly edition of Life magazine, has been like a cat with nine lives. It is undoubtedly going through turbulent times, but has the cat reached the end of its natural life or is it just morphing into a new beast?

In an article published last year entitled, ‘Lament for a Dying Field: Photojournalism’, the New York Times reported on one of the most recent signs of the field’s weakening pulse, the bankruptcy of the venerable French picture agency, Gamma. In America there was the closure of the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the bankruptcy of The Chicago Tribune Company. Even Associated Press (AP) laid off some staffers.

Against this bleak backdrop, I undertook an informal survey among participants and attendees at the 2009 Visa pour l’Image International Festival of Photojournalism in Perpignan, France. I learned how photographers are adapting to the extraordinary changes talking place in the field. Yes, many professionals lamented the passing of the various ‘golden eras’ of photojournalism — from the Forties through to the Nineties – but at the same time many others are changing their business strategies...

Read more here.

(Versions of the essay originally appeared in Canon Professional Network (CPN) magazine, published in Europe, and in NPPA's News Photographer magazine.)

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