I was recently reading a gloom & doom Atlantic article predicting the “end” to photojournalism. It reiterated a lot of the fears people have about journalism’s future, such as the death of many print publications and a new audience that likes to “scan” the internet instead of dive into articles or photo essays in print.
At one point, the article referenced a New York Times piece about different strategies for photographers, especially amateurs, to garner revenue from their pictures. I clicked on the article and learned of the new partnership between Getty Images and flickr.com
The large stock photo company is now buying amateur work posted on flickr. While this partnership opens up a previously inaccessible outlet for people who just enjoy shooting leisurely, it also makes the term “professional photographer” an even harder definition to pin down. With amateurs having easy access to sell their pictures, sometimes at fairly decent prices, professional photographers are furthered marginalized in the digital age. Like citizen journalism, it seems as though professionals will have to work harder to set themselves apart from the large pack of amateurs. Perhaps this is a call for a new set of standards for professional photographers and photojournalists, as they will continue losing jobs to people with point and shoots and iPhones if the well-composed, well-exposed photo is not valued.