Picture: Dark storm clouds over Balanced Rock at sunset, Arches National Park, Utah
Chicken Little said, “The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!”
I just saw that stock photo industy guru, Jim Pickerell wrote in his newsletter, “Selling Stock”:
“The stock photo industry is in turmoil. Never in more than 30 years I have been involved in stock has there been so much uncertainty among photographers about their future. … Shifts and changes are occurring at dizzying speeds.”
This followed my recent reading of a superb weblog-based interview with Jim Pickerell, by the extremely creative concept photographer John Lund. In the interview, “The End of Photography As A Career…”, Pickerell paints a fairly dismal picture. When asked at point blank range if photographers can still make a living at stock photography, his answer was a resounding “NO” in all caps, albiet quickly qualified “…with a few exceptions.”
But wait! The quote taken from his newsletter was written in the September 1999 issue of Selling Stock. It fell out of a binder I was getting ready to throw away while cleaning out one of the deep dark corners of my office. September 1999; more than 10 years ago. I didn’t know whether to crack a wry smile, cry, or simply roll my eyes. I think I did numbers one and three simultaneously.
Was the sky falling in 1999? Is the sky is falling now? Will it fall in 10 years? Will it always be falling, or has it already fallen?
Looking at the industry now, I simply have to wonder what someone might write 10 years from now. Jim’s quote from 1999 certainly remains a very valid observation today.
The industry is not what it was a decade ago. I’m not going to predict what it will be like for photographers 10 years from now. I do believe that change will continue to happen. There is one area of change that I feel strongly about, but I’ll save that for another time. Right now, I’m going to grab an umbrella. The sky could fall at any moment.
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