Is the Photography Profession Professional?
This was written after reading yet another whinge by yet another professional photographer about how those new to photography behave. I have posted variations of it in several places over the past few months. I was going to use it as the basis for a considered and cooler look at the situation but decided that it was more honest to keep the usual tone and let the cards fall where they may.
This particular response was originally to a self proclaimed member of the photography profession bemoaning the fact the newcomers give away images to gain publicity. With very few changes it could just as easily been a response to those complaining about the use of cheap equipment – of course they decide what cheap is, the influx of so called “mommie photographers” – sexism is a well used weapon, the microstock industry – selling multiples cheaply, or just about anything else that could be intimidating or off putting to newcomers.
I disagree with the idea that professional photographers should have any say in how a hobbyists distributes their images and what financial arrangements they come to.
If those in the photography profession were more approachable,less protective of their turf and less downright obnoxious things may be different. The absolute disdain for non-pros is unmatched in any other industry. This means that those seeking entry have to find alternative means.
In other industries newcomers are helped and nurtured, in ours they are sneered at, their equipment is mocked especially if they happen to be female and especially if they have the temerity to decide to announce that they intend to make a living with the camera.
Over the past ten years I have introduced and witnessed many people start on the photographic journey and all of them, every single one without exception has remarked on how hostile and unfriendly the professional photography community is compared to others.
Of course their are exceptions, those photographers who are not only confident enough in their own ability not to feel threatened by new blood but also see newcomers as the future of the industry. These are also the ones who understand that the photography industry, like every other industry, has to move with the times and adapt to survive.
So, maybe the photography profession needs to have a long hard look at itself and work out something rather than push new talent and enthusiasm away then whine like hell because said new talent chooses to take an alternative route.