Tough times ahead for graphics professionals

In an article in the Los Angeles Times, James Rainey paints a gloomy picture for photographers and graphic artists. Perhaps he’s not saying anything we didn’t already know, but I’m kind of glad that I’m now at the back end of my career, rather than just starting out. This must be what it was like to be a portrait painter around the time of the invention of photography…as artist Paul Delaroche is (probably apocryphally) supposed to have said in 1839, on seeing a Daguerrotype, “From today painting is dead!” (a more balanced view of Delaroche’s opinion can be found here in Robert Leggat’s “History of Photography”.)


Filed under News, Opinion, Photography

10 responses to “Tough times ahead for graphics professionals

  1. It’s art, and art has always been a fickle domain.

    There are plenty of photographers out there who have made a bomb, and plenty who still do.

    They have equipment that makes me drool, and live a bloody good life.

    It’s a game that must be played with love, more than the money.

    If it’s about money, then get a job flippin’ burgers for $20 an hour.

    As for the world scene, well its a changing world, now more than ever in history, so flexibility and adaptability remain the key in many respects.

    Niche and networks can help.

    When we are all winners, there are no losers.

    • Good philosophy, Dave. But photography is only occasionally art and when I started 50 years ago was regarded as a craft. I’ve always approached it with love, always done well as a result and have the kind of equipment that makes me even drool (new 300mm lens yesterday)…but there’s no getting past the fact that the internet is bringing about a seismic change in all areas of creativity.

  2. Yes Rob, the world is a different place to that of 50 years ago, even five years ago for that matter.
    A craft? Yes, a trade I guess, but more than plumbing or electrical, or my trade of landscaping, it seems that there are no boundaries.
    It is a tough gig these days (as I now know), cause everyone has a camera and takes pics, but there are more people on the planet, so perhaps there still remains some sort of balance?
    I still see it as art though.
    I mean I shoot real estate as my staple diet, (a gig which had it have come two weeks later I probably would have missed the photography boat), which I find extremely rewarding, low stress, and always challenging, but I make each pic a work of art, as much as my boundaries of time will allow.
    They are my interpretation of a room really, and some like them, some don’t, as is the case with art, which has always been about “paintings” for me.
    I guess this is a relatively new and exciting world for me.
    I’ve almost done my self indentured apprenticeship, but have yet to scratch the surface on this beautiful visual world.
    It’s just my perspective on things.
    The net, well I can’t get by without it lol, but it means major change for a multitude of industries…photography for better or worse included.
    As for your new 300mm lens….ha ha ha ha…bastard!!! Goodonya!!!
    Love ya work…I’m just about to check the 1969 pic you’ve posted….more art by the looks 🙂

  3. Dave, the changes in photography has always excited me, but none more so than digital photography. The internet has allowed me to penetrate markets for my work hitherto (a quaint word) unimagined. This month alone I have had pictures licenced into New Zealand, Finland, Japan, Argentina…and last night, while I slept, in the US.

    I take great delight in imagining your enthusiasm as you set out on this road I’ve been travelling so long. For me it’s always been love of craft before money.

    As for the 300mm…perhaps I shouldn’t tell you about my new 80-200 2.8 Nikkor, or D90 (backup to my D300), the D600 flash and the Canon G11 I bought in the last couple of months. God, I do love the smell of new equipment in the morning!

  4. Good onya Rob…by the by, your heading/banner….the random pics work really well together…not sure why, but they do.

    The camera gear…..what can I say….BASTARD!!!!! 😉

    Ah it’s all good, most exciting….

    See you have a mix of the two main brands and from your 1969 pic, seems like the big “N” is the prize.

    I think…after comparing my young blokes cameras (A passing fad I think)…he is onto Nikon…they have better lenses than Canon…at our entry level at least….but I find my 400d easy to drive….even though it has a multitude of features I never use.

    He just spent about $900 on a little point and shoot Sigma…..solid little unit….shoots in RAW, metal case….reasonable lens….14mpix….seems pretty good actually for what it is.

    My aim/goal/fantasy…in a year or so…assuming things go well….maybe a Canon D7…then a couple of lenses…maybe a 50 or 80mm…1.4 or similar…maybe a better quality midrange than my 75-300….time will tell.

    Ta for the indulgence!!

    My enthusiasm?

    Oh yeah….I am easily bored, so this is one trade that is never that.

    In fact there is so much to learn….so little time….

    I’m very lucky to have this opportunity, and hope to be at it till the end…..a great legacy I hope…..


    • I’ve been thinking of redoing the banner…but time is always at a premium. Since I started in 1962, I’ve used Leica, Canon rangefinder, Yashicamat TLR, Mamiya TLR (staff equipment on The Australian), surreptitiously replacing that with my own Nikon F outfit with 28mm, 50mm, and 135mm. Since then I’ve been a committed Nikon user (though have owned Mamiya RB67 and Toyoview 5×4). My favourite camera of all is the Nikon SP rangefinder. I once had one of these with the legendary F1.1 50mm, and the 25mm wide angle. They got knocked off in a burglary about 25 years ago and I see that the lens hood alone for the 1.1 lens is worth $US2500 now. This is the machine I drool over, if I ever considered going back to film. The Canon G11 is my current favourite walkaround camera as it is a compact point and shoot, with lovely old style dials on top for the ISO setting, mode select, and exposure adjustment. Also it lulls all those officious security guards into thinking I’m a tourist. Anyway I’m off to the airport. Talk next week…

  5. did god create man or man create god?
    did censors have clothes on when born?
    oliver cromwell did die?
    torture still exists performed by?
    fear & hate are used to control by self-righteous self appointed leaders.
    will my CD’s by Mary Black & Sarah McLachlan be confiscated?
    will branding replace tattoos?
    keep the iron in the fire rob!

  6. hi rob
    my comments were censored .i was informed they needed moderation?
    where do i go for guidance-outdoors?
    2 days ago i was told “you should look down”
    i like to look at subjects & people on trains.
    keep us informed Rob

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