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November 28th, 2009

Required Reading: Posts about photography’s future you can’t afford to miss

Posted by liveBooks

This week I found several exciting stories that suggest big innovations in the photo industry and — even more exciting — an eagerness to embrace them rather than fear of new unknowns.
Steve Jobs with Apple Air laptop

Steve Jobs with the MacBook Air. ©David Paul Morris/Getty Images

First up is Dan Lyons’ Newsweek post about Apple’s new tablet computer. The news is a few weeks old, but Dan’s reaction to it is a breath of fresh air. “Veteran editor Tina Brown, who now runs The Daily Beast, says we are about to enter ‘a golden age of journalism.’ I agree, and I think tablet devices will hurry that along.” Compare that to recent pieces like The Digital Journalist‘s “Revisiting The Death of Journalism: Ten Years Later,” or “Lament for a Dying Field: Photojournalism” from The Times and you’ll see why I’m excited.


Vogue editor Anna Wintour. ©Getty Images

Then I spotted this story about Vogue hiring Obama’s web strategists to help them “analyze the Conde Nast publication’s audience as part of a broader, revenue-generating push that ultimately will involve implementing paid subscriptions on” Sentences like this make me so happy — “Vogue executives, keenly aware that the monthly magazine is just one of many ways people connect with the publication, had been looking for ways to capitalize on its influence” — because it means publications are finally starting to understand that it’s their name, their cache, the respect people have for them that is valuable in the online world, not just the content itself. This is a lesson many photographers could benefit from. And, of course, if magazines like Vogue actually figure out how to make money online, we can only hope that will trickle down to the photographers they employ.

Cory Doctorow, by Jonathan Worth

Cory Doctorow, by Jonathan Worth

Leave it to Fred Ritchin to put his finger right on the crux of this issue on his After Photography blog. He starts off by calling out Jonathan Worth, a photographer I’ve been following closely as he blogs about his endeavor to make money off of his photography by giving away the photograph itself (in this case a portrait of science fiction writer Cory Doctorow). Fred then moves on to the innovative approach the VII photo agency is taking to photo distribution, and wraps up with this little gem: “In a Boston Consulting Group poll published last week people in nine countries were surveyed asking if they would pay for online news: from 48 to 60 percent said they would, ranging from US$3 per month (Americans and Australians) to US$7 (Italians). Maybe we should take them at their word?”

Joe McNally

Joe McNally

And I’d like to leave you with this gem from Joe McNally, a letter he wrote to a young photographer trying to find their way. It’s an inspirational, well-written, wandering piece, as Joe’s usually are, that I think is brilliant advice not only for young creatives, but also for the media industry in general: “You are just beginning to write your pages, and the thing to remember about this early rough draft is that it hardly matters what you do exactly, as long as you continue to become something close to what you might imagine you want or need to become.”

I encourage anyone in any kind of decision-making position in the industry — from individual photographers to multi-national publishers — to embrace that notion and keep experimenting, keep innovating, keep striving for something better. You’ll know it when you find it.

Be Part of the RESOLUTION: What do you think about the idea that we’re entering a “golden age of journalism”? What experiments to find new media business models have the most potential?


  1. November 28th, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Twitted by jjstarchaser

    […] This post was Twitted by jjstarchaser […]

  2. November 29th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Veasey Conway

    As a student photojournalist, it’s a little disheartening to look at the state of the industry today. However, it’s also inspiring to see how much confidence people have that things will turn around. In the face of huge odds, people are innovating, adapting, and trying to emerge on the other end.

  3. November 30th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Miki Johnson

    Hi Veasey,
    I’m glad you feel inspired, not just disheartened (although that’s obviously a fair way to feel).

    I also hope you’ll remember that, especially as a student of photojournalism, it’s not just “people” who are innovating and adapting — it’s you. One thing I always push photographers to do is to take responsibility for moving the industry in a positive direction themselves. Don’t sit around waiting for others to innovate…the beautiful thing about the world we live in today is that ANYONE can have the next big idea :)

  4. December 4th, 2009 at 5:19 am

    Shooting for an NGO «

    […] 4, 2009 This recent RESOLVE article poses the thought-provoking question as to whether we are currently entering a golden age of […]

  5. December 7th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    After Photography › iChaos

    […] meld media on a well-designed all-purpose platform and usher in a golden age for journalism and photography as well while following in the digital footsteps of the iPod and iPhone. Many top media companies […]

  6. December 25th, 2009 at 5:11 am


    I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

  7. January 11th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Jonathan Worth

    An update and review to my Copyleft experiment:


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