Vincent Laforet’s Blog

Speak Up! – “The Cloud is Falling”
August 3, 2008, 8:24 am
Filed under: Active Discussions


One of the things I’d really like to accomplish with this blog is to start up an ongoing discussion on some of the themes and ideas I presented in the “Cloud is Falling” article.   I’ve already heard from a few hundred of you via e-mail – and it looks like a solid bet that there will be some sort of “workshop” or gathering as result – perhaps as early as this fall.

I’ve already had some pretty excellent people offer to participate – editors, publishers, agents, and photographers – not to mention some of the authors behind the blogs that have influenced me… (If you’re interested in being notified when this event launches (or being a participant – and hey – if you can host it please let me know)- pls fire off an e-mail to workshops (at) – I’m keeping track of everyone who has responded so far.)

At this point – I’d like to open up the discussion here.   Just post a comment and we’ll go from there… this obviously isn’t a message board (which is probably a good thing) but there’s no reason we can’t have a good back and forth discussion as part of the comments thread that follows this post.

Here’s an article I read today that states that newspapers are being “killed,” because they’re no longer the best providers of “social currency.”   This is something I generally agree with – although I do think that this may indeed be one of the main driving forces behind the current exodus of “print” media readers – I also think that the executives, and many of the self-destructive cutbacks, buyouts, and layoffs they are making are also to blame – but I already went over that in the “Cloud” piece (at length 😉 )

So please – let’s hear what each and every one of you have to say.  I’d especially be interested in hearing not only from photographers – but from editors and publishers as well – even if you need to remain “anonymous” for obvious reasons.


16 Comments so far
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This was originally sent on June 30….
I just read your commentary on sportshooter and I agree with you 100%.

As a photojournalist who turns 59 in three hours time I have often said I wish I was in my 20s as the future looks bright. The near future though is difficult for everyone in the traditional media business.

I may want to link to your commentary, especially as readers of Rangefinder are wedding photographers — they’ll hate you for saying it!.


John Rettie
Technical Editor
Rangefinder and After Capture magazines

Comment by John Rettie

John – Happy Birthday! I think you’re spot on – the near term outlook is murky – but long term there are great opportunities out there (many yet to be invented… )

Go ahead and link to Rangefinder if you want – I have already received a few e-mails from wedding photographers almost pleading with me not to send recently-unemployed PJs in the direction of the wedding photography business. Truth be told – it’s happening whether or not I mention it… with few exceptions almost every PJ Photographer I know is starting to shoot weddings either on the side (of their staff jobs) or now that they are freelancing…

I was driving in a very small town in New Jersey two weeks ago – kind of middle of nowhere- and there was a sign on the side of the main street for a wedding photography shop – it read “Photojournalism Style Packages Available.” I should have taken a picture…

Comment by Vincent Laforet

Hearty support for Vince’s comments. This is a subject that I have been generating interest about over the last 12 – 18 months. Take a look at and for shared opinions.

Comment by Mike Fox

I found your article very interesting. I am about to start school at Hallmark Institute of Photography. It should be interesting starting out in commercial and editorial work with the state of things. I deffently will have to take your perspective into consideration and I hope that I will be able to have a fresh take on the industry as i start off. I just found your blog and am looking forward to following it.
Ben Spell

Comment by Benjamin Spell

More examples of the job cutting trend in this Strobist post.

Comment by Chris

Check out this post about job cuts on strobist.

Comment by Chris

It is getting ugly out there, and “The Cloud is Falling” hits on a lot of the issues and opportunities facing us.

I’ve always believed that if you’re good enough at something, and pursue it as best you can, you’ll make a living. Nothing has yet caused me to deviate from that line of thinking.

But I really think we’re getting to the point where being the shutter man or the video guy isn’t going to cut much.

With so much of the business of photojournalism wrapped up in just ‘being there,’ anyone with a camera can be on the front-lines and grab the front page.

In order to compensate, we need to do much more than just make pictures, even if we take really, really good pictures. As finances tighten, having ‘a photo’ at the right price is going to go further than ‘a great photo’ at a high price for a lot of buyers.

We need to offer more than just pictures. Maybe it’s Web packages, stories, editing, or whatever ‘extra’ skills we have or can develop.

We also need to find new ways to monetize our pictures. Rates are in the basement these days, and I don’t see them improving any time soon.

Now, more than ever, it’s important that we preserve all rights to our work, so we can put them to work for us.

We need the creative and licensing fees to be the foundation of our revenue, of course; but we need to look to non-traditional transactions after-the-fact to help us get ahead financially.

Finally, we have acted as a group with no brotherhood amongst thieves. Our Congressional lobby groups are practically non-existent compared to other professions. So many of our professional workshops are nothing more than expensive shopping trips, and pitch opportunities for hardware and software vendors.

The notion of a ‘creative professional as a staffer’ will likely go away in large scale. Everyone needs to be able to make it on his own
(as a freelancer).

Comment by Will Seberger

I’m so excited to see this dialogue starting and so much of the fear being shed/re-purposed as things go through this massive change. Thank you for starting it.

I posted a brief piece on my blog linking to your original Cloud piece on SportsShooter and I hope more people will join into this discussion (I’ll be posting about it again tomorrow).

In the meantime, if there is anything I can do to help foster the discussion or, maybe, with the workshop or whatever, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’d be happy to help, but I think photographers should be the ones who participate the most in this. It’s great to see a photographer leading in this way!
-Leslie Burns-Dell’Acqua
Creative/Marketing Consultant

Comment by Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua

Great article! It’d be easy to look at the near future as dire times for photographers, but looking at it as time of change, development and promise is far more exciting. I’m in my mid-30’s and only recently realized that I wanted to be a photographer (mostly because of inspiration from your work and the work of Chase Jarvis). Getting into it now when it’s changing rather being used to an old model seems better than ever. Bring it on.

And thanks for finally staring a blog!

Comment by Michael Hurcomb

[…] about Vincent Laforet’s fascinating article about the changing industry. He’s done a follow-up on his new blog. It’s mostly an encouragement to discuss the issues, but it’s definitely worth thinking […]

Pingback by Burns Auto Parts blog » Blog Archive » More on falling clouds

I am telling my two proteges that the journalism world has been changing and will continue changing. Thank you for spelling it out in a form everyone can understand.
It’s nice to be a decade-old small town news veteran and be able to show the big picture to the newbies.
Very respectfully,
Creighton Holub

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