Friday afternoon I had some coffee and salad with none other than the man himself. You can read all about our good time and my tardiness here. It was great to see Andrew and talk about things, life, pictures, good shoots, bad shoots, etc. It was fun. Both of us are deeply rooted in the editorial world. Shooting for magazines has been both of our bread and butter for our whole careers. Sure, we pepper in some better paying work here and there, but for the most part, we make a living shooting editorial, and we’d like to keep it that way. We talked about how much we love magazine work, but there just aren’t that many good magazines or shoots out there anymore. I thought a lot about this part of our conversation all weekend. It really started to bum me out.
The publishing industry is in a bad way right now. Magazines folding left and right, not nearly as many original shoots happening in the few good magazines that remain, budgets getting slashed and slashed some more. All signs point to magazines becoming a thing of the past and the internet taking over as a source for the same content. I wonder…without magazines, will name recognition for commercial photographers also fly out the window? I understand that there are still photo credits on websites, blogs, and online magazines. I just don’t think images have the same impact online as they do in print. Where would Annie Leibovitz be without Rolling Stone? I’m sure she would still be successful, but would we know who she is and immediately associate so many images with the name Leibovitz? Are people going to pay the same attention to images on their computer as they do to a cover image plastered all over the city? Will photography have the same impact online? Or maybe the better question is, will individual photographers make the same impact online that they might have in print?
I do love the internet and all it has to offer. Starting this blog is one of the best things I’ve done for my photography in a very long time. Online magazines will continue to improve, I’m sure. I guess I’m just wondering if the era of the magazine superstar photographer is over…Avedon, Penn, Seliger, Leibovitz, etc. If so, that makes me sad because that’s what I always wanted to be when I grew up.