Two years ago, I wrote about a Five Year Plan. And I've been doing all of the items in the to-do list, except for editorial. But Flickr, and what Flickr represents for professional photographers, is connected to many of the factors in the final list, the opportunities list. “Everybody is a photographer” The long tail Microstock Online distribution Copyright degradation w/ new generation File sharing “Free the net” Orphan works legislation Internet audiences and their characteristics Licensing arrangement degradation Intellectual property ignorance Social networking sites
I just deleted all my images on Flickr. So far, all the infringements I've found have been via Flickr, which isn't completely far-fetched, considering it's a photo sharing site. But it's not for me, as I have no interest in Flickr's "currency". The people who seem to have "made it" via Flickr seem to have been in the right place at the right time, and it seems that's past. And the Getty link just looks like bad news. Thus ends my initial foray into Flickr as a professional.
But that still leaves open the question as to whether or not the list is full of opportunities, or spells the end of photography. The Five Year Plan post has kind of haunted me for the last two years, and I don't feel like I'm any closer to answering the question. Judging by most of the talk on the internet, nobody else is either.
It's pretty easy to pine for the days of yore, of giant expense accounts and ad jobs falling out of the sky, when photographers used expensive, hard-to-use equipment and all you had to do was be good at photography and let 'em know, and then it was briefcases full of money and novelty-sized checks all day.
Not that those days truly existed, and not that pining does anybody any good.