Emerging Photographers

A nice piece in the New York Times, a paper that has used a great deal of good photography over the years, showcases the work of 12 ‘emerging photographers‘.

My own experiences working for the New York Times organisation were considerably less positive, working for an organisation they took over, I got fired from a job writing about photography and photographers because the editors they brought in thought my work was not commercial enough. I’d been hired to write about photography for professionals and collectors of photography some years earlier, but what the new editors wanted was something that appealed to a well off market in the USA that would appeal to advertisers. I had to stop using British spelling, stop writing long pieces, stop writing about foreign photographers, write everything for people who knew nothing about photography but had just bought a camera to photograph their kids, July 4th and thanksgiving… I should assume my readers knew nothing about photography but should convince them that if they bought the latest new camera it would make them a real photographer, up with the greats.

I’d built up a considerable following over the seven or so years I had written the web site, with photographers around the world reading my articles and writing to me. One article on the photographs from 9/11 got around a million hits in 24 hrs, and the audience figures generally weren’t bad – just as well as I only got paid by results. Though it turned out I and the other writers weren’t actually getting paid what we were promised, and a couple of years after I left I got a couple of thousand pounds more from a class action settlement.

All along I had been writing some things specifically for beginners and also for an American audience, but I also wrote and continued writing more serious articles as well. Using US spelling didn’t worry me, but there was too much I wasn’t prepared to compromise and dumb down on so after an uncomfortable few months I got fired. Which is really how this blog started.

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