Posts Tagged ‘New York TImes’

Lens Ends

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

Sad news to hear that the New York Times Lens blog is to end at the end of this month, May 2019. You can read more about it on PDN News. The closure, described by the NYT as a “hiatus” for an indefinite period means the end of one of the more thoughtful and innovative blogs about our medium after around ten years, with a number of posts by James Estrin and his co-editors that I’ve mentioned here – though not as many as I might.

Meaghan Looram, NYT director of photography, says it is time to rethink and “give serious thought to how to better position Lens for the future.” I suspect that means a dumbing down and an end to contributions by people with any great love or knowledge of photography, though I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

Lens has been more than just another photography blog. As PDN points out it has promoted many emerging photographers as well as highlighting work from earlier eras that has often been overlooked or under-appreciated. And importantly, as it states “Lens is one of the few photo blogs to pay the photographers whose work it features.”

That’s an important point, not just because many photographers need the money – it’s very tough for many, particularly young photographers to make a living, but because so many others seem to assume that photographers can live on ‘exposure’. But exposure won’t pay the bills. Are the journalists, the printers and others involved in publications and campaigns working for free? When anyone asks me if they can use my pictures without payment I have a simple question to whoever is asking – ‘Are you being paid for your work? ‘

Of course my suspicions about Lens are based on my own experience with the NYT, who bought a company I worked for and ruined it because the bean counters were determined to aim at the lowest common denominator and forced out those of us who wanted to write intelligently. By the time they sold it on it had lost most of its financial value and virtually all of its credibility.