Eliane Laffont give a well spoken account of the realties of being a photojournalist in today’s market…
After the first fatal blow, dealt by the economic crisis, followed by the digital revolution of the ‘90s, other major occurrences contributed to the end of French-style photojournalism:
Vanished, the leading traditional French photo agencies, Gamma, Sygma, Sipa, who contracted so many photographers throughout the world.
Gone, the budgets of prominent magazines, Time, Newsweek, Life, Paris Match, Stern, Manchete, who unhesitatingly paid tens of thousands of euros for exclusive rights for important, international stories.
Pulverized, assignments lasting months, paid €500 per day with all expenses shouldered by the commissioner.
Shattered, the prices for archival images, dwindling from a few hundred euros – obtained after years of tough battle – down to a few pennies.
Over, the in-depth political, humanitarian, social feature stories, replaced by “people”.
Swept away, the 50/50 split, 50% to the photographer, 50% to the agency, replaced by 75% agency, 25% photographer who very often must assume production costs of his reportage stories.
Withdrawn, those very precious press cards enabling professional photographers to work and receive support.
Finished, Paris the world capital of photojournalism