Friday, January 20, 2012

Photography And Dealing With Change

A man sits atop a mountain in a meditation pose while wearing a double breasted business suit.
Sometimes the best way to deal with change is to take a deep breath and relax.

The Only Constant Is Change
I had an epiphany last night. It relates to that old adage “the only constant is change”. I have been feeling relieved lately that most of the change facing the photography industry, and the stock photo industry in particular, is behind us. My epiphany, however, is that most of the change is still ahead of us, and will be coming at an ever faster pace! Yikes!

New Cameras, iPhone photos, And Copyright Issues
In just the last month some stock agencies are starting to take iPhone photos, Canon and Nikon have each announced new cameras with ISO ratings of 200,000+, and Le Corbusier, the French furniture company, has won a lawsuit claiming that use of their products in stock photos is a copyright violation. Geez. The change affecting our industry is coming from all directions!

A Strategy To Deal With Change
Whether it is real or perceived, the need to keep up with rapidly proliferating social media developments, technology advancements in both stills and motion, the endless struggle with copyright issues on and offline, the ever increasing influx of imagery, as well as all the other coming changes that I cannot even imagine, is threatening to overwhelm me! The realization that such an onslaught is not going to abate, but rather accelerate, makes me realize that I need some sort of strategy to deal with all this change. Trying blindly to keep up with it isn’t working and is actually cutting into my productiveness, and more importantly, my satisfaction with life!

Google + And Flailing
When I first took up rock climbing (indoors only…I am actually a bit of a coward), my instructor-and girl friend, Stephanie, lovingly demonstrated what I looked like during my climb. She called it flailing. Thrashing wildly about is what it looked like to me. That is how I started to feel last night trying to figure out Google +. I added 500 photographers to my circle, I think. I dunno…but I do know I was flailing! It wasn’t pretty, and flailing is never good.

Less Can Be More
When it comes to dealing with change less can often be more. For example, rather than diving full-bore into social media efforts, and possibly getting sucked into a bottomless pool of plus ones, likes and links, something that can easily consume all the hours I have in a day, I am better off just dipping a toe in the water and watching the relentless current swirl around me without having to thrash wildly about. Most of those hours will be far better spent making cool images and enjoying my life.  That seems to me pretty much true of all these changes. It seems to me that it is better to embrace change with caution rather than abandon.

A New Mantra
So my new strategy for dealing with change is simply a mantra: No flailing! When that anxiousness starts to well up, I will just remind myself to keep enjoying the moment and remember not to flail!


Jaak Nilson said...

Seems, we should not be very optimistic about existing stock business model. Who knows what will happen in future. It is a right solution to keep all different doors open.
John, seems you have a great expectations about direct sales from your own site.


John Lund said...


I am confident that there is a future in stock photography. But the individuals who do well in it have to be dedicated, prolific and creative. To really make a ton of money in stock is going to be really challenging...but there are a few of those who are doing so....


Jaak Nilson said...

Yeah, know some succeful stock photogrpahers. John Lund and some of Blend co-owners too:)))
John, thank for your second interview with Jonathan Ross. Now I am a contributor for Spaces Images, for 7 month already. I am pretty optimistic.


myrecruiterchris said...

NO FLAILING! Huh! I think I will take a deep breath....and take Uncle John's advise!

Laura L said...

It is so reassuring that someone else realizes these things. also your attitude makes light of the situation and gives such people as myself hope and kind of a slap in the face that it will be okay if you remain calm and don't flail.
thanks for your thoughts!