Photography Is No Longer Valued, Or Is That Garbage?



Last week photographer Pat Pope wrote an open letter to the band Garbage on alternative music news and blog site Louder Than War. The letter was a public reply to the band’s management who had approached Pope with a request to use some of his images of the band in their heyday in an upcoming book, on which budget was “limited”. In return the band’s management promised Pope a “proper credit”, which Pope explains means “we’re not going to pay you”.

Pope goes on to ask what the management or band had written in their budget plan for the book, even going so far as to suggest “no need to pay, we’ll just give them a proper credit and get them for free.” Whilst it’s unlikely this was the exact wording, an interesting question is raised regarding the value of photography as a medium.

There is no doubt that in the age of the internet, of smartphones and of an abundance of stock images, photography is not as inaccessible as it was say 20 or 30 years ago. In fact photography equipment has become so accessible to anybody with some amount of disposable income that more people would count themselves ‘professional’ photographers, than ever before.

But does this saturation of the industry mean that great images have less value? We think not. As long as there is unique products, people or events that need quality images, there will be a need for photographers to create them. Value is as much in the subject of the image in question as it is the image itself. After all, Garbage can’t simply find a cheap stock image of some obscure underground Norwegian black metal band for their biography, they are in the market for images of the band themselves. As such, any images of the band that are available have significant value.

To put it in a more relevant context to us as a photography business: Our fashion clients are not in the market for a generic image of a t-shirt. They are looking for bespoke images of their own designs, which is where we step in. Whilst we’re on for a bit of industry back scratching here and there, we are after all in the business of making great images.

Have any similar experiences to Pope’s to share with us? Let’s hear it. Comment below or tweet @Prodoto with your experiences. You can also check out Pope’s original letter on Louder Than War.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *