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01-24-2015, 09:29 PM   #31
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Sports Illustrated is getting thinner and the ads are trending downmarket, big time. Print is in big trouble, and SI is no different. This is cost-cutting, pure and simple.

Without accredited access to good shooting locations, a sports photographer can't get photos that will earn him (and it seems to be heavily biased towards males) any money as a freelancer. So, when SI turns its staff photographers into freelancers, those photographers have two options. One, take advantage of the access rights that SI has, in order to get a few freelance scraps (along with SI, team websites might be interested in buying game shots), or two, find a different way to earn a living. Still seems to be a good demand for wedding photographers.

Photographers aren't alone in this transformation of print media, columnists are also becoming freelancers, feature writers are freelancers, and more and more, the person providing the written content is also providing the visual content.

01-24-2015, 10:05 PM   #32
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It sucks. Creative properties are plummeting in value. It's frustrating. I still can't believe SPORTS ILLUSTRATED can't afford to have 6 photographers on staff. Those individuals have helped build the brand, and they're being thrown out like trash. I hope they got HUGE severance packages.
01-25-2015, 01:20 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
So let me get this straight….a staff of photographers lose their jobs, and without even knowing them or anything about their situation, you and others are indicting them for not wanting to do video? And you continue to assume and presume that your view of this situation that you have no firsthand knowledge of (or even second hand knowledge of) is correct.

That's all from me on this topic. I won't participate in the public execution of fellow photographers.
C'mon, lighten up.

Indicting? Maybe a subpoena at best.

An execution is a long ways away!

No one is on trial here, and no one is passing judgment.

People are let go because of some kind of economic pressure or their skills are not appropriate to their tasks.

The economics of non moving/still sports images in the age of 4K frame grabs is tenuous at best.

So, to play the SI staff as some kind of villain, against the photographers, is ignoring the possibility that the photographer's skills - while fine for photography - are not adaptive enough for the realities of 2015.

It's a logical supposition, and reasonable doubt in your court of inquiry, and enough for a subpoena.
01-25-2015, 01:50 AM   #34
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The professionals do often make much more memorable pictures of sports. But how many are because they are accredited to be very near the field of play and not forced to sit in their allocated seat in the stands, wherever that might be. Also, many venues restrict normal ticket holders from taking in very sophisticated equipment, such as very long FL lenses. Also, the professional does the work often and so develops a sense of the right time and place to get interesting action.


The other cost factor with this is that the cameras and lenses of a freelancer are the freelancer's property and expense. An employed person usually uses their employer's equipment.

01-25-2015, 06:13 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Sports Illustrated Lays Off All Staff Photographers
Always a source of inspiration for me, as to a standard one endeavours to achieve.

Photographic "heros" laid off, a sad day in my eyes.
01-25-2015, 09:39 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by LaurenOE Quote
The economics of non moving/still sports images in the age of 4K frame grabs is tenuous at best.
It's a little off topic, but I have to question whether individual video frames are suitable replacements for still photography. Video isn't my thing at all, but it seems to me that videography and stillography are two very different things. The human brain does a tremendous amount of processing to transform changes over brief time periods in a series of almost identical images into the perception of motion without losing visual detail. With a still photograph, the human brain has time to re-process a single image over and over again to transform that image into a visual representation of a holistic sensory experience.

The other point is that videography of sporting events is very different from other events in that it is viewed in real time over a broad network of viewers, and there are no makeovers. To be competitive in this market requires far more resources on site than any other type of videography. The current state of the art in sports broadcasting is so good at conveying the drama of sporting events that it is having an impact on live attendance. Not that professional sports bodies are concerned, the economics of broadcast rights are such that fans in the stands serve the same purpose as a live audience for TV talk shows. If you want to see the pinnacle of videography, watch an NFL game.

Last edited by RGlasel; 01-25-2015 at 10:35 AM.
01-25-2015, 10:28 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
snip

To be competitive in this market requires far more resources on site than any other type of videography.

snip


Not that professional sports bodies are concerned, the economics of broadcast rights are such that fans in the stands serve the same purpose as a live audience for TV talk shows. If you want to see the pinnacle of videography, watch an NFL game.
As evidence, note that new $Billion football stadia are actually designed taking broadcast revenue into account - they're designed around the camera, booth, wiring and mobile production equipment locations for the bidders on the broadcast rights as the first* consideration.



* second is sale of corporate-owned luxury suites. Location of food, beverage and merchandise sales areas and accommodation of advertising signage come next; then parking, tail-gating and sight lines for in-seat viewing are taken into consideration.

Even though season ticket holders must pay an entry fee to even get in the lottery to buy them (the infamous 'Personal Seat License'), it's as if actual fans-in-the-stands are incidental.

Last edited by monochrome; 01-25-2015 at 10:35 AM.
01-25-2015, 10:41 AM - 1 Like   #38
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Does this open the door of opportunity for a few of us the shoot the swimsuit issue?

01-25-2015, 11:39 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
Does this open the door of opportunity for a few of us the shoot the swimsuit issue?
This is a very old anecdote told to me by someone who knew someone who did a swimsuit shoot for SI. He wasn't a staff photographer, he was a freelance fashion photographer. So, the opportunity for a few of you hasn't changed.
01-25-2015, 11:58 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
As evidence, note that new $Billion football stadia are actually designed taking broadcast revenue into account - they're designed around the camera, booth, wiring and mobile production equipment locations for the bidders on the broadcast rights as the first* consideration.
Yes! As a professional (still) sports photographer who has shot at a recently-erected stadium, it is 100% optimized for proper video of the event. This is exactly why NO ONE is clamoring for (still) sports photogs to shoot video. It's already being covered, terrifically and inherently.

I think the still vs. video debate is confusing sports photography with news writers, who have in fact been asked to shoot both stills and video. They are almost always not good at either, and it really is about dinosaur media trying to stay relevant while making a (slim, if any) profit.

BTW, I'm not a good videographer. It is NOT the same skill as being a photographer. Those who pay me understand that, I'm 100% sure SI does too.
01-25-2015, 12:37 PM   #41
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It is interesting to me how various industries respond to change within their business. For instance:
  • Sports Teams - Be it baseball, football, hockey, basketball, etc., fire the manager - get a new one. The talent - the players are too expensive to fire and rebuild the team.
  • Manufacturing - the widgets are too expensive, they aren't selling, the profit is too low, what ever. In the past, is was fire the workers, get temps, then it was to move the plant overseas and use workers at a dime an hour and work them 100 hours a week. Quality went into the crapper, and the plant was too far away to manage effectively.
Ok, two extreme example at various ends of the spectrum. But there is some truth in each approach. Also, all of this has been debated endlessly in various management journals.

In industries other than sports, firing the management is really never the option. I wonder why - well I know why. Management is presenting the options to the board of directors, and its never management's fault or failures. In this case, just what is the alternative? How are they going to take their current business model / delivery system - and change it in order to maintain a profitable business? Just firing the folks producing the main product for magazine is not really the answer. But for the mean time, it does keep the management bonuses coming.

01-25-2015, 01:36 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
I think the still vs. video debate is confusing sports photography with news writers, who have in fact been asked to shoot both stills and video
Local newspapers are already getting sports photographers to write the accompanying editorial content. But the video/still divide is not exactly the same as the writing/photographing divide. News writers are expected to take video with their smartphones. The advantage of getting a writer to take Youtube quality video is speed (no time wasted negotiating the rights to video from a stranger's smartphone and less chance of getting scooped by the Internet) and the benefit to the writer is that he or she gets to keep working. The quality hurdle is insignificant, so the writer doesn't have to have any special skills and it doesn't really cut into the time available to put the story together.

There is still a good reason to send out a crew of writer and videographer to cover car crashes and high school basketball games. No one has perfected the art of reading a story while taping oneself.
01-25-2015, 05:34 PM   #43
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How can a magazine that depends on sports pictures lay off all their photographers ? They must be going out of business...
01-25-2015, 06:27 PM   #44
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FWIW, I mentioned this at a potluck last night with a bunch of non-photographer sports fans there. They were aghast. The general consensus seemed to be great photography was the only reason SI was worth anything.
01-25-2015, 06:31 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by NicoleC Quote
FWIW, I mentioned this at a potluck last night with a bunch of non-photographer sports fans there. They were aghast. The general consensus seemed to be great photography was the only reason SI was worth anything.
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