In a move said to cut down on financial obligations and make the magazine more competitive, Sports Illustrated fired all six of it’s staff photographers effective yesterday. The magazine, a subsidiary of Time, Inc., says it will utilize freelance photographers. Sports Illustrated will not reveal whether the freelancers will be paid or how much, but often freelance work is an opportunity for an up and coming photographer – or simply anyone with a camera and a lucky shot – to put their name out there. They will take $25.00 and a subscription, for a shot, which pales in comparison to seeing their name on that picture. Technology and a fiercely competitive Internet market are also part of the reality. BleacherReport came along and moved Sports Illustrated out of a contract with CNN. This had to hurt the magazine, and the Bleacher model is all about online advertising revenue, acceptable quality and most likely more than enough stellar photos from amateurs who want nothing more than seeing their name on a published photo. Any staff photographers they have couldn’t be making anywhere near what the SI guys were making. Still, the average citizen does not have access to the sports pits, to the front lines where killer shots can be found, so it’s still somewhat disturbing for a professional magazine to fire all of it’s professional photographers. It’s almost like, okay, somebody in the penthouse office was having a bad day and oh to hell with it, fire all the camera guys. I certainly understand the financial bottom line, but I think a move like this damages the brand. Apparently there was no easy way to let go a few at a time so they got rid of all six in one shot? Other questions include were the photographers offered a reduced pay? Was anything done to keep them on board? Any way you look at it, depressing, negative news for what used to be a pretty decent brand. – Preston Brady III< Mobile Tribune.
Preston Brady III can be reached at gulfshores(at)gmail.com.