The New Veterans

Rohn Engh

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No longer is it necessary to go through years of schooling, be honored with awards, recognized in the press, or have an uncle who is a publisher, to get your photos in print – and get paid for it.

The digital age has brought a kind of democracy to the world of photography. If you have a sensitive eye for pictures and are willing to work at marketing them, you don't need to be a “name" photographer or member of an elite group, to say, “I just published another of my images. ”

"Successful photography, " for many years, was the domain of cameramen who owned extensive equipment, expensive studios, and a large ad in the local Yellow Pages, or national trade publication. They joined elite organizations and were showered with ribbons and awards for their work.

That age has passed. The automatic controls on digital cameras these days make it very possible for a person with a sensitive and creative eye for the visual, to also produce technical quality and jump to the head of the publishing line. This might seem upside-down to some readers. “Photographers should work their way, pay their dues, the same way I did, ” a veteran photographer might say.

Things are changing, and changing fast. Our publication, PhotoStockNOTES, is an attempt to catch you up with photo publishing opportunities you might be missing out on, because you thought you couldn't compete with “the big guns, " the established photo entrepreneurs. That it would take you too much time, too much effort, to get yourself prepared for professional results, establish the right contacts, and to enter the stock photo industry, eCommerce, Web sites, CD-ROM catalogs, Web TV, on-line galleries, Email, Photography Chat Groups, Search Engines, Portals, and more.


What if you have no track record, no history of publishing? In the new economy of the Digital Age a track record is no longer a prerequisite. In fact, in some cases, if an enterprise nowadays boasts that it has been in business since 1975, red flags go up. “Who cares?” many art directors will say. They suspect a generation gap and might even be apprehensive of dealing with your company for fear you are resistant to change and not up to digital speed.

So, if the icons of the photo publishing industry are tumbling and the hierarchy of the photographic royalty have been dethroned, who or what will fill the void?

These recent years of the early existence of the web, the information highway, I have chosen not to travel it in my own vehicle, but to hitchhike. During the last decade I’ve had a good observatory post as a photographer, columnist, author, publisher, seminar giver, lecturer, and independent business owner. As a hitchhiker I'm in a good position to hear the voices of our industry’s leaders, naysayers, and decision-makers.

If you read the weekly and monthly trade magazines in our field, you know that new technology is continually developed and implemented at such rapid speed, that many corporate decision-makers find themselves overwhelmed, bewildered, and in transition. If this describes you, too, you are not alone. You have good company as we all grope through this continuing change, struggling to decide which card to play in this game of digital poker.

The computer industry has been the flagship in this renaissance. Other industries - auto, chemical, banking, and other sectors, are seeing that if they, too, don’t become Internet-enabled they will be left out in the cold.

Vendors are enticing consumers; whiz kids are ousting veterans; hucksters are conning the unwary; upstart enterprises are toppling established businesses; new methods are replacing the clunky ones; photo industry stars of the past are waning and taking self-imposed retirement; new updates and versions of software are outpacing the tried and true systems. It’s all a big mess. Or a big exciting volcano. Or so it seems. But there is sense to be made of it all.

Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes. Pine Lake Farm, 1910 35th Road, Osceola, WI 54020 USA. Telephone: 1 800 624 0266 Fax: 1 715 248 7394. Web site:


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