Connor Risch interviews Stephen Mayes, managing director of VII Photo Agency, on PDN Online. It´s a bit long, but full of gold, especially if you´re intrigued about the future of journalism, and photojournalism. Mayes sees the agency turning into a publisher, and the magazines into partners, which makes sense, because the Internet has turned us all into journalists/filmmakers/photographers/publishers, some better than others. How are you going to distinguish yourself?
"When I look at an environment where there’s absolutely too much information, information becomes valueless," says Mayes in the interview. "What everyone is suffering from is that a photograph is just more information. It becomes very hard to put a price on it because there are too many pictures out there, but if you suddenly start rethinking it and saying, “We’re not selling photographs, what we’re selling is believability,” then actually we have more value than we had before. VII offers a benchmark, which now has increased value because of all the information that’s out there."
Kenneth Jarecke thinks that true grit is what will distinguish the new photojournalists, in an essay comparing photojournalists to cowboys, featured in the New York Times. "The photojournalism field is too competitive to enjoy success without giving it everything you’ve got," says Jarecke. "The highest level is filled with people who don’t have a backup plan. If they had, they would have already used it.