Sports Illustrated Cuts Entire Staff Of Photographers From Payroll

Jan 23, 2015

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

Sports Illustrated Cuts Entire Staff Of Photographers From Payroll

Jan 23, 2015

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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There aren’t many working staff photographers around the world that aren’t worried about their jobs or wondering when the day will (inevitably) come when their publication will start handing out marching orders to the photography department. For the six remaining staff photographers at Sports Illustrated, that day came yesterday when the publication announced they would no longer need the services of Robert BeckSimon Bruty, Bill FrakesDavid E. KluthoJohn W. McDonough, and Al Tielemans.

The magazine’s director of photography, Brad Smith, confirmed the news, citing “economic circumstances”. Sports Illustrated’s is undergoing several changes under the direction of parent company, Time, INC. In addition to letting go if it’s photographers, the magazine is also moving it’s headquarters into a smaller building because they cannot afford the rent in their current location any longer according to a statement issued to one of the photographers from a Sport’s Illustrated editor.

Donald Winslow, editor for the National Press Photographers Association (NPAA) publication, News Photographer, made an interesting point on Twitter this morning, raising the question of just how financially bad off the publication actually is given the overwhelming success Sports Illustrated has seen via it’s Swimsuit Issue, which boasts $1 billion dollar in revenue.

As for the future of the photographers, it appears there’s no plan currently in effect; however, Smith does hope they can establish a new structure which will keep the photographers contributing to the magazine. In a statement that appeared on the NPAA website, he said:

“Have contributed to the success of the magazine and the Sports Illustrated franchise, and I hope that they may continue to do so under slightly different circumstances. In my grandest thoughts I hope they will continue to contribute to the magazine. I can’t imagine a world where they don’t. We just have to figure out what this new structure is.” – Brad Smith

These types of headlines have been becoming a trend in the recent years and the announcement from the Sports Illustrated camp follows closely on the heals of an announcement made by the New York Times who let go of photographers after a recent buyout and The Chicago Sun-Times which all of it’s full time staff photographers in 2013.

[ via NPPA | Mashable | Photo by Julie V. ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer and content strategist based in Hawi, Hawaii. Her work has been shared by top publications like The New York Times, Adobe, and others.

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12 responses to “Sports Illustrated Cuts Entire Staff Of Photographers From Payroll”

  1. Casey Braunger Avatar
    Casey Braunger

    So you’re telling me they have openings? YES!

  2. Morgan Glassco Avatar
    Morgan Glassco

    I’m sure there is a lot I don’t understand about the industry…

    But someone help me understand how they expect to fill their magazine with images that aren’t from fans in the crowd. This isn’t like a newspaper sending their journalists into the field with iPhones. The shots these guys get are in part because they have access to the sidelines of the games because they shoot for the magazine.

    1. Doug Gray Avatar
      Doug Gray

      They will hire the same people to do the same job, but as independent contractors. That way they won’t have to pay them benefits and such. It’s basically the model that everyone is taking. If you read the story, Sport Illustrated let go of all SIX of their staff photographers. Sports Illustrated covers sports everyone on the planet and had SIX staff photographers. There won’t be much that changes other than those six photographers now will have to work just like everyone else that was contracted out by SI for all of the other jobs.

    2. Stefan Nilsson Avatar
      Stefan Nilsson

      As Doug pointed out, they’ll use more freelancers. You’ve also got companies such as gettyimages. Instead of every magazine hiring and sending a photographer to every event, they’ll just buy the photos they need from a service doing it for them.

      Another advantage is the flexibility. Now they can pay the best photographer within a niche to take photos for a specific reportage. They don’t have to use someone they hired 20 years ago to photograph something he isn’t comfortable with.

      1. Eric Avatar
        Eric

        WRONG Stefan, just MORE union-busting in the US. Just imagine for a moment that ALL pro level photographers’ refused to submit works to the agency’s (that are the real problem here), the industry would soon be crying for content.

        What we have now is idiot kids shooting from the photo pit with their iPhones and sadly, desperate, but experienced shooters racing to the bottom just to feed themselves.

      2. ext237 Avatar
        ext237

        “They don’t have to use someone they hired 20 years ago to photograph something he isn’t comfortable with.”

        If someone has been doing their job for 20 years, they probably have reached an acceptable “comfort” level. Including an appropriate salary level for a comfortable living.

      3. ext237 Avatar
        ext237

        “Instead of every magazine hiring and sending a photographer to every event, they’ll just buy the photos they need from a service doing it for them.”

        That’s right. So they will all buy the same photos, and any uniques within each publication will be lost.

    3. Jacob RG Canon Avatar
      Jacob RG Canon

      The other reality is that with 4K broadcast cameras and those incredibly beautiful lens the screen grabs are as nice or nicer than what some of these photographers can catch. It is just another example of technology stripping us of our necessity.

  3. DHILL Avatar
    DHILL

    “: Sports Illustrated Cuts Entire Staff Of Photographers From Payroll – http://t.co/9mzxk2sy0o”-woooooow!

  4. Jonathan Avatar
    Jonathan

    @TheSlantedLens wow! So they are gonna buy photos from freelancers so they don’t have to pay health insurance or a salary?

  5. Rick Avatar
    Rick

    Haven’t seen SI lately have you? They have dropped to such a level of trashy journalism that it not a case of them no longer wanting photographers, it’s a case of them no longer wanting professionals.

  6. Tiffany Mueller Avatar
    Tiffany Mueller

    Laid-off Sports Illustrated photographers will still shoot the Super Bowl together #nppa #photojournalism #SuperBowl https://t.co/4uskKzUbWV— Donald R. Winslow (@donaldrwinslow) January 23, 2015