10 worst moments in photography in 2013

The Inverse Square Law: what it means for photographers

Photographers document moments, good or bad, that happen to others. But what were the worst moments for photographers in 2013? In no particular order, here are the 10 that we’d prefer not to have experienced in the year gone by.

The Inverse Square Law: what it means for photographers

Worst moments in photography 2013: 1. Photographers replaced by iPhones

28 full-time photographers lost their jobs when the Chicago Sun-Times decided to save money by replacing them all with iPhones. This Tumblr has been monitoring the visual result, comparing the iPhone photography in the Chicago Sun-Times to the professional coverage in the Chicago Tribune.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 2. Terry Richardson reappeared

The release of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball video caused storied of its director, Terry Richardson, to resurface. Despite it being the year 2013, young, vulnerable models and interns still get forced into compromising positions (literally) by predators such as ‘Uncle Terry’, whose behaviour gives fashion photographers a bad name and reminds us all of how not to act in any professional setting, ever.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 3. Beyonce banned pros

Photo censorship isn’t just for authoritarian regimes; after the release of some ‘unflattering’ pictures at her Superbowl performance, Beyonce banned all professional photographers bar one from her Mrs Carter world tour in April. The Barbara Streisand effect saw to it that most news outlets that reported on the story included an example of the ‘unflattering’ pictures Beyonce was so fervently trying to avoid.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 4. Photojournalists died on the job

Being a photojournalist is dangerous at the best of times. This year, several photographers have lost their lives documenting conflicts in Syria and Egypt, and one Egyptian freelance photographer lost his life while capturing his own death on camera, filming the sniper who shot him. The video was touted as evidence by both the Muslim Brotherhood and demonstrators claiming it supports their version of events.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 5. Woman photographer raped

A photojournalist was raped by five men while on assignment at a textile mill in Mumbai in August. The woman, in her early 20s, was sent on location to document the crumbling state of the homes of former mill workers in an area that was not considered to be dangerous. The incident happened a year after India was named the worst G20 country for women.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 6. Stolen image won Samsung prize

Imagine seeing your photograph announced as the winning image of an award, but with someone else’s name attached to it. That happened to Hengki Koentjoro, whose Instagram image was manipulated by another user and submitted to a competition run by Samsung. The image thief was awarded a Samsung NX300, but lost the award once Samsung found out about the copyright infringement.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 7. National treasure sold

Britain has parted with the earliest known photo album owned by pioneering British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. The historical album, which was said to be of ‘outstanding significance to the study of 19th century photography’, has been purchased by an overseas buyer after an export ban was lifted in October. The three month ban was originally imposed in the hope that a UK buyer would be found.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 8. Ilford Switzerland declared insolvency

It’s always sad to see photographic manufacturers fold, and although it’s only the Switzerland arm of Ilford that had to throw in the towel this year, it makes you wonder who will be next.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 9. Wedding photos lost

Every wedding photographer’s worst nightmare is to lose their pictures from a wedding day, so imagine losing four weekends’ worth of wedding pictures. That is what happened to photographer Meg Mantia, who left her house for an hour and came back to find that her second body, lenses, iMac, flashes and harddrive had all been stolen by a burglar. The $10,000 cost of the stolen equipment was, according to Mantia, nowhere near as devastating as the loss of so many people’s memories.

Worst moments in photography 2013: 10. $100 wedding photographer wanted

A ludicrous add appeared on Craigslist in September, asking for a wedding photographer who could take “high quality professional images” for the total remuneration of $100, stating that professional fees were not worth it. The advertiser wrote: “I think I am very attractive and will be wearing a wedding dress so this would be great for your portfolio,” and continued with a list of demands such as good people skills and a “really, really good camera.” Here’s hoping it was a joke.


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