Industry Updates


Looking Back: Publications We’ll Miss & Notable Photo Agency Closings

June 5, 2017

By Stacey Goldberg

The March/April issue of Popular Photography was the magazine's last print issue.

Publications We’ll Miss

The publishing industry faces continuing challenges, and the past 12 months saw the closing of media outlets that have showcased some great photography.

Owned by Condé Nast, Self magazine, which published its first issue in January 1979, officially folded its print component in February 2017. The publisher will continue operating Self.com and plans to publish special print editions around health and wellness-related topics.

WWD, which switched from a daily print publication to weekly in 2015, told Adweek in February, 2017, that it would cease publishing regular, weekly print editions and instead print only special editions. WWD’s digital components will continue to operate in real time.

Bonnier publications American Photo and Popular Photography shuttered earlier this year. American Photo, which ceased publishing in print in 2014 but continued to publish online, officially stopped all new content creation on March 10, and the March/April issue of Popular Photography was the magazine’s last.

Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, MSNBC.com shuttered its photography department on November 11. In a Facebook post announcing the closing, the editors, who had published award-winning photo essays on U.S. politics, the effects of food stamp cuts and the migration crisis, thanked its audience and photographers: “Your photography is at once inspiring and deeply necessary in this world and we could not be prouder to have been home to some of the most important and moving stories of our time. Thank you.”

Notable Photo Agency Closings

The downturn in assignments also had an impact on photo agencies.

Vaughan Hannigan
In September 2016, rep agency Vaughan Hannigan announced that it would close. The agency, which represented commercial, editorial and fine-art photographers, began a collaboration with Art Department to represent most of its artists going forward. “We continue to see large shifts happening in the creative industry and our boutique model of working with a limited number of unique artists has become challenging to sustain,” founders Thea Vaughan and Bill Hannigan, who continue operating the agencies August and Otto, wrote in a statement. “In looking to the future, we would need a greatly expanded roster in order to meet current market demands. For this reason, we decided to enter into this exciting collaboration with Art Department… which will ensure a smooth transition and long-term success for the artists.”

Getty Reportage
In October 2016, Getty Images Reportage stopped representing photojournalists for editorial assignments. Instead, Getty backed a commercial agency called Verbatim, which represents Reportage’s photographers to commercial clients. According to a report on TIME LightBox, Getty continues to manage Reportage’s Emerging Talent program, which promotes up-and-coming photographers.

“The role of the traditional photo agency has changed dramatically, a direct consequence of the seismic shift in the industry that has seen a reduction in available funding for photographic projects and assignments,” former Getty Images Reportage head Aidan Sullivan told TIME in August. “As my job is to represent the group of extraordinarily talented photographers I work with and find them revenue-generating assignments, it was clear to me that just sitting around and relying on these traditional sources of income was pointless.”

Jed Root
Internationally acclaimed fashion agency Jed Root, which Swiss RPRT Group bought from its founder, Jed Root, in 2015, has ceased operations as of April 2017. The agency, which served high-end clients including GQ, Vogue and others, was home to top photographers, hair and makeup artists, set designers and more. According to reports, the agency could no longer pay its invoices to artists and vendors and could no longer afford to continue operations.

This article is part of a larger series of trends and challenges in the photo industry. To read more articles in the series, check out The Ups/Downs of the Year Past and Year Ahead.