Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer catches heat for comments about Flickr and professional photographers


posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 5:16 PM EST


Yahoo made big news yesterday when it announced it had purchased photo blogging platform Tumblr for $1.1 billion, and then unveiled a totally revamped Flickr photo sharing service, which includes 1TB of free storage for users. But it's what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said during a discussion about the new Flickr that has made even bigger news with professional photographers today. It's also made some of them quite upset.

We touched on the quote in a story earlier today about changes to Flickr but the controversy seems to have gathered steam on social networking sites as Mayer's comments get passed around, and slightly altered, like a giant game of telephone.

We've embedded a video of the event below where Mayer made the comments, which some say suggest she doesn't believe professional photographers exist anymore now that digital cameras have become ubiquitous.

(UPDATE: Mayer has taken to Twitter to apologize for her controverisal remarks. Read what she tweeted here.)

The quote, which we've transcribed below, comes at the 46:18 mark of the video, and is in response to a question about the future of the old Flickr Pro account service, which is now being phased out with the redesign. (We suggest you watch from the 45:30 mark to get the full context.)

"There's no such thing as Flickr Pro because today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there's no such thing, really, as professional photographers when there's everything that's professional photographers. Certainly there's varying levels of skills but we didn't want to have a Flickr Pro anymore. We wanted everyone to have professional quality photo space and sharing." - Marissa Mayer, May 2013

As we noted in our previous story, Mayer is obviously speaking quickly and extemporaneously, and seems to be referring more to the fact that everyone needs large amounts of online image storage and high quality photo sharing these days, not just professionals. But some photographers don't see it that way, taking it as something of a "Freudian slip" by Mayer that pros are no longer wanted on the redesigned Flickr service.

We've contacted Flickr for a clarification of Mayer's comments but have not yet heard back.

What do you think? Are you bothered by Mayer's comments concerning professional photographers and Flickr or willing to shrug it off as an off-the-cuff remark that's been misinterpreted?  Watch the video below and sound off in the comments.