Blue Earth
Glazer's Camera

Photography Profession Expands Along with Unemployment Rates


Despite increasing unemployment rates in the arts industry, the number of photographers in the United States has increased by 32,000 since 2007, according to a report released by the National Endowment for the Arts in March.

According to the release, 193,000 photographers were employed in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to 167,000 employed the year before; at the same time, the total photography workforce hit an all-time high of 205,000 members. With this growth, however, the number of unemployed photographers also increased, doubling from 6,000 in 2007 to 12,000 in 2008.

Although no concrete explanation was offered for the surge in photographers during this high unemployment period, Alexis Spencer Notabartolo, a researcher with the American Federation of Labor, believes it can be attributed to the increasing availability of simple-to-use photography equipment.

"The barrier to enter into [the photography industry] will presumably become lower as the technology becomes more user-friendly" she says. As a result, you see more people who identify as photographers.

The report, which cites data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, includes scientific photographers, aerial photographers and photojournalists.