Ah, the source of our freelance pain revealed.....
The last wooden slats in the Paris Metro.
I hear a lot of people talk about how digital is changing everything. The premise being that a lot of newbies have flooded into the market and they are actively stealing the work from seasoned pros. I've been nosing around. Free people aren't stealing our work. I've been meeting with clients and friends in the ad and corporate worlds. They aren't hiring cheaper photographers. They're just not hiring anyone.
Here's supporting evidence. Sales tax revenues in Texas (a state LEAST affected by the depression) has seen double digit declines in the sales tax rate since last March. April 2010 and March 2010 are the first two months since then that have ONLY shown single digit declines in sales tax revenue. Which means spending is still dropping. Only when sales tax rev heads to positive growth will we see any of the peripheral (discretionary spending) markets recover.
Now I see why it feels like a I've been baling a boat with a thimble. The leak is bigger than I thought. But none of this means that cheaper camera dudes are stealing our work. Just ain't none to steal. But it doesn't mean that photography will never be profitable again!