Thirty years ago the very nature of photography changed. A completely new paradigm emerged and was installed in less than a decade. The change was radical and complete. The photographic community abandoned everything I knew as photographic art and substituted another new set of beliefs. In one fell swoop, Modernism was out and Post-Modernism was in.
By the middle sixties, photography, for the first time, had become profitable. With money available, new galleries opened. I was living in New York City when Lee Witkin opened the Witkin Gallery, and it was an instant success. There was so much material available it was just flying off the walls to a group of collectors looking for anything new that might turn a profit. New collectors wanted work no one else had, which was selling at prices more reasonable than the cost of paintings.
Photographers began to make money from their work. More galleries opened. Photography was now seen as an art form and a new wave of critics writing for major newspapers gave it their imprimatur. Schools and universities offered courses and even degrees, often opening whole new departments devoted to the art of photography. The great photographers were able to find jobs teaching, often starting departments in major universities. In a few short years what we know today as photographic education and photo collecting was firmly in place. The pace was mind-bending. Vintage photography became more difficult to find and more costly. By the middle seventies, galleries were looking for new work and universities were graduating class after class of degreed photographers.
Galleries latched onto these young stallions, promoted their work and raved about them as the new masters. These young graduates began to teach. New organizations sprang up, like the Society for Photographic Education, where thousands of young teachers would come to conferences to network, share work, search out galleries, and look for teaching jobs.