NY Times Highlights Instagrammer Working For Met, Other Institutions, For Free

There was an article in the Art & Design section of the New York Times yesterday highlighting the social media photography that an Instagrammer, Dave Krugman, is doing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library and other cultural institutions in exchange for special access.

The article is full of language that suggests it’s Mr. Krugman’s great privilege to work for these institutions for free. “The Metropolitan Museum, for instance, allowed Mr. Krugman and his band of Instagram stars into its halls outside of normal business hours,” the author writes. She also quotes Krugman’s own post thanking the Met for the “opportunity.”

These are institutions with resources to pay for the social media communications work they do. Krugman isn’t a photographer by trade, he’s a retoucher, the article says. But he’s allowing these institutions to pay what the market will bear for this work: zero.

It would be interesting to know what the photographers and photo editors on the New York Times‘s staff think of this article devaluing the work of photographers.

“With his growing reputation, Mr. Krugman has begun thinking about charging money for his Instagram services,” the article concludes. Will these venerable and wealthy institutions pay, though, or will they just hire the next person with a big Instagram following who doesn’t know enough about the business of advertising and communications to charge for his or her work?

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5 Responses to “NY Times Highlights Instagrammer Working For Met, Other Institutions, For Free”

  1. PDNPulse » NY Times Highlights Instagrammer Working For Met, Other Institutions, For Free – The Click Says:

    […] NY Times Highlights Instagrammer Working For Met, Other Institutions, For Free […]

  2. Mark Kalan Says:


  3. NE Says:

    He is contacting these institutions for his services not him contacting them so should he get paid? He isn’t on their social media posting his work therefore why should he commensated? There are plenty of instagrammers who have high volumes of follwers doing the same not looking any type of spotlight.

  4. NY Occasions Highlights Instagrammer Working For Met, Different Establishments, For Free | JanNews Blog Says:

    […] submit NY Times Highlights Instagrammer Working For Met, Other Institutions, For Free appeared first on […]

  5. Ed White Says:

    After reading the article, I think you’re reading the situation all wrong. For one, nothing here says Krugman is letting the cultural institutions post his photos on their accounts, rather he is posting photos to his own account and encouraging people to follow the accounts of cultural institutions. This is very savvy for two reasons:

    1) It establishes Dave’s account as a place where followers can see unique and unusual things that other people may not have access to, helping him build his following and reputation.

    2) By building up the Instagram accounts of these cultural institutions, he’s creating a market for himself and others. It’s easy to ignore a social media account with a small following, but letting a large account with active followers (a valuable marketing channel) atrophy will probably require some explaining to bosses. As the pressure to not mess up increases, so does the willingness to pay for content.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Krugman convinced someone at the NYTimes to write this article *for* him so he could showcase his previous successes (after all, real world success is the best resume) and suggest that his services are up for sale. That last paragraph screams of a demurring journalist making a concession to help her source after getting an interesting culture story.

    Yeah, maybe it’s kind of a grey area since I’m sure the museum *could* have paid for the (until that point unproven) consulting and launch services, but the market being what it is, I don’t think this was an unfair exchange.