How a College Student, Offering Creative Commons Licensed Photos, Has Become a Leading Political Photographer in the US

Gage Skidmore is a 22 year old accounting student at Arizona Sate University. He is also a photographer of political figures in the US (that's his image of Donald Trump), whose photos are pervasive on the internet.

Gage Skidmore has taken photos of all the presidential contenders and many celebrities - and traditional journalists aren't entirely happy about the way Gage Skidmore is changing the game:

"Skidmore is a paradigmatic example of the pro-am media ecosystem fostered by the Internet — a professional-level photographer without the means or the interest to become part of the traditional journalistic system."

How did this happen?

As a teenager, too young to drive, and "[a] Ron Paul supporter, [Gage Skidmore] began photographing politicians when he was living in Terre Haute, Indiana, attending events held by Rand Paul during his successful 2010 Senate run in Kentucky. [Then, in 2012] Skidmore also showed up at stops on the presidential campaign trail in order to see Ron Paul and took photos of other prominent Republicans while he was there." 

From there, Gage Skidmore has continued to take pictures at political events and also at celebrity-rich events, like Comic-Con.

Why are Gage Skidmore's photos so frequently used? 

As described in a Jan. 22, 2016 post to priceonomics, "all of his images are filed under Creative Commons. That is, they are 100% free to use - even commercially - so long as attribution is given."

The Nieman Lab covered Gage Skidmore's growing ubiquity back in 2012, and the interview he gave that Harvard University based journalism foundation was greeted with anger from many professional photographers and their families. A typical comment reads: "Of course bloggers and mainstream news orgs want to use high-quality photos for free. Skidmore not only is undercutting professional photographers, but he's eliminating the need for news outlets to pay for his work in the future."

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