I am now a retired magazine photographer/writer who started in Vancouver, BC in 1977. Photography as we knew it was financed by the money of previously money-making magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Most of the advances in the quality and exploration of photographs came from art directors who pushed photographers. There was competition between one magazine or newspaper and another.
I was sent, all expenses paid to Europe, the US and South America. That would not happen now. I remember at a photographers’ meeting in the late 80s when one of us said, “If you decide on selling for stock agencies you will never travel to Paris again.” He was right.
One of the Holy Grails of photography was (and is?) for me the recognizable personal style. A lot of it depended on a knowledge of lighting. Magazines had lots of portraits. Photo magazines now are a parade of nature, wildlife, street grabshots. Lighting is virtually gone. How many more sunset city scenes are we willing to see? From what I see it seems that millions more will be clicked.
There are still a few magazine willing to pay a good photographer good money. Witness the excellence of any of the NY Times Sunday Magazines.
Unfortunately in this 21st century the best price is free.