Yes, but how many people are doing serious photography with cell phone cameras? Do you think it's fair to say that an eight year old with a cell phone camera can produce better photographs than a professional with a high end DSLR, medium format digital back, or large format film camera? Do you agree with the implication that digital sensors somehow make the skill of the photographer irrelevant?
You miss my point. The cell phone and the eight year old are simply hyperbole.
It doesn't matter how many people are doing serious photography with cell phone cameras. The original quote wasn't talking about serious photography -- it was talking about making money from photography
, a.k.a. photography as a profession. These are very different things. If clients are happy buying pictures from a cell phone camera, and paying $30 to use them, or getting them free from Flickr, it doesn't really matter how "serious" the photographer is, it just becomes that much more difficult to make a living.
In economic terms, digital imaging has removed some major barriers to entry from the photography market. One no longer needs to know how to expose transparency film. One no longer needs to convince a major stock agency to take you on as a photographer (which required a solid portfolio and shooting skills.) Shooting with a p+s camera and uploading to a public web site is enough (though it helps if you mark your photos with the Creative Commons license.) In many cases, the skill of the photographer is
irrelevant -- if an art director needs a basic photo of the Taj Mahal, why in the world would they pay a professional fee for it??
As I said above, this is true for some segments of the industry, partly true for others, and not true at all for a lucky few. For example, how many professional, highly skilled and experienced wedding photographers are happy with the current condition of the market? What about magazine photographers? Stock photographers? Some of the problems with the photo industry are caused by other economic issues (the furniture photo market in North Carolina, for example, has been hurt by the loss of manufacturing to overseas plants, and the stock photo business has changed dramatically as it consolidated into a few very large companies.) Some are self-inflicted. But many of the changes in the photo industry are a result of the move to high quality digital imaging.