Recession got you down? This beautiful John Mayer photo was snapped by a 22-year-old retail employee named Erin Horgan. And not only did it make her back the grand she spent buying a ticket for the ticket for the John Mayer Caribbean cruise, it made her the latest member of the "citizen paparazzi" class rising up and snapping work from the hands of lazy professionals like Nick Ut. You can join this class, fellow Americans! Agencies like Buzz Foto, Scoopt and Mr. Paparazzi "are among those that increasingly encourage amateurs and young photographers to send in their findings." Work from home, and make anywhere between 40 and 60% of the sale price of your photos! "This is not rocket science," agency owner Brad Elterman tells today's Wall Street Journal. "Everyone who has a digital camera is a potential correspondent...that is the future, without a doubt." What good news for the American workforce!

Just last year, the x17 agency found itself slammed with allegations that it was trafficking skilled illegal immigrants into Los Angeles and condemning them to lives of indentured servitude trailing the likes of Vanessa Minnilo and Spencer Pratt. Three years ago I personally spent some time with an elite cadre of Bauer-Griffin photographers, nearly all of whom were foreigners who had honed their skills snapping pictures of wars and things but left that business because, you know, there's no money in it. So what do our amateurs have going for them?

Well duh! It's the fact that our youth has been immersed from a tender age in American celebrity culture, exposed to a near limitless array of celebrities on a few hundred cable channels in what amounts, for the average American, not only to the formation of a crippling addiction that practically assures a recession-proof market, but millions of hours of free job training! You knew there had to be a silver lining somewhere.

The Rise Of The "Citizen Paparazzi" [WSJ]