Photography, stock agency and Rock & Roll
OK. I admit! I’m possesed. I’m thinking so intensively about on line archiving, stock agencies, new technologies, … that it’s getting already annoying. But I think I’m getting somewhere. I think I know what’s the course I’ll most likely will take. I’m analyzing role that agency or an agent had in the past and what role does it have in the present and trying to draw a conclusion what will be the trend in the future.
In the past communication took awful lot of time and between a busy photographer and a client there was necessary to have an agent or agency. Concerning stock agency I remember in year 2002 when Bojan Brecelj was taking a huge suitcase of his slides to Corbis London and they edit, scanned and keyword them and then they include them in Corbis stock. I was told by Arne Hodalič that when he first approached Corbis (I reckon it was around year 2000) they did all the job digitalizing his images and payed him a four number fee in advance just to sign a contract with them.
Now days photographer needs to do scanning, retouching, digitalizing, keywording, captioning, and all the dirty work and agency is selling the pictures AND FOR THAT THEY TAKE AT LEAST 50%!!!
I came to a conclusion that this times are ending. Three loudest symptoms that photography market is changing dramatically are Istock, flickr and google. Istock shows that you can earn very good income by selling cheap in great quantities, flickr shows us how photographers and viewers are grouping in communities and with google the accessibility of pictures was never easier.
I’ll draw a conclusion immediately. I think that Digital RailRoad is the future. Photographer stills does all the dirty work keywording, captioning and digitalizing his pictures (as he/she would have to do it anyway), he pays a rent for an online archive of $50. That’s great idea, because no amateur would pay 50$ monthly so only professionals are left. Photographer market his work as he would normally do and since his archive is on line and it is in a community of professional photographers, a client would find his/hers pictures and buy it. THE CRUCIAL PART IS THAT THERE IS NO AGENT TO TAKE 50%, SO CLIENT WOULD PAY MUCH LESS AND PHOTOGRAPHER WOULD GET MUCH MORE FOR A PICTURE!
The problem is that photographer still didn’t get that. As photoeditor of Mladina weekly I’m buying regularly pictures from reuters for 25$ and why should I buy a picture of Obama for 350$ if I can get it for 25$. Actually recently I had to buy a picture of a foreign capital to illustrate an article on a certain book. I knew that a very good Slovenian photographer was photographing there and I called him/her and asked him/her if he/she would sell a plain picture of a town for 22EUR, but he/she got quite upset that this is way too low prize.
Anyhow I’m wasted and here are my brainstorming sketches if you’re interested in my career development.
PS: Ivan wrote a good article on Digital RailRoad.