339 CORBIS CANCELS PRESS CONFERENCE AT PERPIGNAN
September 7, 2000
The following story first appeared on the UK site for editorial photographers as
http://www.epuk.org. This site is open to all photographers and at the moment is
particularly focused on Corbis and its new contract.
Hours before the opening of this year's Visa Pour L'Image in
Perpignan, Corbis have cancelled their planned September 8th
festival press conference.
The cancellation of the press conference, the centrepiece of
Corbis' proposed Perpignan presentation, and listed at the top of
Corbis' agenda of "key opportunities" in their now-notorious Plan
For Perpignan, is yet another blow to the company's credibility as
they stumble from one crisis to the next.
The leaking of the Plan For Perpignan to EPUK and Photo District
News Online has provoked a storm of protest from photographers
outraged at the contents. "They've shot themselves in both feet",
commented one Corbis contributor. "Insane", groaned another. One
observer described it as "a suicide note".
Corbis gave no reason for the cancellation, but industry insiders
had widely predicted that the press conference would turn into yet
another embarassing debacle for the company, with the threat of a
mass walk-out of their contributors during the event.
In another dramatic turn of events, Jean-Pierre Laffont,
co-founder of Sygma, and ousted by Corbis last week, has announced
that he is
joining rival Gamma to set up their proposed New York office. The
move is replete with irony: Sygma was originally established by
dissatisfied Gamma photographers.
Potentially the most serious development for Corbis, however, is
the news that Sygma photographers in Paris and the US have
demanded a complete listing of their archives, picture by picture.
The move is a clear first step by the photographers to reclaiming
archives, dating back some thirty years, from Corbis-Sygma.
The photographers have threatened that if they do not receive the
listing they will take legal action to prevent their images being
moved from the current premises to the new Corbis-Sygma Paris
offices scheduled to open at the end of this month. Whether
Corbis-Sygma is willing, or even able, to comply with the demand
remains to be seen.