Random Thoughts 67

Posted on 9/22/2003 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



September 22, 2003

Corbis Partners with Fratelli Alinari

Corbis is partnering with the Italian agency Fratelli Alinari, one of Europe's foremost
photographic archives. Under the terms of this agreement, Corbis will offer thousands
of images from the Alinari archive, increasing access to world-class fine art and
historical photography.

Whether it is European masterpieces by artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci,
and Raphael, or historical 19th Century photography from Italy and Europe, thousands of
rare and exclusive Alinari images are now available for licensing at Corbis.
Additionally, Corbis and Alinari plan to offer educational institutions and
organizations the ability to research and use material from both of their vast
collections. Employing a co-branded web site offering images from both archives, the
program is designed to expedite retrieval of images needed by students and teachers for
study outlines, exams, reports, research papers, dissertations and school

Ressmeyer Moves to RGB Labs

Roger Ressmeyer has left Getty Images and joined RGB Labs as Vice President, Creative
Direction & Programming. He will oversee the development of new programming galleries
within the GalleryPlayer service, which allows high-resolution, digital, museum quality
art and photographic imagery to be viewed on plasma or flat-panel displays. Ressmeyer
joins an impressive management team of successful entrepreneurs from Amazon.com,
aQuantive, ImageX, Microsoft, and Sega, who will lead the company as it launches its
technology and services to commercial clients.

At Getty Images, Ressmeyer held positions of vice president, New Revenues, Artist
Relations and Strategy & Corporate Development over the past four years. Prior to
that, Roger worked for three years at Corbis Corporation developing visual content
acquisition and distribution strategies, as well as quality standards for digital

Ressmeyer will be missed by Getty Images photographers, particularly those based in the
U.S. Having entered the industry as a photographer, he has and intimate understanding
of photographer's needs and was able to provide a perspective that helped those at the
highest levels of Getty management to better understand photographer issues. His counsel was
critical in solving many of the photographer related problems, and getting photographers
a somewhat better
deal, during the integration of the separate brands. He was a driving force behind the
development of Photographer's Choice.

There is no indication, at present, that anyone with photographer credentials
approaching those of Ressmeyer's will be given such a high and influential position at
Getty Images in the future.

"As a pioneer in the digital imagery industry, we welcome Roger Ressmeyer's creative
talents, guidance and expertise to our executive team as we architect a new means for
companies to visually transform their surroundings," said Scott Lipsky, Founder and
President, RGB Labs. "Roger's leadership and creativity will play a central role in RGB
Labs' strategy to deliver fresh and compelling still imagery to flat-panel displays
within commercial environments."

Ressmeyer began his career as a professional photographer, where his diverse subjects
have included musicians, authors, earthquakes, and volcanoes. However, his chronicling
of the heavens and human endeavors in space remains the work for which he is best known
and to which he brings unparalleled originality and beauty. Roger's frequent clients
included Life, Time, Newsweek, Discover, Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine,
Stern and Geo. For more than eight years, Roger photographed feature stories for
National Geographic Magazine, where he produced a breathtaking body of award-winning
work. For the first ten years of his career, Roger photographed hundreds of rock stars,
writers, poets, politicians, scientists, philosophers and business leaders. His work
appeared on record albums and book jackets, and in national publications, such as
People Weekly and Rolling Stone.

"I am delighted to be joining the outstanding executive team at RGB Labs," said
Ressmeyer. "As corporations and consumer-facing businesses discover GalleryPlayer's
ability to create unique, customized, artistic surroundings, RGB Labs is poised to
shape the future of digital imagery as it is experienced in public spaces. RGB Labs has
a timely and inspired vision, as well as phenomenal technological expertise. I'm
thrilled to be a part of this next chapter of digital imagery history."

RGB Labs is the developer of GalleryPlayer, a visual programming service that
transforms commercial environments by delivering high-resolution, museum quality art
and photography to plasma or flat-panel displays through four galleries - Fine Art,
Contemporary, Photography, and Eclectic, each containing an ever-changing collection of
vivid images. More information may be found at:
www.galleryplayer.com .

Media Bakery Offers RF Assignment Services

Media Bakery ( www.mediabakery.com ) has launched
a RF assignment service that offers
custom production shoots at price points that are comparable to purchasing Royalty Free

Media Bakery will offer complete production solutions in the mediums of Photography,
Illustration, and Footage. Every request for assignment is reviewed and bid on for
customers to consider.

Only after a full understanding of the client's creative needs, do Media Bakery
producers match the request to a matching contracted royalty free artist. Media Bakery
will deliver original transparency, tape, or file elements directly through Media
Bakery's vast network of Royalty Free creative artists. Clients who source this
service from Media Bakery can expect turn around in 3 to 5 business days. Clients will
have a 3 month exclusive on the content before they are required to return the elements
to enter into the company's own Royalty Free product line.

"There's just no way every creative idea can exist in a stock library. So to further
support our budget conscious customers, we will now work directly with their story
board concepts and image ideas to provide affordable production solutions. In our
industry, it's simply unheard of to make such production solutions available, but it
simultaneously demonstrates the level of customer service and commitment to long
lasting relationships Media Bakery offers," said Chad Newell, chief executive officer
of Media Bakery.

Media Bakery also distributes Royalty Free Photography, Illustration, Footage, Audio,
Fonts, Flash, 3D Elements, and Plug-ins.

Media Bakery features a large collection of well known Royalty Free companies such as
Adobe, Alienskin Software, Artbeats Film Library, Artville, Bitsream, BlinkStock,
BlueMoon Stock, Brand X Pictures, Cakewalk, Corbis, Digital Vision, Dosch Design,
Eyewire, Eyeland Studio, GraphicScene, ImageDJ, Image100, Image Source, ImageState,
killersound, The Music Bakery, Photodisc, Royalty Free Music, Rubberball Productions,
Sound Ideas, Stockbyte, Triangle Images, Videometry, and dozens of other content
publishers and suppliers. Media Bakery is also increasing its roster by adding several
new publishers every month. Media Bakery prides itself on the unique collections of
boutique Royalty Free Photos, Footage, and Music brands it carries.

For more on the Assignment Services model see the story on OnRequest Images in
Random Thoughts
574 , and
the SAA's response in story
575 .

Editors Note: (Could this new strategy be "unheard of" in the stock photo
industry because it is totally uneconomic for the image producers??)

Creative Input and Advice for Photographers

Photographers with the larger agencies used to have lots of creative interaction with
their art directors as they developed images, but many report that this method of
working seems to be disappearing.

The Creative departments would feed the photographer sketches and tear sheets for
consideration. Then there would be back and forth discussions. Often the photographer
would produce some images that would be critiqued by the art director and then the
photographer would make modifications. Once an image was accepted it would move rather
quickly into the distribution channels.

Over a period of years it started to take longer to get feedback and projects that were
once completed in less than a month now take six months or more. Fewer images are
accepted. Photographers have more of a feeling of flying blind.

Some photographers hear that the major companies are not interested in working with
individual photographers anymore because it is too much work and cost for each new
picture accepted. The trend for major portals seems to be to get new images from
big production teams or 3rd party suppliers.

Agencies that are looking to 3rd party suppliers for some of their material need pay
particular attention to their relationships with existing photographers if they expect
to maintain that source of supply as well. Otherwise they are likely to see a major
decline in their previous source of supply.

Wonderfile Offer Visual Search

Wonderfile ( www.wonderfile.com ) has paired
keyword and visual searching to create a
powerful search environment for their clients using the SimSearch technology developed
by Idee Inc. Clients initiate their search with keywords, then select an image of
interest to explore the Wonderfile collections using SimSearch.

Wonderfile is owned by Masterfile Corporation and is one of the largest RF image
portals in the world, representing more than 40 different collections.

SimSearch uses Espion Visual Search technology to identify images visually similar to
the selected image and presents them to the client, sorted by degree of similarity.
Searching on a "reference" image is similar in concept to searching on a keyword, but
reference images capture the client's purpose more completely and enable them to search
more effectively.

"Once we understood the potential of Idee's technology in the context of our own
business requirements, we made it a priority to integrate it as quickly as possible",
said John McDonald, Vice President, Masterfile/Wonderfile Corporation. "Idee has
delivered reliable working technology that scaled to our requirements. We are delighted
with the initial results and we already have some new ideas on how to extend the
technology even further. There is no doubt that this technology defines the way
everyone will search for images in the future."

"We are extremely pleased and proud that Wonderfile selected Espion as its visual
search solution and Idee as its development partner", commented Leila Boujnane, Chief
Executive Officer at Idee Inc. "We have invested many person-years of research and
development into visual search technology but it takes someone with a vision like
John's to make it a commercial reality".

New Developments in Zefa/Masterfile Alliance

Zefa visual media ( www.zefa.de ) has just added
over 80,000 new Masterfile pictures to
its web site. The images are available to zefa clients in Germany and Italy. Recently,
Masterfile has also integrated all the zefa images in its collection into the default
search. Previously, if users wanted to see the zefa images on the Masterfile site they
had to do a separate search. Now, they have the choice of searching for either
Masterfile or zefa image, but the default offering is to search for both.

Indications throughout the industry are that in over 80% of the cases customers tend
to use the default search, whatever it may be, even when they have options to search
separate brands, or sub-sets of the total collection.

Move To Digital Production

IDC, a leading provider of global market intelligence on the information technology and
telecommunications industries, has reported that for the first time consumers are
taking more snapshots with digital equipment than they are shooting with film.

If you think digital is taking over the professional business too rapidly, consider
what it is doing to the amateur market. If you are not shooting digital you are
anachronism. If you walk into a shoot with a film camera consider that your customers
and your subjects are shooting their home snapshots with digital.

Photographers can take some solace in the fact that Kodak is as far behind the times as
they are, but do photographers want to run their businesses like Kodak runs theirs?

While consumers are snapping more photos than ever before, Kodak's stock is tanking and
is down 23% making them the worst performer among 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial
average and one of the 10 worst in the Standard and Poor's 500. The company's profits
plunged 60% in the second quarter and it plans to cut 6,000 jobs this year.

Worldwide, consumers are expected to buy 45 million digital cameras this year, up from
25 million in 2002. Lexar's stock has gained 99% this year. For those who are
still shooting film, Lexar produces Compact Flash Cards for storage of images produced
with digital cameras.

Copyright © 2003 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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