Bridgeman Pits Artwork Against Creative Stock

Posted on 4/11/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Bridgeman Art Library has launched an online conceptual image gallery that targets the core stock-buying market of advertising, media and design creatives. The London-based fine art and archival specialist invites art directors, designers and photo editors to "select powerful, non-clichéd images for commercial use... rather than having to use in-house artists or stock photography."

The company says it is responding to increasing demand, particularly from marketers that need to visually address sensitive or taboo issues. For example, Bridgeman recently provided images to advertising creatives working on an obesity drug campaign and to medical publications, which needed to illustrate articles on palliative care and geriatric medicine. Bridgeman contends that with difficult subjects, works of art can deliver a message better than a photograph.

Library chairman Harriet Bridgeman also thinks that companies overuse general stock photography and rely on the same image providers. "This combination leads to a dumbing-down of the message when it could be so much more evocative, relevant and penetrating," she adds.

The Bridgeman Art Library represents artists, galleries and museums, generating the latter close to £1.5 million per year in image-licensing royalties. The 35-year-old company's online inventory offers 300,000 online images and 750,000 historical photographs.

The library's staff of art historians have created eight conceptual image galleries. These categorize works of art under popular themes, such as dishonesty, rights and responsibilities, spirituality, the environment and justice. A photo of Michelangelo's "Dying Slave" is on offer in the "strength" category, along with works by van Gogh and Picasso in "despair." All images require additional clearance for commercial use.

Separately, Lady Bridgeman recently went on record opposing a new tax scheme, which may cost U.K. museums a significant source income and have additional cultural repercussions.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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