Corbis Exhibits Sygma's Work, Pushes Preservation Initiative

Posted on 10/19/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

This week, Corbis hosted a one-night invitation-only exhibition of select works from the renowned collection of photojournalism agency Sygma, which has been owned by Corbis since 1999.

The London event displayed iconic archival images, including intimate portraits of Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Dylan and Nelson Mandela, war images from Chechnya, Rwanda and the Persian Gulf and September 11 photographs of the World Trade Center.

Though two Sygma photographers, Richard Smith and Orde Eliasson, attended the exhibit, Corbis' relationship with the agency's photographers has been marked by controversy. Many Sygma shooters quit within the first year of Corbis management; others were let go. Differences between corporate cultures and employment laws of Sygma's native France and the U.S. resulted in employee strikes, disputes of copyright ownership and lawsuits.

Since 2004, Corbis has devoted significant resources to preserving the historic image collection. The Sygma Preservation Initiative will move 50 million slides, negatives, prints and contact sheets to a new, climate-controlled, fire-safe and secure home near Paris. Corbis is working with an archiving and document management specialist Locarchives on building the new facility. The new home will protect the collection and make it more accessible to the public for in-person visits.

Work to reorganize the collection, including digitizing images and reclassifying them by photographer rather than by theme, has been ongoing since 2005. More than 55,000 pictures have been digitized, bringing the size of the online Sygma offering to 800,000 images. Corbis is also working to negotiate agreements with more than 10,000 photographers who have contributed to the collection and still own the images. This process means that image owners can participate in the archiving and commercial development of their works.

Regrettably, some of the Sygma archive has already been lost. In 2005, Corbis settled with Sygma photographer Arthur Grace, whose lawsuit alleged that thousands of his images were lost or damaged. At the time, Corbis executives admitted to poor inventory practices and chose to settle the matter. The company's multimillion dollar initiative will ensure that the collection is preserved for posterity.

Copyright © 2007 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


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff