Image Source Highlights Fair-Trade Collection in Promotional Catalog

Posted on 6/20/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

London-based royalty-free producer Image Source has published Sneak Preview, a promotional catalog featuring a selection of the latest images added to its collection. Alongside its own production, the company is prominently featuring fair-trade brand World Portraits.

Recently, Image Source has focused on digital media to promote its content. According to company founder and CEO Christina Vaughan, this strategy achieved two goals: to focus on a growing number of online customers and to reduce the company's carbon footprint. In contrast, Sneak Preview demonstrates how the Image Source offering works in print.

Sneak Preview focuses entirely on portraits. "People genuinely represent who we are - direct, frank, communicative, international, emotive and emotional," explained Vaughan. Commercially styled Image Source photographs are sharply contrasted with World Portraits imagery, shot entirely in non-Western countries.

The fair-trade brand distinguishes itself by sharing revenues with its Third World photo subjects. In addition to model releases, World Portraits photographers and their subjects execute contracts that detail precise financial arrangements and banking details. Such contracts are prepared and translated into local languages prior to the shoot. As the people photographed are not professional models, the collection has a distinctive and realistic feel, with no makeup, props or other styling typical to commercial stock productions. Majority World, a collective that champions the cause of indigenous photographers, is among World Portraits contributors.

Image Source has represented World Portraits since April, when it announced a worldwide exclusive for the brand's 3,500 images. "The advertising industry is actively pursuing the concept of corporate and social responsibility," said Vaughan. "World Portraits takes this one step further. Rather like organic produce, where each ingredient needs to be certified as organic, World Portraits provides the building blocks of socially-responsible campaign," she added.

Vaughan believes this makes a difference to Image Source clients. From a broader perspective, she considers image buyers to be either trendsetters or early adopters. In addition to expecting a positive response to the World Portraits offering, Vaughan hopes that raising awareness of fair trade and worldwide equality among this audience can help it reach other segments of the business and general population.

At the same time, Vaughan is sharply focused on the more traditional needs of the commercial market. She sees tough economic times as an opportunity for high-end royalty-free content: "Assignment budgets are tight, so top advertising agency are finding that they can find assignment-quality imagery at Image Source." With a 25% price hike, this quality now comes at a premium; however, it is still a long way from the cost of commissioning a shoot.

Despite reports of cannibalization, declining sales and economic slowdowns in the world's top economies, Vaughan remains optimistic about the business of stock licensing. In addition to pursuing customers forced to downgrade from assignment to stock, she sees the image overload as presenting yet another opportunity. She feels that much of the current imagery overwhelms buyers with issues related to improperly executed model or property releases, as well as uncertainty of copyright ownership. Image Source offers a trusted alternative.

Though she will not reveal details, Vaughan said Image Source is working on some exciting new projects that play to the company's strengths. She sees her company as perfectly positioned to capitalize on market conditions.

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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