ImageState To Close – Again!

Posted on 2/1/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Imagestate Media Ltd and Imagestate Media Partners Ltd has ceased trading through its website and as of February 1, 2012 has entered Administration. The assets of the above companies have been acquired by a new investor. The ongoing business of Imagestate will be managed by Impact Photos. Heritage Images will operate separately.
    (In the UK administration is a procedure under the insolvency laws that functions as a rescue mechanism for insolvent entities and allows them to carry on running their business, similar to bankruptcy in the U.S. The process – an alternative to liquidation – is often known as going into administration.)
There will be a change in the management structure but familiar faces will remain. For further information please contact vasbez@vzntrfgngr.pbz.

Impact Photos web address is On their site are links to the ImageState and the Heritage Images collections. The mailing address of these companies is: Impact Photos, Clerks Court, 18-20 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3AU, United Kingdom. Telephone at: +44(0) 20 7251 7100 or the sales line at  0800 436 867. Angela Davies can be contacted by email at:natryn.qnivrf@urevgntr-vzntrf.pbz.
    In a statement released to the press the ImageState managers said, “The decline in the traditional stock photo business and increased competition on price in the market place has resulted in the erosion of sales volume and reduced our ability to compete effectively as a general stock library.

    “The new investors see future opportunities to develop the existing platform and provide more competitive offerings in specialist areas for all our customers moving forward.

    “The new organization looks forward to working with its content partners, clients and its international network of agents.”

Again: How Many Times?

U.S. photographers represented by the Washington, DC based stock agency Uniphoto in the 1980s will remember that Uniphoto became over extended in the early 1990s. It barely had enough cash to pay salaries and rent, and no money to pay the royalties owed to the photographers whose images they licensed. As a result Uniphoto transferred ownership of the company to the UK stock agency Pictor. Pictor agreed to pay photographers, over a period of years, a small percentage of the monies they were owed, and to begin paying the contractually agreed to royalties on future sales.

Initially, Pictor honored the agreement, but after a few years photographers discovered that they were not being paid all of the royalties owed. Pictor was eventually forced to sell its assets to ImageState whose two largest shareholders were Sir John Beckwith and Mike Luckwell. Beckwith poured several million pounds into the company and eventually bought out Luckwell. But, by 2006 the company was losing so much money that it entered Administration.

The Joint Administrators then entered into an agreement with Sheldon Marshall, Executive Chairman of Heritage Image Partners to purchase the remaining holdings of ImageState (Europe). The agreement transferred debts of approximately £438,000 of Imagestate receivables to Heritage Partners. Hertitage agreed to remit 50% of all monies realized and provided for £500,000 to be paid in three installments. The first installment of £200,000 was paid on the signing of the agreement on 16 May 2006.

A significant percentage of the licensing revenue due ImageState (and before them Pictor) was generated by agencies that represented ImageState’s images in other parts of the world. ImageState also represented images belonging to many of these companies in the UK.
According to a number of sources once Marshall took over all payment of royalties for sales made in the UK stopped. This could have been because none of the images were being licensed, but many of these sources claim they have evidence that, in fact, their images have been used and should have been generating royalties. As far as we know no one has copies of actual invoices that would prove this.
Nevertheless, since the foreign agents were no longer receiving the monies they feel they are due they stopped submitting royalty payments to the UK for any of the images they licensed. ImageState’s major source of revenue dried up. Meanwhile, what little revenue ImageState received was used to keep the sales operation running. Evidently, there was nothing left to pay contributors their share.

There was little any of the parties could do to change the situation because the cost of litigation across international borders would far exceed any likely recovery. Film images, some shot in the 1980s, and digital files are still available in the UK and other countries around the world. Some are undoubtedly being licensed. Most of the photographers who used to supply images to the company have given up and moved on to something else.

For the new ImageState owners the big question is whether they can do anything to encourage more licensing of their ImageState images outside of the UK and whether they can collect any of the monies owed.

Sources indicate that Sheldon Marshall is now operating a business with one of his sons that arranges for golf tours in Europe and the U.S.

For more background check the following articles.

Imagestate Scheduled for Dissolution (2006)

ImageState Update (Dec. 2006)

Sloppy Bookkeeping: The Uniphoto Experience

Copyright © 2012 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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, 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:  


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