In an interview given to the french blog A l’Oeil, the court appointed administrator of the defunct Corbis Sygma , the french company set up by Corbis after its acquisition of Sygma, declared that he is about to destroy millions of Sygma’s photographs.

You might remember that Corbis, during its heavy acquisition years, purchased the legendary French news photo agency Sygma for about $20 million in the hope that it would give them the reportage-news cachet it was missing so much. After strikes, mismanagement, business bloopers and other incongruity, Corbis forfeited this summer and declared total bankruptcy. They used the pretext of a lost lawsuit by a french photographer as the reason and very quickly closed everything.

You might also remember that they had open an archive facility amidst the cows of Normandy, similar to the underground facility they have in Pennsylvania . All the negatives and originals were transferred there to preserve them for eternity.

Well, apparently, eternity is now partly over.

Maitre Gorrias, legal administrator of the defunct Corbis Sygma and in charge of its dismantlement,   announced on February 8 that after a failed attempt to sell the images at auction he will destroy them. Yes, you read well : destroy.

What are we taking about ? According to Dan Perlet « Global Director of Communications of Corbis » : The Preservation and Access site  contains approximately 50 million photographic elements which about 75% are under the control of Corbis Corporation (photographers who signed a contract with Corbis Corporation) and 25% of photographic elements remaining under the control of liquidator (photographers without a signed contract with Corbis Corporation and is represented by Sygma). We have no precise figures on the number of photographers. 

The images about to be destroyed are the last 25%.  That is 12 million images !

Maitre Gorrias apparently doesn’t have any issue in returning those images to the photographers who took them. However, he doesn’t have the resources to try to find them.

Thus, if you or someone you know might have images in the Sygma archive, please urgently contact :

Maître Stéphane Gorrias SCP BTSG 1 place Boieldieu 75002 Paris – France

and tell him you would like your images back.

More on this story on the excellent french photography blog written by Michel Puech , A ‘L’oeil ( In French)

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