Barely waiting for the ashes of the CEPIC congress to cool down, Istockphoto descended on the island of Malta with a vengeance. In a quite ironical move, the microstock giant has picked the same location than the commercial stock industry association. The difference is that while one was only there to blabber endlessly about photography, the other supplied an opportunity for its contributors to mingle with each other and produce more images. Same place, same industry, two different approach.
Now, most people would react and think : all these photographers are shooting the same thing. What is the purpose? Well, those who have attended the Cepic congress before know that most of the agencies who participate in the congress also keep on trading the same images over and over : You represent me, I represent you, this guy represent us, we represent him, we all represent each other. One day, an agency will end up representing its own work without even knowing it, as it will come back through various representation under a different brand name.
So Istock has thousands of photographers shooting the same thing while traditional stock agency each all represent each other ad nausea. what is the difference ? As we know, volume, quantity, range, depth, millions are the buzz words of this industry, quickly followed by cutting edge, fast search, new website (always a new website), new servers, bigger files.
It used to be that grandad of this industry, Image Bank , claimed high and loud, with proudness and defiance, as badges of honor, the names of the photographers they represented . Today some Istock photographer are better known then any in the traditional world, most certainly the RF world. Lisa Gagne, Yuri Arcurs are better known than any JupiterImage photographers. Go ahead, name one…No, Banastock is NOT a photographer.
So who will criticize Istock for throwing a contributor lovefest in Malta? Which commercial stock agency will dare throw the first stone, especially knowing that none have done anything equivalent. They throw sub agents lovefest, a la self declared king of European stock, Alfonso Guieterrez of Age fotostock. Does any RM agency even know their photographers anymore ? I know RF do not, as they rebrand all their images under a theme rather than photographer. RF photo production reminds me of surrogate mothers. You pay someone to have your baby and then you never see them again.
Istock has innovated by creating a market for microstock . It has, however, not lost touch with who the creators are, probably because its founder was an ignored commercial stock photographer before. Lesson learned.
More on Malta Istock lovefest here