Web 2.0 and beyond is all about empowering the consumer. It is no longer a viable business to make a product and sell it. These days, you have to let your customers act upon it to make it more personal. Technology allows this and as we have seen with Nike and it’s sneakers, it is highly successful. After all, we are individuals and we like our product to reflect us, and our taste.
Enter publisher and photographer of a “A Day in the Life ” legend, Rick Smolan. He is releasing the “Time Capsule” book on Obama that lets you add your own images. Along with those of respected professional, you can now have a coffe table book that also contains your own photographs and experience. You can also add some of your own text. Every issue becomes exclusive to you.
More explanation here :
This is only the beginning of a new trend we have already seen with the MINE experiment from Time Inc. More and more, a bit like Google for news, one will be able to customize what they want to see, read or purchase. Not only customize, but personalized so that the user/buyer becomes part of the experience. An active consumer. A prosumer.
This will affect how images will be licensed in the future as, the more we seen on demand publications, the more a photo agency or photogrpaher will have to adapt its business to follow. Websites will not longer be a repository of stock images to be used by pro researchers, but accessible by anyone that would prefer to customize their edition.
An example : I read Time magazine and I am an avid fan of the Aurora news photographers. I could choose to have the whole issue illustrated by that agencies photographers only. or mix and match with multiple sources of your liking . The same could be done with websites, books, or anything using photographs. Of course, I could decide to have only Flickr images.
This will mean the end of monopolistic distribution channels for photography and instead of trying to seduce photo editors, Photo agencies will have to seduce the public directly.
This is exciting times. See and purchase the Obama Time Capsule here.