Hear that silence ? It is the industry without Getty Images quarterly report. No more pseudo analysis by wannabee traders, no more speculations, no more elaborate calculations that result in insane conclusions. It’s the peaceful sound of the industry looking at pictures again, and not crushing numbers anymore.
It’s the silence of the eyes, where photography speaks for itself, finally freed from its numerical chains. It is the reassuring silence of professional eyes looking at content, rather than excel spreadsheets. Ten years of brutal despotism by numbers finally over. Getty becoming private is the best turn this industry could have wished for. Not because it will affect the market in a positive way, although it might, but mostly because it will force people to analyze the content rather than the shell.
Those nasty little RPI’s ( Return Per Image) or % of image sold multiplied or not by some abject variable will quietly return to the boardroom, behind close doors. And images, hopefully, will start to speak again. Lonely Jupiter will be playing the game solo with no one to be compared too.
Sure we will continue to have numbers thrown at us, either from Alamy or from a Gary Shenk, somewhere from deep inside Second Life. Certainly, A21 will certainly continue to announce with great pride new loans in order to keep their amusing little stock afloat on its own kindergarten stock market. But that will certainly not make the industry tremble and sleepless.
The Lion will be seemingly asleep and hopefully no one will try to take over its roaring sessions. Hopefully, the debates, arguments, analysis, theories, projections will be about content, quality, originality and photography rather than volume, quantity, profitability, accounting and market share.
They will be a real debate, and concern, that Getty Images has great photography and surpasses a lot of its peers by hosting talented photographers, regardless of how many image they sold. Maybe it will push the competition to rethink its content rather than their balance sheet. Maybe we will start seeing less greenish imagery or flashed pale individuals in front of white walls.
Come to think of it, the argumentation might even become about who has the best images rather than who has the most. It could even be that people start classifying photo agencies by the value ( artistic) rather than the amount of images sold . Could very well be that this new found silence might distract us from thinking that making a gazillion billion dollars might not be an end in itself. And that, maybe, just maybe, there is pleasure in creating and selling great images.
Wasn’t this the reason we all started in this business ?
*(not a spelling mistake but rather a play on words)