I started my photo website before I started blogging and understandably quite a few people contact me through my site and I’ve just realised there are a number of differences in the sorts of questions that people ask.
I suppose it might be because my site is clearly divided into photographs which are personal and for stock photography.
Now of course it may seem a bit strange in a way that I’ve had little to say about stockphotos in particular but one or two people have asked me have asked me about stock photography and also what is the difference between what I might call my personal work and stock work.
Of course in many cases there isn’t any difference. I just love photography and many of my favourite personal pictures have turned out to be good stockphotos and sell well.
Nevertheless there is a difference in some cases and so I thought I might try to show some pictures every now and then which would show the particular aspects of my personal and stock photography.
As far as stock photography is concerned I’ve been involved in stock photography for a long time. The first stock agency I worked with was the Keith Jones Picture Library. Now as far as I can see this doesn’t exist any more. For a while I was with Barnabys and interestingly this turned up when I was looking for something quite different and I think it’s incorporated into the Mary Evans Picture Library.
Another agency was called the Northern Picture Library and as far as I can see it’s also disappeared and the name is used by a pop group which shows just how things have changed. For some time I was with the Freelance Photographers Guild in New York which I think has probably been incorporated into Getty.
This just shows how the stock photography business has gone up and down partly as agencies tried to move or perhaps not to move into the digital age. I had my fingers burnt very badly with an agency which accepted transparencies and changed them into digital works.
At the moment I’m with two all digital agencies. I’ve been a few years now with Alamy which is an interesting operation – I might have something to say about that – quite a lot of photographers are interested in an agency that has no internal formal editing procedure, and I’ve also recently joined an agency called Photoshelters.
I might comment on this in the future. This is an agency with editors and so far they seem happy enough with the small sample I have given them.
As far as the stock market is concerned it’s changing very very rapidly. So many pictures are used now online in websites and blogs and these pictures don’t have to be as large as pictures for print because of the nature of computer screens and the need to show quickly. people get very bored waiting for pictures to load.
Also a lot of people today have digital cameras.
Partly my thinking is coloured by the fact that when I started out in stock photography it was considered that the minimum equipment was a medium format camera using either colour transparency film for slides on the light box or monochrome film for black and white prints.
This meant two largish cameras or one camera with interchangeable backs. So I bought into the Bronica system – I still have my Bronica, backs and lenses. I’ve taken them to the top of Macchu Picchu and along the Silk Road and on various other journeys. Sadly, Bronica is no more the last models coming in 2005.
But it all means that when photographers look at pixel count and point out that the Canon range includes cameras with 21 mega pixels it’s still all in comparison with the traditional 35mm camera when they compare quality.
When you’re accustomed to the quality of medium format it’s a bit of a shock to work with cameras that have 8 or 12 pixels though it’s important to remember that the type of picture produced with a digital camera is different in all sorts of ways.