Disability in Commercial Imagery

By Pat Hunt

(c)Disability Images

(c)Disability Images

What is a disability? Can anyone really offer a comprehensive list of every issue that is likely to manifest as a disability? There are attempts to do this in government, but that list hardly reflects the entire human condition.

In commercial imagery, there seems to be a need to put someone into a wheelchair in order to visually display that they have a disability. It is said by statisticians that 74% of Americans who live with a serious disability do not even use a wheelchair or a walker. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, “a person with a disability is one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. “ Having a disability is not always about mobility.

There is even a very serious organization that promotes the knowledge of and caring for what they call an Invisible Disability. An invisible disability can refer to such issues as pain,fatigue,depression, learning differences, hearing and vision impairments and any ailment not immediately obvious to the on-looker. These issues can severely limit daily activities, so people making judgments about them need to be keenly aware of more than obvious physical impairments.

(c)Disability Images

(c)Disability Images

In spite of all these disabilities, it’s important to avoid the label – disabled. Human beings are very resourceful and continue to lead very active lifestyles, in spite of their issues. They have careers, and they play sports. They enjoy relationships and work toward an education. They improve with rehabilitation and get around with transportation. They have a very active home life.

Disability Images has been working to be sure we cover the many aspects of disability lifestyle. From visual and hearing impairment, to people with Bi-Polar and Asperger’s; from ACL surgeries and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy to Cerebral Palsy and Learning Disabilities; we show how lifestyle can be positive and engaged. These are the kinds of issues that marketing and advertising should be representing in their pictures; because a disability of any kind can happen to anyone we love. It is what it means to be human.

(c)Disability Images

(c)Disability Images

1302151051CPat and Mark Hunt are the owners of DisabilityImages.com.  The site specializes in high quality and high resolution imagery of  real people with real disabilities.
We emphasize positive and empowered lifestyle.  Pat is also on the Advisory Board of Work Without Limits,  a statewide network of engaged employers and innovative,
collaborative partners that aims to increase employment among individuals with disabilities.

Understanding Vivian Maier

By Michael Masterson

How often do you wish a film wouldn’t end, that it would continue to unspool and reveal more and more about itself? “Finding Vivian Maier”, part documentary, part detective story, part exposé, is that kind of film. Its subject is slowly revealed as one of the world’s great “street” photographers, rivaling Garry Winogrand, Helen Levitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Weegee in her vision and unique perspective. At the same time we see a portrait of an obsessive hoarder with a cruel streak towards children and an almost clinical disregard of her subjects, even taking pictures of a child hit by a car while in her care.

The very private Maier actually never saw most of her own work, printing very little of it and leaving 150,000 images in the form of negatives and even hundreds of undeveloped rolls of film. By chance, an amateur historian named John Maloof purchased a trove of 30,000 of her negatives being auctioned off by a storage facility after Maier had stopped paying rental fees in 2007. A Google search turned up nothing about her until her death notice in 2009. Maloof began acquiring other remnants from her estate (she saved every receipt and scrap of paper as well as thousands of newspapers) and slowly assembled the missing pieces of a life unknown to the world at large. As he delved into it he realized that he had stumbled upon an extraordinary archive and began the search to find out who Vivian Maier was although it soon becomes apparent she didn’t want anyone to know.


The documentary traces the clues he uses to track down the families, including Phil Donahue’s, she’d worked for as a nanny in the affluent North Shore area of Chicago. In interviews with the children she’d cared for and some of their parents, Maloof works at unraveling the mysteries of Maier’s life and sometimes raises more questions than answers about her darker side. She often took her employers’ children into gritty urban areas on the weekends, snapping voyeuristic photos of people on the sly or sometimes quite brazenly without their apparent consent. Usually using a low-angle Rolleiflex, her results are startling, moving and sometimes disturbing, so much that Mary Ellen Mark compares her to Diane Arbus.

Nearly six feet tall and prone to wearing boxy coats and hats, in self-portraits Maier resembles an eccentric Isabella Rossellini. Intensely solitary, she apparently didn’t share her images with others. She also shared little about her life with people she knew and few of them even bothered to ask about her past. Most thought she was French because of the unusual accent she often cultivated. While her mother was from France and Maier had visited there in her younger years, she was born and raised mostly in New York. Maloof eventually tracks down her mother’s family in an Alpine village and aged relations there recalled a gangly American girl who always had a camera around her neck even then. At first Maloof had difficulty in attracting interest in Maier’s work. But after posting a selection of her photos that generated rapturous accolades on Flickr, he acquired more of her imagery and organized exhibits at galleries and museums worldwide. And made a documentary about it.

While exposing Maier’s abundant talent and singular life, Charlie Siskel (Gene’s son) and Maloof’s film also raises challenging questions about ownership and personal privacy. One of her former charges states emphatically that Maier would never have approved of what Maloof and others have done to promote her work. She went to great lengths to protect her privacy by sometimes using fake names and deliberately misleading people about her past, even suggesting she’d been a spy. Knowing she kept her prodigious body of work hidden from others, it’s slightly uncomfortable seeing it unveiled against her wishes. At the same time, it’s such brilliant imagery that the world would be a poorer place if it had vanished into a dumpster. The filmmakers mostly skirt the issue although Maloof wonders at one point if he’s pushed too much into Maier’s life. Regardless, he still leaves us wanting to know more about Maier and her remarkable photographs. Maloof pulls back the curtains she’d drawn so tightly around her life and you’re grateful that you get to peek in.

for more information: http://www.vivianmaier.com/film-finding-vivian-maier/

1555546_10202430273490900_1403800212_nMichael Masterson has a broad range of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, contact negotiations and recruiting in the photography, graphic design and publishing industries. In addition to his long experience at the Workbook and Workbookstock, Masterson owned and was creative director of his own graphic design firm for several years. Masterson has been a speaker or panelist at industry events such as Seybold, PhotoPlus Expo, Visual Connections and the Picture Archive Council of America (PACA) national conference. He is past national president of the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP). He currently heads Masterson Consulting, working on projects ranging from business development for creative companies and sourcing talent for them to promoting and marketing industry events as well as providing resume and professional profile services for job-seekers. He can be reached at michaeldmasterson@gmail.com.

Retrograph – An Art Blast From The Past

by Julian Jackson

(c)Retrograph - c1925 Swiss Chocolate Box top, printers sample.

(c)Retrograph – c1925 Swiss Chocolate Box top, printers sample.

Retrograph www.retrograph.com is a photo agency which curates design work from the past. It is a treasury of over a hundred years of publicity images. Director David Bull, says, “The Retrograph collection is a visual feast of classic graphic design images spanning 100 years of retrospective publicity work, from the mid eighteen hundreds to the mid twentieth century.”

Retrograph was first established some 25 years ago by Jilliana and Martin Breese and is a picture library that extensively specializes in publicity designs that have been created by commercial artists throughout the past one hundred and fifty years. It is a unique collection of designs that promote products, services, events and occasions and these images have been recorded photographically from the original prints, still retaining the qualities of the variety of printed methods that were used in their reproduction. The collection features some of the greatest and finest and most colorful examples of these artists’ work and the images also reflect all of the art movements that became popular throughout the 20th century.



The collection was unavailable for a time, but now has been recently digitized.  The visual feast of images includes brands such as Fry’s Cocoa, the Cunard Line, and Dubonnet.  And Bovril, of course. American readers might like to know that Bovril is a classic beef drink – or possibly not!

These extraordinary images evoke different, perhaps more innocent times. Certainly the illustrations will provide a ripple of excitement and amusement as well as admiration for the talents of the creators. The collection evokes an age when the skills and craftsmanship of image making was at its best, when artists of exceptional talent and imagination applied their craft to the promotion of business via the explosion of the color printing medium and advertising. The skills can be seen in the drawing and the exquisite use of color and are a reflection of outstanding dedication to this supreme design/art of the twentieth century and the evolution of the graphic designers and their importance in today’s marketing globally.

Retrograph have been working on the library images, digitizing the collection over the past two years or more and so far there are around 3000 available that are shown in 72 categories on their new website (www.retrograph.com). This is just a start to this important collection as there are still many thousands of images in the pipeline ready for digitization that they are working on for upload soon, and many more that will be available in due course.

The new website is well organized, with a drop-down menu of browse-able image categories, for example, Art Nouveau, Cityscapes, or Electrical Appliances.  There is also a search facility, which brings up various images.  When you look at an individual image a simple 4 part price structure comes up, so it is easy to obtain the image needed. Retrograph is based in the UK but their work is available worldwide.

David Bull says, “We continue to digitize our back catalog of over 4,000 more images and still source new material at every opportunity. Obviously there are many images that are not yet displayed on our web site so any particular requirements should be emailed to us on sales@retrograph.com. Our researchers will locate any relevant material in our library and supply a PDF selection sheet for consideration.”



This is a unique collection which shows off the best commercial art of past decades, and shows how much today’s illustrators should take note of the style of the past.

Retrograph also produce poster prints for home use from their sister site www.retrowallart.co.uk .


juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment.  His website is www.julianjackson.co.uk.  He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course www.picture-research-courses.co.ukLinked-in profile.



So pleased to have this inside view of Photo Research by Susan Ferguson of Ferguson Resources

(c)Park with flowers, Michal Bednarek/Dreamstime.com

(c)Park with flowers, Michal Bednarek/Dreamstime.com

Like many photo researchers, I have a background that may seem unrelated to photography or publishing. My degree is in Ornamental Horticulture with additional studies in art and architectural history, and cultural geography. My experience of the business of photography has been through my brother, who was a studio, advertising and nature photographer, and now the owner of a high-resolution stock footage library.

I’ve been looking for garden images since my first job with California State Historic Parks, where I was working with a team of landscape architects and historians to document landscape use and plant introductions for park interpretative planning. I was very interested in garden history and historic preservation and this was a dream job. But it was temporary and I moved on in my horticultural career, first to agricultural research and later to field trials for trees and bedding plants.

The flower trials were in a large display garden, the beginning of many rewarding seasons in several public gardens. Along with growing plants, my responsibilities grew to include more historical research, education and exhibit planning, and garden publications. I was searching for and collecting images again in order to tell garden stories, from 18th century flower gardens to colonial beekeeping to Monet’s garden, basic botany, rose history, and the evolution of plants through fossils.

When there were changes at the garden where I worked, a city reorganization that transferred the facility to a different department, serendipity found me a new job. Meredith Publishing, the parent of Better Homes & Gardens, was located in the same city. I’d gotten to know some of the writers and editors for the magazine through the adult education programs at the garden, as teachers and students. When a photo researcher was needed for the garden book group, I was asked if I might be interested. It was a perfect match. And to my delight, I’m still searching for garden photos for books, magazines, newsletters and online resources.

Sources for garden publishing projects are many. Publishers sometimes have their own garden library. For books and magazines I then go to individual garden photographers. Some I have known and followed for years and I am constantly watching for talent new to me. The best ones are photographer/gardeners who know the botanical names, the details of garden design and horticultural technique. We speak the same language so the specific requests I make for a plant variety, an aspect of design or garden procedure are clear to all of us. For plant pests and diseases, I rely on the land grant university plant science departments and an online resource Bugwood.org, at least to start.

From there I may be combing the internet, at the big and small stock houses, Flickr and similar sites, garden blogs, museums, research gardens, and horticultural vendors worldwide. Some of my favorite libraries are AgPix.com, Garden Picture Library (now at Getty), GAPPhotos.com (Garden and Plant Picture Library), Oxford Scientific (also now at Getty), Sciencesource.com, and Science Faction (Getty). Of course there are millions of garden and plant photos in hundreds of stock libraries. For fast searches and low budget projects those libraries are great resources, but the images are sometimes poor quality, difficult to find due to incomplete keywording, and, even in major libraries, often misidentified or not identified at all. In these searches, my long experience in horticulture is really valuable.

I have worked as both as staff and freelance. Being on staff in the garden book group at Meredith was busy and filled with garden images. But when I became a freelance researcher, new areas opened to me. Beyond the garden, I have found travel and tourism photos, wonderful places that I’d like to go see. I’ve searched for photos of disasters, and roller coasters, and snowstorms. Recently I worked for a major online content provider in their business and industry area finding photos of international trade, metallurgy, medical offices, public education, biotechnology, pet stores and more. The pleasure is the same, the aha! when I find the right image for the story.

I really love the search. One of my favorites was to find a specific very tiny insect on a specific kind of plant, that insect on that plant and no other. It seemed futile, until, after days on the internet, I discovered the photo on Flickr. When I finally found the photographer, he was 11 years old. He was fascinated with insects and macro photography. He’d just been given a new lens for his beloved camera. The shot I needed was one of his experiments in the backyard. We sent the contracts, his dad reviewed the terms with him, and we got the shot. We were happy and he was thrilled. He was a paid photographer before junior high!

Little girl, MNStudios/Dreamstime.com

Little girl, MNStudios/Dreamstime.com

Susan can be reached via fergusonresources@mac.com



Cashing in on Phone Photos: Enter Stockimo from Alamy

Alan Capel explains how their new app is driving sales and delivering the look advertisers demand.

(c)Roy Riley/Stockimo/Alamy

(c)Roy Riley/Stockimo/Alamy

Guest post by Jain Lemos

Nearly gone are the days of taking snaps with cell phones just to share them with our followers. Today, dozens of tech companies are promising to fulfill dreams of becoming a professional creative by making money from the photos we are already taking and uploading. Alamy, arguably the world’s largest website for picture buyers, is another enterprise banking on the promise that spare moments can be turned into spare cash with their new app, Stockimo.

In a way, Alamy was one of the first stock photo agencies to embrace user-generated content, simply because they always accepted imagery from non-professionals, as long as Alamy’s specifications were met.  Naturally, their next step would be to widen that net by entering the explosion of image marketplace apps. “We’ve always believed that Alamy should be open to anyone with the eye and creativity to take a great shot. Our business is selling photos so we’d be mad to ignore or disregard the opportunity presented by mobile photography,” says Alan Capel, head of content at Alamy.



Their idea was for Stockimo to be the first mobile app that really spoke to established photographers. Alamy wanted the collection to be distinguishable as a subset within Alamy’s regular stock offerings, trading on the look-and-feel trendiness of mobile photography. “There’s vibrancy—and perhaps less posing and a greater deal of serendipity—about the work captured on phones,” Capel claims.

Evidently, slice-of-life images are the ones in demand. AdAge recently reported that social media agency Laundry Service discovered that Instagram photos have a higher click-through rate than more professionally shot photos. But Capel warns against going overboard by “believing the whole world has gone Instagram crazy.” He says their customers love Stockimo but not all Stockimo shots have the Instagram guise. “Unfiltered, well-composed mobile shots can still offer something new,” he adds.

(c)Mathieu B.Morin/Stockimo/Alamy

(c)Mathieu B.Morin/Stockimo/Alamy

Stockimo currently has about 62,000 images with thousands more being added each week. The app is bringing Alamy a new stream of salable photos, both from a small group of their existing contributors as well as from newcomers to the stock scene, including those who never considered their work saleable. To eliminate rubbish, the collection is curated by raters to maintain Alamy’s standards of quality and diversity. As the app builds momentum, more pros and amateurs are climbing onboard.

Images in the collection are available under all of Alamy’s licensing models and can sell under any license type Alamy feels is most suitable. Capel indicates that this could extend in the future to more dynamic licensing options, but at the moment, licenses are RF if the photographer provides releases or no releases are needed and RM for the rest. Capel says it’s too early to make accurate predictions about sales projections for the Stockimo collection but the revenue is growing and the percentage of sales compared with the number of images is already very strong compared with Alamy as a whole.

Right now, the only way to search for Stockimo images is to type “Stockimo” into the site’s main search bar. Alamy is planning changes to their site and exactly how Stockimo is represented will come into those discussions. Capel explains that isolating the collection might be advantageous but they also want to present Stockimo images alongside the rest of Alamy. Decisions will be driven by customer need and usability.

Alamy also launched a live news service about three years ago, and this feature is soon to be integrated with Stockimo.  Capel explains: “As a user, you will be able to opt in to the news mode of Stockimo. Once opted in, any shots taken in the last 24 hours will have the option of being uploaded directly to our news feed. Our news team will also contact Stockimo users in real time and point them at newsworthy events and situations.”

There are no plans for a paid or pro version of the app. Alamy feels that could be restrictive and possibly eliminate casual users who take great shots. In coming versions, Stockimo will add new capabilities for passing rejection reasons back to users and providing live feedback as to which shots are proving popular with customers. “Even the most experienced shooters want to know what’s selling, what customers want and what they should shoot. We have a wealth of information and the mobile nature of Stockimo makes it a great platform for this insight,” Capel offers.

Alamy has long been applauded for their technical excellence and for mobile, they turned to notable app developer Mubaloo and Amazon cloud services.

Engagement is the aim of marketing departments and Stockimo images can provide wider access to real life situations. Brands and retailers are looking through stock sources to find shots that convey a community feeling with a personal perspective. With something close to a billion images being shared online every day, apps like Stockimo are crafting the image marketplaces for a fresh generation of creators and buyers.

(c)davidvaaknin / Stockimo / Alamy

(c)davidvaaknin / Stockimo / Alamy

JainHeadShotJain Lemos has been deeply involved in photography publishing and licensing for more than twenty years. She shares her informed perspective about our visual industry on her blog jainlemos.com.


re-post from Kaptur with permission from  Paul Melcher

The next big frontier for anyone involved with photography online is content curation.  The value of a company dealing with photography is not in its ability to attract a large amount of content – that is the easy part-  but rather in its ability to create value to the content by carefully and appropriately curating it.

The first phase of photography content valuation was to amass as many assets as possible. Companies success rate was measured in how quickly and reliably they could accumulate  a vast amount of photos from their users, regardless of their quality.  As Flickr quickly realized, that strategy was doomed to fail as not all content is equal. For visitors to keep on logging in, they had to add efficient filters that would hide the less desirable items and make the most popular one bubble up. Their algorithm, called interestingness, relied on user comments, likes, clicks to create an automated ranking of the best images. And it worked, for a while at least.

The issue, after a while, is the necessity to go beyond popularity as the primary trigger for leadership. Popularity triggers more popularity which in turns shuts down discovery. In other words, the more an image is popular, the more it becomes more popular. And as we have seen many times with viral photos, meme or videos, the reason for popularity might  be far from any esthetics reasons. In turn, curation had to evolve.

While it is not that hard for a human to quickly select good images from an incoming feed, it is just not scalable. It works for stock photo agencies like Shutterstock or Getty Images but when your feed gets  million of images a day, like most social media site, it is just not a desirable option.

Automated curation based on aesthetics is still far from being helpful. Back in 2005, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania  created Acquine, a project that learned from people’s votes to replicate human curation. The result was somewhat promising but tended heavily towards the beach at sunset with a boat at the forefront photos.

One of the biggest issue to solve in automated curation is in anticipating the viewing audience. A 20-year-old  american male will not have the same interest as a 60 year Indonesian woman. They will obviously not like the same photos. In short, photo curation needs to deliver on expectations by predicting the audience. If you know your audience, it becomes much easier.

Take G+ for example. They know that the majority of the images they receive are family/friend photos to be shared with family/friends so here is their algorithm :

Removing the blurred images or otherwise poor technical quality.
Selecting images with faces/people. Recognises the people in your circles as people who’re important to you
Picking images that have smiles
Removing duplicates (or near duplicates), & getting the best one based on the above.
Simple enough ? The same goes for specialized companies like Chute or Curalate that search for specific content for specific brands. They can quickly skim through millions of Instagram uploads and retrieve those that are particular to their needs based on a logo and hashtag for example.  Manual editing can then take over to filter out the false positive or useless ones.

Pinterest, Instagram, and down the line Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo understand that it is no longer sufficient to show images. The images seen have to be relevant in some manner to the viewers. Facebook and Twitter have their work cut out for them as the relevancy of the images depends on who is sharing it, which is defined by the users themselves. Pinterest, however, needs to constantly tweak its discovery algorithm since everything is public and relies entirely on relevancy of content. Imagine what would happen to Pinterest if we started to see mostly blurry images or porn. Same for Instagram.

While big improvements have been made a lot still has to be done. The value of any social media site is only as good as its curation algorithm. As the accumulation of data around image usage, and more importantly, image conversion rate – increase, we can expect to see more potent filtering to a point where every site we visit will only show images we love or want to click on. Which, after all, might dramatically alter what we love.

114a59bNamed one of the “100 most important people in photography” by American Photo Magazine, Paul is the founder and Editor in Chief of Kaptur. He has more than 20 years of photo and technology experience at prestigious photo agencies, such as Corbis and Gamma Press, as well as top leadership role in market changing photo tech companies like Stipple or DigitalRailroad. In his free time, he writes his own photo industry blog, “Thoughts of a Bohemian” and tries to keep up with his two sons.

Past Glories of Ancient Civilizations – the Photography of Werner Forman

Guest post by Julian Jackson

Werner Forman was an intrepid photographer, who traveled all over the world to document the greatness of ancient civilizations. During his 75 year career he went into places nobody had been before with a camera, to take stunning visual images. He was the co-author and sole photographer of more than 80 books, covering subjects as varied as the Aztecs, Tang China, the Vikings and the Maori, as well as contributing images to hundreds of other books, magazines, and TV programs.

Werner died in 2010, but his legacy lives on. Werner Forman Archive is a treasury of his photography, some of which is of artifacts which are now lost, or areas of the world which are no longer safe for one man and a Hasselblad to visit. It covers archaeological sites, cultural monuments, landscapes and priceless museum exhibits photographed in more than 55 countries.

Chichen Itza (c)Werner Forman

Chichen Itza (c)Werner Forman

Born in 1921 in Prague, he was fascinated by photography as a teenager and determined to make it his life’s work. At first intrigued by machinery, he took images of cars and aeroplanes, which were stylish enough to gain him status as official photographer to the Czech commercial airline at the age of fourteen! During the Second World War he documented atrocities for the Resistance, which eventually led to the arrest of himself, his brother, father and Jewish mother. His father, a Catholic, was offered the chance to save himself by divorcing his wife. He refused. Remarkably the family all survived the concentration camps.


After the war Forman developed an interest in Chinese art. The subject of his first book was Chinese art in Czech collections for famous publisher Artia. Designed by his brother Bedrich and released in 1954, it was an international best-seller, with editions in English and German as well as Czech. This brought him to the notice of the Chinese authorities, who invited the brothers to visit. In 1956 the pair spent two months in China, documenting museum artefacts and holding seminars for Chinese photographers. During the years that followed Forman produced many books of photographs of ancient artifacts from various countries, including North Korea and North Vietnam.

Mongolia (c) Werner Forman

Mongolia (c) Werner Forman


Artia eventually produced forty Forman volumes including monographs on five important collections in the British Museum, with texts by their curators. These were realised due to the commitment of the publisher Paul Hamlyn, who found a ready market for the Forman books. Another such project was Egyptian Art (1962), featuring the renowned collection of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.

Nefertiti (c)Werner Forman

Nefertiti (c)Werner Forman

Werner Forman came from Czechoslovakia to live in England in 1968. He brought with him thousands of glass plates, colour and black and white negatives and transparencies, all uncaptioned or unidentified and on meeting Barbara Heller, the wife of his former Czech publisher, Martin Heller, they agreed that she would take on the work and establish the Werner Forman Archive. It was a monumental task to identify and caption the images and they are now scanned and on line at www.werner-forman-archive.com.

Others who published Forman’s books included Weidenfeld & Nicolson and from the mid-seventies he edited a new series for Orbis Publishing called Echoes of the Ancient World. Fifteen volumes in all were published and repeatedly reissued in many languages, on subjects as varied as the Aztecs, Tang China, the Vikings and the Maori. In 1992 his photographs enriched The Life in Ancient Egypt by Eugen Strouhal, and in consequence the book was taken up by publishers in eleven countries and published in nine languages.

Over the next couple of decades Forman travelled extensively, often alone, into areas that could be difficult to reach, where he photographed the many different aspects of ancient civilizations, including prehistoric art, ancient Persia, Indian sculpture among others. His travels took him north to document the Vikings, and far east to picture Japan and the Samurai.

After his death, a large number of previously unseen images have come to light and are being catalogued and digitized, and are gradually being added to the collection

Barbara Heller, Director, Werner Forman Archive says, “The archive has an unparalleled collection of global art and antiquities images from the long career of the late Werner Forman, many of which are unique and some unfortunately have disappeared so the images we hold are the only record of them. Moving forward, we are cataloging and digitizing the thousands of rare photos that have not been previously seen and we hope to release the books Werner was working on before his final illness, which will be a swansong for a remarkable career in photography.

All photographs Copyright Werner Forman Archive


juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment.  His website is www.julianjackson.co.uk.  He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course www.picture-research-courses.co.ukLinked-in profile.


IMGembed’s Impression Licensing Solution

Robert Henson, IMGembed’s VP of business development, explains how their pay-per-view licensing tool impacts both the supply and demand side of online publishing. Guest post by Jain Lemos.

Permission language and fee negotiations for online image usage tracked by impressions have often been confusing and inconsistent. Last year, IMGembed set out to change that. Now buyers and publishers can search their growing bank of user-generated and premium content, grab an image’s HTML code and IMGembed will track the number of impressions for them. There is no more worrying about who is responsible for counting page views!

Image © Eugene Gao

“Image buyers can seamlessly integrate our images into their online projects,” says Henson, a veteran in the stock business and PACA’s former president and technology chair. “They don’t have to host or track the image and they have a broad and unique inventory to choose from,” he adds. IMGembed’s licensing model is based on cost-per-thousand-impressions rates known as CPM. Prices range from free to pay-per-use and all fees are set by the sellers, not IMGembed.

“Philosophically, the company is very much centered on win-win solutions,” claims Henson, who joined the company after finding them unique among other photo-related startups. The company’s founders (the same team behind The Creative Finder and DesignTaxi) come from the online publishing industry—not the image business—and admit their focus is on building a solution for publishers while allowing image owners full control of inventory access, credit, and pricing.

“Our platform is open to anyone and we’ve seen great participation and growth from all types of photographers,” Henson explains. Millions of images are available for licensing and that number is growing each month. Condé Nast offers some of their image catalog via IMGembed and stock agencies Blend and Danita Delimont have recently signed on. Established libraries like these can satisfy their demand for attribution and compensation for the use of their images, plus they can track their images in real time, something difficult to do—if not impossible—for impression licensing sales before.

The impression counting works through IMGembed’s technology, which delivers a unique image every time someone loads a Web page. That page loading counts as an image view. When setting pricing, sellers can choose from three options: (a) free use with unlimited views, (b) free use up to the first 10,000 views then a CPM rate kicks in, and (c) paid use with a CPM rate charged for all views.

CPM pricing can be as low as $2/1,000 views, with some premium images priced at $10/1,000 views. For example, if a buyer selects an image with the pricing set at free for the first 10,000 impressions, additional impressions in 1,000-impression increments will cost whatever CPM has been established by the seller. Buyers will understand this price immediately when selecting an image. At a $2.00 CPM rate, a photo with 510,000 impressions would earn $1,000 (after the first free 10,000 impressions).

Bloggers are natural customers and this is where they are seeing the image embedding practice being used the most. Henson also indicated they’ve been holding very informative discussions with major online publishers and are promoting embeds as a viable option for all content delivery platforms. Publishers are interested in receiving access to a broad inventory of images at price points they can live with or having an option to use images for free with watermarked attribution. Buyers also like knowing they are using images with permission, eliminating any infringement risks to the site where images are published.

Henson’s experience with PACA and his deep understanding of the scope of infringement cases on and off the books when it comes to online licensing is a driving issue behind his involvement in this endeavor. “There should be a balance of interests between a creator’s rights around the exploitation of their works and a publisher’s rights to access and exploit works,” he offers.

It’s refreshing to see more tools and platforms appearing that promote the ethical use of licensing online images. IMGembed is offering image owners full control of their inventory, attribution and pricing. Buyers and publishers have an impression access model that is affordable, consistent and easy to implement. Touting the fair use of online images is one thing, but making that tenet a reality is furthered by enterprises such as IMGembed jumping in and getting to work.

JainHeadShotJain Lemos has been deeply involved in photography publishing and licensing for more than twenty years. She shares her informed perspective about our visual industry on her blog jainlemos.com.


Creativity with your Coffee(or vice versa)!

In the Forever Hollywood Cemetery in Los Angeles, renowned musician Moby talks to a rapt audience about issues ranging from supplying free music for independent filmmakers, through to urban possibilities for creative freedom. In Edmonton, Alberta, stage manager and blogger Michelle Kennedy ponders the sexual health of her city. In Cape Town, Maximillian Kaizen, Public Lead for Creative Commons in South Africa, highlights practical copyright and intellectual property tools for content creators to safely share their works. In Dublin, Eire, street artist Solus offers insights into interventionist creative practices in the common public sphere.

These eclectic lectures are the brainchild of an exciting organization known as “CreativeMornings” which, as a project, is pretty much summed up by its name: once a month, you take a city, you introduce a communal theme (one month it’s “sex,” then it’s “freedom” and another month it’s “childhood”) that will spark lectures on that theme in linked cities across the world, you invite an array of speakers to talk on that theme…

… oh, and most importantly, you get to have a nice breakfast whilst doing so. A combination of sustenance for the body and the mind, the Creative Mornings are intended as double nourishment for those creatives wanting an international array of breakfast foods and food for thought. The themes are chosen by committee, and are broad enough to allow great leeway of interpretation, depending on the hosting city.

It’s a mix of global versus glocal that unites disparate creatives across international boundaries and time zones, and opens up some interesting possibilities to examine the means of artistic production from a variety of perspectives. To continue with the food analogy that seems delightfully central to the tone and mood of Creative Mornings; as an attendee you can have your cake and eat it, too: local events offer perspectives based on local practices and observations; the international events are recorded and made available to those who may want to consider parallel (or divergent) perspectives from other countries from the comfort of their computer screen. It’s a great way of mixing the attractive aspect of homogeneity (normally a buzz word meant to invoke horror at the prospect of all points in time and space becoming the same Western capitalist template) with the delight of heterogenous eccentricity.

For instance, this June, the theme of “Minimal” is being interpreted by, amongst others, typographer and graphic designer, Yuri Gordon, founder of Letterhead Studio in Moscow, whilst in Prague, mountain climber Marek Holeček, who scales some of the highest mountains in the world, will talk about doing this with the least amount of equipment possible. The mix is constantly rotating, bring new and wildly eclectic speakers to ‘conquer’ topics from their respective geographical base camps.

The whole affair, in keeping with it’s outreach tenor, seems to be a relatively democratic affair (it’s been called “TED for the rest of us.”), as initiated by Founder Tina Roth Eisenberg (of SwissMiss) who started the project in NYC in September 2008. Creative Mornings are free to attendees, thanks to the support of local sponsors, generous venues, and long term partners.

If you want to be the first in your city to start a Creative Mornings chapter (and be advised: there is only one chapter allowed per city…) the web site has a simple fact sheet for what is needed (one organizer per chapter, a commitment to one meeting a month for twelve months – renewable – and so on).

So if your idea of a good time is seeing/hearing something new and unique from the creative pioneers of urban spaces, then it’s time to either attend an existing CreativeMornings in your city, or start up a new chapter. Either way, take along your business cards; think of the networking opportunities!


You can find out all about CreativeMornings at:



Reposted from http://kaptur.co with permission from author Paul Melcher

Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins investor, just released her 2014 her annual  Internet trends report which briefly trended on Twitter yesterday. Year after year, the report is slowly becoming a yearly milestone for the those in the internet business and those just curious about it. For us, it’s another opportunity to look at fresh numbers. And this year, like every other year, they are remarkable.

Last year, the same chart, excluding Snapchat, showed 500 Million images a day and expected to double YTY. It has more than tripled.  While the rest of the report doesn’t linger on this massive number, we will.

First, it is important to note that almost half of these pictures last 10 seconds or less and disappear forever. And this is where the numbers grows the fastest. While Facebook ( 350 million/day ) and Instagram ( 60 million/day)  remain relatively the same, disposable photographs have seen the most aggressive growth in the last 3 years. The other noticeable trend is Whatsapp growing influence on the photo traffic.  Because it is a messaging app, a bit like Facebook,  it is hard  to know how much duplication it contains.

In fact, this chart and other internet upload numbers do not take into account repetition, like an image taken with Instagram, posted on Facebook and shared with Whatsapp. Neither does it specify the percentage of images shared on Facebook or Whatsapp are originals and taken by the uploader or are images found online and reposted. All we can be sure of is that Snapchat 500 million + pictures a day are all 100% originals and never cross appear on any other website.

Strangely enough Twitter, who is making dramatic efforts to be more photo centric, is not mentioned in this graph. Probably because numbers around photo upload/sharing are hard to get. Various unconfirmed estimates puts it around 50 million a day, which would not only place it below its competitors, Flickr excluded, but also not push the overall bar much higher.

Needless to say, for marketers eager to tap into this visual explosion as well a tech companies wanting a bite of it, those numbers are quite impressive. None of the present companies have yet to directly monetize this content. While Instagram has started to timidly insert ads in feeds and Facebook around them, the images themselves are left untouched. Just imagine, at $0.01 revenue per photo, that would be a $6,57 billion/year business with a potential to double every year.

With more than 2 billion picture-taking devices projected to be sold in 2014, we are not about to see this trend slow down. In fact, it could accelerate as new opportunities to share appear on the market, fueled by the revenue potential offered.  For now, all efforts are oriented in building the ultimate taking/sharing platform and converting the traffic generated into dollars. However, with the rapid advances of object recognition and intelligent images, it will no longer be about medium but the media itself. In other words, photos will become the money generating device, not the platform.

114a59bNamed one of the “100 most important people in photography” by American Photo Magazine, Paul is the founder and Editor in Chief of Kaptur. He has more than 20 years of photo and technology experience at prestigious photo agencies, such as Corbis and Gamma Press, as well as top leadership role in market changing photo tech companies like Stipple or DigitalRailroad. In his free time, he writes his own photo industry blog, “Thoughts of a Bohemian” and tries to keep up with his two sons.