The CNN Collection – Compelling and Vast

Bobby Dicks, Director of Sales & Licensing at the CNN Collection talks with us this week about all things CNN that a researcher needs to know.

The CNN Collection encompasses over 35 years of footage. Tell us a bit about what sets this collection apart and what keeps it that way?

It is true that for more than three and a half decades CNN has covered and continues to report on major newsworthy events both in the US and internationally. Consequently, the CNN Collection curates and archives some of the most compelling footage from around the globe – this includes ‘exclusive’ branded video, b-roll, and archival footage. In addition to our editorial collection, we license cinematic b-roll from some of CNN’s original series. Our team of skilled professionals specializes in serving the footage needs of fiction and non-fiction storytellers – in every medium – helping establish and frame their narrative in rich and creative ways.

Do you see any parallels in the challenges facing still collections and the challenges motion collections deal with? Shrinking budgets, ubiquitous material, declines in quality? How are you and your team addressing this?

The barrier to entry of creating the type and quality of curated, motion content that the CNN Collection provides remains fairly high as compared to content in still and motion archives that find themselves becoming commoditised. With budgets, our team’s focus is to work really hard at helping productions license footage with the correct rights package – which often enables our clients to actually get more content with the already squeezed budgets they may be working with.

How do you work with projects that require talent and property releases?

We review requests on a case by case basis and take many parameters into consideration before approving or denying these requests. We tend to start with the who, what, and why. We then dig deeper into the contextual use of the content and address any other questions as needed.

Technology evolves so quickly – how are you staying ahead of the curve with the latest innovations and customers’ wide range of needs?

From a user experience standpoint, we’ve focused heavily on removing technological barriers for our customers and giving footage researchers the ability to quickly find, preview, and download the right type of footage for their project on our website – where licensing footage is possible with just a credit card. For larger projects with more sophisticated footage requirements, our clients collaborate with our team of licensing and research professionals who have intimate knowledge of our collection and advanced research technologies. We offer our customers editorial and commercial footage in various fidelities including archival quality, High Definition (HD), and 4K – all available via digital delivery. In addition to our core collection, we offer a variety of shots to fit different customers’ visual storytelling needs including: aerial, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), time-lapse, iReport, and more. We’ve found that even the most compelling content and evolved tech must be bundled with top notch customer service and user experience – and that’s what we provide.

Social Media and UGC – how does it figure in your business and what are your thoughts about its impact on the commercial content licensing world?

We’ve engaged citizen journalists (or, as we call them, CNN iReporters) who often have immediate access to developing news and generate very compelling and unique visual content. When our clients’ story requires that “first-person” look, we draw on our iReport collection to help productions visually tell their story in a way that is reflective of today’s world, which is dominated by mobile phones and user generated content.

Would love to know about some of the favorite usages of your material – I understand you contributed to Oscar winning documentary ‘CitizenFour’? Best loved clips? Little known gems?

We have contributed to many high profile television shows, films, advertisement campaigns, and public displays. Here are just a handful of our favorites: “Ghostbusters”; “House of Cards” ; “The Martian” ; “Straight Outta Compton” ; HBO’s “Confirmation” ; “PBS Frontline” ; ESPN’s “30 for 30” series; 9/11 Museum; Newseum; and Oklahoma City Bombing Museum.



How does your team and customer base work with your transcripts? Seems like an invaluable research tool. 

Many of our clients are professional researchers and prefer to do footage mining themselves, so we try to enable them with as many tools as possible. Some of these tools include: transcripts, our youtube channel, our website advanced search,, and the capability to submit a custom research request directly to our team of researchers. All these tools are also available to the general public and enables us to pin-point the exact footage our customers are seeking.

How is CNN Collection poised to supply material and meet the needs during this election cycle?

Whether on cable TV or on the web, CNN is synonymous with politics, and this is reflected in our viewership ratings, online visitors, etc. Our clients count on our politics archive not only for the latest in political footage including CNN exclusive interviews but also archival footage of key players and events in the political arena. Here’s one creative use of our footage in a Facebook online ad campaign:

What else would you like us to know about CNN Collection?

The ‘CNN Collection’ archive draws on coverage which spans from the early 1980s through today’s biggest global and local news events. With our vast, global newsgathering network (42 editorial operations around the world) and with our local news affiliates, we’re able to license a wide variety of topical content across popular categories like crime and justice, weather, military, politics and many more. A large portion of the ‘CNN Collection’ library is digitized and available in High Definition (HD) with the remaining library available in archival quality via digital delivery. We also offer editorial and commercial content in 4K fidelity, stunning aerial and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) shots, and beautiful time-lapse footage. On our website,, we make available (for free!) comps that storytellers can download and use before deciding to license that final, perfect shot. When working with the ‘CNN Collection’ team, customers can count on our subject/mater experts with 90+ years of collective experience in the archive/licensing business.


Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 10.14.53 AMBobby Dicks specializes in helping fiction and non-fiction storytellers — in every medium — establish and frame their narrative with current and archival footage from the biggest and smallest global and local news coverage. Bobby’s specialty: creative collaboration, oftentimes embedded in the ideation and story-development stages of a production, helping shape what consumers ultimately see on their screens – from the mobile phone to motion pictures.

Bobby worked with Laura Poitras’ documentary Citizenfour; the film received an Oscar® in the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ category. For his contribution to the project, Dicks earned a ‘Footage Library of the Year’ nomination for the ‘CNN Collection’ at the 2015 FOCAL International Awards.



Networking, anyone?

Let us switch gears and think about how to refresh our freelance networking skills.

By Sheridan Stancliff

When most of us embarked on our freelance career, one of the common pieces of advice is: build your network. That’s all well and good, but how? And then once I build this network, how on earth do I utilize it to help with my business? Will the time I spend creating this spider web of contacts be worth the time and effort I put into it? The answer is yes – however, it may not be in ways you immediately see or in a way you can easily quantify.

Let me give an example:

A number of years ago, I attended an informal breakfast club with a friend of mine that worked in television. I had met her through participating in Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In that group, I met a number of other women from various industries – including many in TV/film. Some of us kept in touch over Facebook through the years, offering congratulations on engagements, condolences during tragedies, bonding over delicious sounding cocktail posts, that sort of thing. Out of the blue this year, I received a message from one of them who was working on a major network show and she inquired as to the website for the stock agency I co-founded. I sent her the link and she informed me that the design team needed an image for a romance cover that was being used in an upcoming episode and, when they were unable to find what they needed in general agencies, this woman remembered me and my collection. The next thing I knew, one of our images was being used in a hit TV show.

This is the power of networking.

So how does one build a network? An easy answer: go out and talk to people. I don’t mean go out and tell everyone you know you are Jane Doe and you take pictures of dancers or design ads for restaurants. No one wants to talk to the person who is always pitching or talking about themselves. So then, how do you do it?

First, get involved. While I realize not everyone has the personality to join every social group they find on MeetUp, you must break out of your bubble in order to expand your circle. Good news: this can be done virtually as well as face-to-face. Make a list of things that interest you both relating to your profession and also things that don’t have anything to do with it.

Say you are a designer that has worked in the fitness industry for years. Sure, find a design group on LinkedIn or online where you can share stories and find others who are in the design world (we all need compatriots to vent to or ask specific advice of) and become active in that group. Then become involved with things outside your industry that interests you. Love to cook? Find a supper club. Love to ride bikes? Hit up your local bike shop and join some group rides. Addicted to Pokemon Go? Search for a group that puts together hunts.

While at first, you may see this as frivolous time, it is building a network of people outside your direct industry. You may not even discuss professions for the first few meetings, but as you get to know these people through a common interest, that information eventually comes out and you can file what they do in your memory (you may also have a lot of fun in the process!)

Next, spend much of your time helping others rather than asking what they can do for you. Not only will you be earning respect, but you will also gain credibility as an expert and knowledgeable about what you do. You’ll move from a random name on the screen or hiding out on the sidelines to someone people remember. In the short term, you may not see any perceived benefit from this, but in the long term, it may pay off in ways you may not imagine.

You’re network is growing, now what?

Now you maintain it, this is where many fall short. If the only time you reach out to people you know is when you need something, you don’t present a very genuine connection, but rather one that is based on what they can do for you. What do I recommend? Make it a little personal. As you ask more about the people you come in contact with, make mental notes about their interests or hobbies, families, funny stories, etc. Make notes in your contact file if you need to. Place reminders in your calendar about special dates or just to drop someone a line. Then every so often, send a quick email, share a link, or make some other form of contact that has nothing to do what you can do for them. I can’t tell you how many freelance gigs I’ve landed by chance just by reaching out to people to ask about them and touch base.

Know a client who loves wines and you heard about a wonderful new vineyard? Share an article about it.

Have a friend who is a Francophile and there’s a website that just ranked the top patisseries in Paris? send them the link.

Someone you’ve met has just started a running program and you read an inspiring piece about someone who just took up the sport and did great? Share it.

This not only lets your contacts know you keep them in mind, but that you listen to what they have to say. It also puts a reminder in their mind about you without your calling them asking if they know of any jobs or others you might call to ask for gigs.

Most of all, be genuine.

A network is much like a garden: you plant seeds, you tend it, pull out a few weeds from time to time, and then watch it flourish to provide you with big benefits.

(c)Chip Latshaw

(c)Chip Latshaw

Sheridan Stancliff has spent more than 15 years in marketing and marketing communications, working in all aspects of the industry, from public relations photography and event management to advertising, direct mail and sales. She opened SheridanINK, a boutique marketing company specializing in helping fiction authors, in 2011 and Novel Expression in 2014.

Erickson Stock – Staying strong

Erickson Stock has been a staple in our industry of high end imagery for a long time. Michael Masterson caught up with Producer Jesse Hughes to get some insight into their staying power in an industry that is up and down to say the least:

Jesse Hughes has been on the sales side of the commercial photography and TV/video production business since 1996. After departing from TV for print in 2001, he was agent to over 70 of the world’s finest commercial photographers. In early 2006, Jesse partnered up with Jim Erickson, moved to Petaluma, CA, and together they have been growing Erickson Productions, Inc and into a healthy photo and video production company, as well as a premier source of commercial stock video and still photography.

(c)Erickson Stock

(c)Erickson Stock

Michael Masterson: Jim Erickson has been a top commercial photographer for over 30 years and Erickson Stock is one of the only agencies that features the work of a single contributor: Jim. Tell us about how he got into stock.

Jesse Hughes: Jim has always been a forward thinker and a good listener. He was a very early adopter of high-end retouching and Photoshop.  With the onset of digital cameras, he was a pioneer of library shoots, using multiple photographers and adding video even when the only option was shooting on DV tape. When his agents were complaining that they were losing assignment projects to stock licensing solutions in the 1990s, he thought, “Well, I’ll just get into stock myself.” So he hired a top shop in San Francisco (Eleven, Inc.) to design his stock site in the year 2000. From there, it was about adding high quality imagery to this newfound channel to provide emotional and compelling content to brands worldwide.

Michael: Erickson Stock was always a rights-managed collection, but recently you’ve converted some of your library to royalty-free. What was behind that move and how are you licensing it?

Jesse: Yes, we have held on to the RM model well past most other content providers. Jim and I have been against the idea of RF because we wanted to always have complete control over our exclusive collection. And until recently (say the last 18 months), our average customer was willing and able to afford content at RM price points. While we still have many customers who want exclusive and unique imagery that they can be assured no one else or few others are using, the number is dwindling and running a company of 10 people becomes more and more difficult. So as of this week, we now offer roughly half of our collection as RF750. That means a one-time payment of $750 per image gets you unlimited use, unlimited time for 1 client.

(c)Erickson Stock

(c)Erickson Stock

Michael: You have over 10,000 video clips, all directed by Jim, in your library now. How does motion figure into your revenue stream and are you putting any of it into royalty-free?

Jesse: We are very proud of our video collection and we are sure that it is a growth area for this business. Currently, we are keeping all video clips in the RM licensing model. We think more and more broadcast departments are looking at stock video as an option as the quality increases AND the fact that more and more video is being consumed online via desktop and mobile devices. Over the past few years, video licensing revenue has grown to 5%, 10% and now 15% of our overall revenue.

Michael: Many clients now want stills shot at the same time as motion. How do you handle that?

Jesse: Since we get asked to shoot both all the time, we go one of two ways: Either we have 2nd shooters getting stills “over the shoulder” of the DP and during breaks on the video portion, or better yet, we have multiple sets where Jim can go back and forth directing and shooting from set to set. The way Jim directs talent for video vs. stills is completely different, so to get those authentic looking moments, the actors need to reset when switching between the different media.

Michael: What distributors handle Erickson Stock imagery and do you expect that group to expand with your new RF offering?

Jesse: We have had various distribution partners around the world over the years. Given time zone and language differences, it makes sense to do this and partnering with the right distributors is key. We are represented in Japan, South Korea, China, India, Europe, and South America. Those partners can only license to companies and content users within those territories. In terms of the new RF750 collection, I am sorting out those details in the next few weeks, but generally I am getting a positive response about licensing RF at the $750 price point.

(c)Erickson Stock

(c)Erickson Stock


Michael: Is Jim still doing commercial assignments?

Jesse:  Absolutely. As we all know, our business has its ups and downs. Some years Jim is shooting 2-3 major campaigns per month, and other years it could fall to maybe 1 a month. But in general, Jim is still regarded as a top-tier solution to shoot stills and/or video, from brand campaigns to library shoots. I encourage you to check out our new portfolio site at

Michael: Finally, I understand Jim uses team members in shoots sometimes. Have you licensed yourself or your family?

Jesse: Haha – for sure! We often do stock shoots where employees and freelance crew (and often times their pets!) step in as talent. My wife Channon and I have a young son named Chuck who has been talent for Wells Fargo and AMEX as well as numerous stock shoots – he is a total comedian with eyelashes to die for.

(c)Erickson Stock

(c)Erickson Stock

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 3.35.52 PMMichael 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


Many many thanks to the DMLA, Nancy Wolff and DMLA ED Cathy Aron for permission to repost this article on the DMLA blog.

by Nancy Wolff, DMLA Counsel

Answer: YES, there are no restrictions on any use of public domain images, including making them available to users for a fee.

Since Carol Highsmith filed a claim in federal court last week against several DMLA members under Section 1202 of the Copyright Act based on images licensed by such members that she provided to the Library of Congress LOC and were displayed on the LOC website as “unrestricted”, I have received many inquiries about the meaning of “what is public domain” and whether can you license a digital file or sell a work of art that is in the public domain.

First, when any work is in the public domain, anyone can use it for any purpose. Works subject to copyright can be in the public domain because copyright expired or is forfeited; the work is a US government work under US copyright law or the work is dedicated to the public (there is now even a Creative Commons license to dedicate a work to the public).

The purpose of limits on copyright is that the public domain benefits the public and serves the public good. Once a work is in the public domain, anyone can make a productive use of it, including commercializing the work. This applies to all works that can be under copyright, such as images, books and music. You can still buy a book of Shakespeare’s plays published by numerous publishers. Or you can go to the library and painstakingly photocopy each page.  You have a choice. The same is true with images.

Many DMLA members specialize in or include archival material in their image collections and make theses images available to publishers and other users and charge a fee. There is nothing improper or illegal about that. These archives or the collectors have made substantial investments in scanning, enhancing, keywording and making their copy of the public domain work easily searchable and usable. So a publisher can find a copy of an image from another source, but it may be low quality, it may only be in print form and it may not be easy to locate and use. With tight publishing deadlines, having a source of an image that is readily available and searchable adds value and is a benefit to users.

Nor is it improper to call the fee charged to use a public domain image a “license” A license merely means permission to use “my copy”. You can have a license that applies to the access and use of a copy, or it can apply to any sort of IP license such as copyright, trademark or patent. But the term only refers to permission and it is not limited to an IP right.  So archives and image libraries that have some historical out of copyright works can license those works to a user for a specific purpose because those are the contract terms a user agrees to.

More on Section 1202 later.  Section 1202 relates to the removal or alteration to defined copyright management information with the intent to cause or facilitate an infringement. A recent case was just decided under this section of the Copyright Act and we published a blog here.

For more about the DMLA, look here:


Monument- A new solution for managing your personal photos and videos

Welcoming our tech guru Brantlea Newbury back this week with an expert overview of a new storage tool:

I have over 6,000 photos on my iPhone right now. You probably have thousands too and I wouldn’t be surprised if you have to constantly delete photos because you run out of space on your phone. That’s just on my phone, not to mention all the other photos scattered on my computer, external hard drives, DropBox, and Google drive. With every passing day that number of images (and video) gets bigger and bigger. Managing all those photos is a Sisyphean task. Professionally, I manage image libraries but my personal collection is, more of a mess than I care to admit. I could be using Apple’s built in Photos app on my Macs but I’ve never been a fan of it (I use Adobe Lightroom) .


What is Monument?

Monument is a little box-shaped device that houses one or two standard external USB drives and the Monument hardware. It’s unique because you provide the drives, which is great because you can swap them out for more storage as needed (you may even already have a drive you can use).

Monument requires a wifi network to transfer and view images across all your devices. When you launch the Monument app from your phone/tablet/computer, it will import photos and videos from that device to the Monument drive. The same goes for your desktop computer; use the Monument application to import your photos to the Monument device and then all of your pictures will live in one tidy little spot. You can setup Monument to automatically import photos whenever your device is connected to your home wifi network to make backup seamless or choose when you want to sync images.

One big happy Family.

A really cool feature is it’s multi-user compatible so each person in your household can upload to Monument, so all the photos are in one searchable place regardless of who snapped the picture. (Not to worry, there will be privacy options for each user, like the ability to share only certain albums and turn off auto-uploading). Monument hooks up to your TV via HDMI too, so you can all kick back on the couch and use your phone or tablet to create slideshows instead of huddling around one little screen. It’s cross platform too- so it could be an elegant solution for households with both Macs and PC’s, Androids, and iPhones.


It’s in here somewhere.

Just getting all those photos in one place is great, but to make it possible to find your photos, Monument’s software does some important things. It organizes your photos by date taken, camera, and location (if location info was embedded by the camera-it won’t help with your older photos). To filter images even further it automatically recognizes faces, detects scenes and allows you to add tags and of course, create albums.

Finally-one of my favorite features- it detects duplicate images so you can tidy up and save time searching through your photos.

Monument is a physical device that resides in your home, so it offers some advantages over cloud-based storage. The cloud requires considerable bandwidth to upload large batches of images and videos that makes it unrealistic for a large photo library. With Monument you can copy your images directly to your computer to migrate large batches of images by one of two ways; SD card, or directly via the USB hard drive. If you shoot with a camera that uses an SD card, you can copy the photos directly to Monument by putting the card in the slot. Or, and this part I really like, you can disconnect the Monument hard drive and connect it directly to your computer to copy over huge folders of images all at once. When you plug the drive back into Monument, it’ll recognize there are new photos to import. That’s really powerful and will likely make it possible for me to migrate all my existing photos that are currently scattered all over the place.

Backups and scalability

Monument has the ability to connect two external USB drives and set one up as a backup to the other (should one drive fail, you aren’t screwed). To be super-safe, ideally you would have a backup in another location, like at the office or your best friend’s place. You can purchase a second Monument and set it up identically and configure them to backup via the internet. The folks at Monument say it won’t be difficult, and I’d certainly try it. The images still wouldn’t be stored in the cloud, but you’d have physical copies in two separate locations, which is really solid. In the future they may add some kind of cloud integration as well. The other big benefit of Monument using external USB drives, is that you can swap them out for larger drives as you amass more images.

All in all, it’s an intriguing product and I can’t wait to get my hands on one to see if it delivers. Monument starts shipping in September, but can be pre-ordered on indiegogo now for $109. After pre-ordered units ship, it will be available on Amazon sometime later (at a higher estimated cost of about $200). You’ll also need to purchase the external hard drive to use with Monument, but you can get a great 1TB drive for only $60 (and if you’re smart, you’ll buy two so one backs up the other).


bio_photo_brantlea_widerBrantlea Newbery is an expert in digital imaging and archive management. She has created digital workflows, image quality standards, and educational programming for Corbis, PictureArts, Jupiter Images, deviantArt, and Venus Stock.
She is also co-founder of the Los Angeles Explorers Club, which produces bicycle tours that uncover stories of Los Angeles history and culture. .

From an African Viewpoint – Africa Media Online

By Julian Jackson

Africa Media Online is a South Africa-based picture agency, which showcases historical material and contemporary photojournalism, covering the whole of the African continent with photographers who are on-the-spot with specialist knowledge of their area. Robyn Keet, Client Manager with AMO, says, “This focus means that superior coverage can be obtained with expediency, from photographers who have excellent contacts and local knowledge.”

Namibian landscape (c)Jacques Marais/Africa Media Online

Namibian landscape (c)Jacques Marais/Africa Media Online


She explains that they are particular about only using Africa-based photographers. Those that do not have the requisite skills or equipment are brought up to international standards with a training programme. The agency has a social media focus on returning fees to community-based photographers so they have a different emphasis to some of the more hard-nosed commercial agencies – what Robyn calls “Fair Trade Photography”. Africa Media Online has been instrumental in the creation of, in conjunction with World Press Photo – a free resource for professional photographers in Africa aimed at ensuring they can compete in both local and international markets for photography. The training is led by professional photographers and other technical experts, and has had a big impact in helping talented people achieve their objectives in both still imaging and videography.

AMO’s big strength, according to Robyn, is in editorial photography rather than the advertising/corporate sector. Starting in the year 2000 with a single photographer, they have grown to encompass an ever-expanding 180,000 online images, representing over 300 photographers, photographic libraries, archives and museums around Africa. Historic collections going back to the early 1900s are also part of their offering including Bailey’s African History archives and Iziko Museums, master photographers such as David Goldblatt and Graeme Williams, photographic libraries like Africa Imagery and Art Publishers and African archives including those of Mo Amin and the A24 Media collection. They also have the (South African) Times Media archives, which covers a huge swathe of publications going back to colonial times, including painting and illustration as well as photography. They have acted as advisers during the digitization process and helped the collection to reach the marketplace.

Policeman inspecting papers during the Apartheid era. (c)Africa Media Online

Policeman inspecting papers during the Apartheid era. (c)Africa Media Online

Although the apartheid era looms large in the historic archives, with trials, racist signage, and of course the triumphant release of Nelson Mandela from imprisonment in 1990, the collection is much broader in focus. It has images of all aspects of African life – not just safari parks and beautiful countryside, but also features on lifestyle and social subjects like dance studios, migrants and refugees, street vendors, recycling, sports – a cross-section of contemporary life on the continent.

During the soccer World Cup in 2010 held in South Africa – the first time this major championship kicked off in an African nation – AMO and World Press Photo took the decision to train new photographers and give them the opportunity to tell stories about their world, from their point of view. Jean-Pierre Kepseu was one of those selected for the Twenty Ten project. This used the media-friendly circumstances of the World Cup to empower African journalists to tell Africa’s story. 128 text, radio, photo and multimedia-journalists from 34 countries were trained in six workshops held in six countries around Africa to produce content in the run up to and during the World Cup. The top 18 journalists were invited to South Africa to create content on the ground during the event, Jean-Pierre was amongst those selected. The journalists produced 129 photo features, 108 radio features, 170 text features and 20 multimedia features in French and English. Jean-Pierre used the experience to begin supplying daily life images from Cameroon to be sold through Africa Media Online.

Soccer fans during the 2010 World Cup (c)Jean-Pierre Kepseu/Africa Media Online

Soccer fans during the 2010 World Cup (c)Jean-Pierre Kepseu/Africa Media Online

Many distinguished contributors include Greg Marinovich, who has covered working conditions and strikes, including the Marikana Mine killings, where 34 striking miners were shot dead by police, and Roger de la Harpe, who specializes in the wildlife, landscapes and people of South Africa.

Robyn Keet says, “Our contributors have the most amazing vision of our vibrant continent. I hope Visual Connections readers will take up the challenge to explore our site and see how fresh and dynamic our content is, and you will be helping support the developing media of Africa.”

Marikana, the shanty town surrounding an industrial facility (c) Greg Marinovich/Africa Media Online

Marikana, the shanty town surrounding an industrial facility (c) Greg Marinovich/Africa Media Online

juliancoffeshopcuJulian Jackson is a writer with extensive experience of picture research, whose main interests include photography and the environment. His portfolio is here: He also runs a Picture Research by Distance Learning Course Linked-in profile.

The New Optics of Aging: Healthy, Wealthy and Fashion Forward

As demographics change along with an aging population, some wonderful style icons and trends are emerging and taking hold. Guest writer Brooke Hodess takes a look at some of them.

In 2005 The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art premiered “Rara Avis: Selections from the Iris Barrel Apfel Collection.” The exhibit, curated by Stéphane Houy-Towner, featured an assemblage of the then 83-year-old style icon’s personal wardrobe.

In the ten years since, Apfel has modeled for major brands like Louis Vuitton, been the subject of a film by the late famed documentarian Albert Maysle, and created her own fashion items like senior wearables (think luxury FitBits). Not to mention she has an Instagram following of over 281K.

Seemingly overnight, Iris Apfel put senior fashion on the optic map. However, along with the now 94-year-old, people like the late Bill Cunningham, street fashion photographer for the New York Times, and fashion blogger Ari Seth Cohen, have shined the spotlight on sexagenarians, septuagenarians and beyond who illustrate that glamour, beauty and style get better with age.

In April, Cohen launched Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, a new edition of his best-selling 2012 book of the same name that introduced us to senior street style. The follow-up is more of the same delightful, inspired images that turn the idea of the dowdy old person on its headdress and shows women and men bursting with vibrancy, sophistication and confidence.


In an impromptu chat with Sarah Jane Adams during an Advanced Style book signing at MOCA in Los Angeles, the Australian Instagram sensation (@saramailjewels), and one of Cohen’s subjects, expressed hope that the attention paid to boomers and seniors was more than a trend, and we’re moving beyond “heroin chic to more real looking people.” And real includes white hair flying free and wrinkles worn proud. In Adams’s case, her style defies the senior stereotype as she is often shot wearing layered prints and pops of color and carries her beloved Adidas attire, for which she is not a sponsor, as well as any sports icon.

With 16–25 being the typical age range of fashion models, 2016 seems to be the year designers are bucking tradition and incorporating older models into the mix. Calvin Klein’s fall campaign includes Grace Coddington, the 75-year-old creative director of American Vogue magazine. A recent TJ Maxx spot includes (another Advanced Style subject) sixty-something Tziporah Salamon reminding viewers to “be true to who you are.” Online retailer Swimsuits for All placed an ad in Sports Illustrated that featured a gold-lamé-bikini-clad 56-year-old Nicola Griffin. “People think you lose your sex appeal as you get older—but that’s a myth,” said Griffin in a statement via Adweek.

For some designers, the older model isn’t just a piece of the show, she’s the main event. James Perse, an LA-based fashion and furniture brand known for its minimalist $75 T-shirts and rustic chic aesthetic, put 68-year-old Maye Musk (yes, Elon Musk’s mum) front and center for its fall campaign.

Not all see the older woman in fashion breaking beyond the occasional burst of awareness. In an interview with The Cut, 67-year-old former stylist and beauty entrepreneur Linda Rodin said, A beautiful photograph and the reinforcement of older people in general is great. I don’t think it has to be carried beyond that point. I just don’t see it being on the cover of Vogue or Prada doing it every season. It was a one-off and powerful. It was a punctuation to say, ‘Hey! Here we are.’”

Perhaps in some cases it is simply gimmick. Bo Gilbert, for example, was the first 100-year-old model to appear in British Vogue (May 2016), in celebration of the magazine’s centennial. Vogue claims the campaign aims to highlight ageism in the industry. We’ll have to wait and see how that one plays out, but gimmicky or not, Gilbert made history and that’s still progress, however small.

On the other end of the spectrum, in the stock photography world, age diversity is encouraged. In an Alamy blog post that noted technology as a top category in 2016 stock photography trends, they stated, “Don’t limit imagery to youth subjects. Show a wide range ages interacting with modern technology.” And a bullet point when it came to the Lifestyle and Food category: ”People of all ages using fitness technology.”

In Stock Photography Secrets, a 2015 trend listicle noted “images highlighting people of different ages participating in activities that don’t fall under the realm of their usual stereotyped definitions will no doubt become more popular. A variety of different aged people (particularly in groups) is also important to consider when choosing your subjects and capturing them as naturally and realistically as possible. . . . Remember that as the population as a whole gets older due to a longer life span companies are increasingly targeting them.

But are they? As Time magazine cited in a piece for its March 14, 2016 issue, the 50-plus market is a global market nearly the size of China, with an unprecedented spending power, representing 70 percent of the nation’s disposable income. (Another staggering number: boomers will inherit $13 trillion in the next 20 years.) And yet, advertisers seem to be missing the boat. As Joseph Coughlin, director of MIT AgeLab stated for the article, “Marketers still present these years as filled with golf, cruises and a rocking chair.” He added, “The next generation of retirees expects to go out in fashion and with style.”

With people living longer, remaining in better health, and not giving in to old-age atrophy, companies have to create new marketing strategies and advertisers have to design new campaigns that require stock agencies, art producers, photographers and casting companies to use models that mirror the aging demographic, and do so realistically. Perhaps the world of haute couture won’t go beyond novelty, but when it comes to ready-to-wear and common categories—from cosmetics to computers to cars—advertisers are wise to market less to millennials and put more dollars toward their moms and dads.

Brooke Hodess is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles.

Alan Kent Bailey 1963-2016

In remembrance to our treasured friend and colleague Alan Bailey –


Alan Kent Bailey, 53, passed away on July 5, 2016 in Provo, Utah. Alan was born on May 24, 1963 in Salt Lake City to Donald and Mildred Bailey. When he was eight, his family moved to Mexico for two years, after which they moved to Rigby, Idaho, where he spent the rest of his childhood exploring and getting into trouble with his similarly wild siblings.

Alan met and married the love of his life, Laura, in college. Together, they became better, purer versions of themselves and made the world around them better and purer too. They have five children, all of whom they adore and love wholeheartedly.

Alan lived big. He embraced life, especially experiences and people. He loved surfing, ice cream, new socks, museums, watered-down soap, puzzles, and making others laugh. He was both a successful businessman and an absolute goof who grinned as others teased him for his endearing quirks.

There was no discrimination in his love. He loved everyone and helped people realize they deserved that love. He actively practiced empathy by listening to and believing the emotional truths people shared with him. He never assumed he knew what someone was going through and listened with an open heart as people shared. His love was healing.
He was preceded in death by his father, Donald Bailey, and sister Kathleen Bailey Liggett. His mother, Mildred Bailey; his siblings, Carol Bailey Pepiot, Kevin Bailey, Kirk Bailey, and Chris Bailey; his wife, Laura Bailey; and his children, Regan Bailey Gull, Holden Bailey, Q Bailey, Paul Bailey, and Gabriela Bailey live on and miss him fiercely.

The viewing will be held on Sunday July 10 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Canyon View Stake Center, 575 E 800 N Orem, UT 84097. The funeral will be held at the same location on Monday July 11 at 11 a.m. with a viewing from 9-10:30 a.m. prior to the services.

We cannot fill the hole he leaves, but we can honor him by living authentic lives full of love and acceptance.

We can live big for Alan.

Thanks to Rick Becker-Lecrone for the obituary.

Evolution of a Visual Researcher

Laura Lucas of Big Picture Research is one of our valued contributors hailing from up north in Canada. She writes today about the necessity of community and our trade associations.

For many years, I worked the same image research job at a media organization. It was not straightforward but there was an entire team to rely on and teach me the ropes. Surprise! Just several years in, corporate restructuring left me as the sole Visual Researcher. I was still somewhat junior, lacking legal experience and a bit overwhelmed in a niche position.

In those early years, I struggled as colleagues looked to me for answers and decisions about release forms, copyright, music fees and where to find images of “Jesus” or “UFO’s.” It never crossed my mind that perhaps the work I did could be considered a professional trade outside my office walls and that there were others who knew the ropes. I simply had to ask. That’s when a supplier put me in touch with an expert in music clearance. She was the perfect mentor who pointed me in just the right direction to get the answers I needed while learning all on my own. We kept in touch.

Several years later I was invited to a Visual Researchers’ Society of Canada gathering and met a group of colleagues all doing similar work. I was surprised to learn there were so many of us, that our issues and experiences were very common and that requests for Jesus and UFO’s was really just the tip of the iceberg! I felt validated and hopeful that I could become an expert researcher!

I learned quickly to network; put a face to all the people I spoke with each day. I took advantage of a variety of educational workshops this group offered to bolster my experience. Some days we commiserated together and others we shared ideas on how to make our jobs easier and faster! I excelled at my job, became well-respected and eventually outgrew my position. I decided to go freelance!

It was a scary move and I relied heavily on VRSC. The support was instantaneous. Job referrals came my way. Colleagues mentored me at length on starting a visual research business. Travel and tour opportunities to archive facilities presented themselves. The on-going information sharing of contacts, industry news and tips and tricks is gold!

Today, the VRSC numbers close to 100 across Canada. There’s an Annual General Meeting, a full board of directors, a health benefits plan, industry recognition for our field and we have negotiating power as a large body of professionals to get improved prices for our clients. It is clear to me that as the workforce moves toward a freelance business model, there has never been a stronger need for professional trades to band together. You need personal contacts to build trust. Social media just doesn’t cut it.

I have come full circle in my professional life that am happy to serve as a member of the board, eager to promote excellence in the field of visual research and look forward to helping mentor a new group of people that started out just like me.

As an afterwords; other trade associations to explore below – if you are a member of one that we need to know about, drop us a line! – Association of Media Content Users and Providers – Association of Independent Commercial Producers – American Society of Picture Professionals

There are tons others for Picture Agencies all over the world, including, DMLA(Digital Media Licensing Association), BAPLA(in the UK), CEPIC(Europe) and so on.

For Freelancers – The Freelancers Union offers support, insurance, seminars and more.

Headshot3_TEMPO Photography - BERN -6273Laura Lucas is a Visual Researcher and Rights Clearance Officer with 20 years of experience in the media market. She’s worked extensively with TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, with freelance video producers and with archivists and libraries. Having just launched her own company Big Picture Research, she’s driven by the thrill of the hunt to find the perfect image that can help bring a story to life and clearing the underlying permissions for its use. Her archival research work in turn has led her to explore the emerging field of digital estate planning and helping people organize and protect their digital assets. See more and contact Laura here:

Dim the lights on Seventh Avenue – Bill Cunningham

Tributes like flowers are covering the internet with tributes to and memories of revered photographer Bill Cunningham. We can’t top these moving eulogies so we thought we would gather some of them here.

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From the fashion world:

From Salon: ..a model for a creative life..

‘The Eyes of a City’ Gawker

Lynn Yaeger in Vogue tells a moving story with this quote: “Child, who cares if we’re not invited! Who cares about these uptown people! We are downtown people!’’

The diner where he ate breakfast every day, Stage Star Deli .

As Anna says: “We all dress for Bill.”

His muse from The New Yorker:

A Gallery of Mr. Cunningham and some of his images:

Want more? Check out this 2011 documentary on Hulu, Amazon or iTunes: “Bill Cunningham New York.” 

A petition is going as of the posting of this blog to name a street after him – add your name here: