From Across the Pond – Pictaday

by Julian Jackson

Pictaday is a German expo similar to Visual Connections. It takes place every year, alternating between Hamburg and Munich. This year it was at the Panoramadeck on top of the Emporio Tower in Hamburg, with a fine view of the city and harbour on a grey day. I went along to meet the 60 exhibitors – mostly photo agencies with a smattering of software, consulting, legal and other organisations present.

Pictaday © Julian Jackson

Firstly let me praise the catering – there was a buffet in each of the three rooms, with what I would say was a fine spread of food. On this evidence the German market is doing well!

The first people I spoke to were on the table of the organisers: the BVPA, which translates as the Federal Association of Professional Image Providers, who are the German equivalent of the DMLA or BAPLA. Interestingly, they have just started providing a course on how to set up and run a photo agency. On successful completion of the program, students receive a qualification, “BVPA Certified Licensor” which they can put on their website. The reasoning behind this was that many people in this digital age find it easy to start a photo agency, but they can quickly get into trouble and fail because they don’t know the basics. This short course, while voluntary, aims to give beginning stock agencies the expertise to succeed.

Overall, the industry picture was similar to the North American and UK markets: stagnating prices make trading difficult. That said, the event was buoyant. Organiser Matthias Jahn told me that with over 500 image professionals registered to visit, this was a good turnout. Pictaday has been so successful that they are considering holding the 2019 event in Berlin as there seem to be enough potential publishers and users there to make it viable.

Picket fence hanging rack © Flora Press/Melli Freudenberg

On the Panoramadeck was a full spectrum of German agencies, with a wide variety of subject specialisms, from royalty to cartoons. Some global agencies like Shutterstock, Alamy, Bridgeman and Science Photo Library also had a presence.

epa (european pressphoto agency) was formed in 1985 and is a partnership between nine agencies, with over 350 staff and stringers all over the world, licensing images outside Germany. They normally distribute over 1500 per day but that can double with big events like the soccer World Cup.

Dana Press concentrates on images of royal families, including the Scandinavian, Spanish, and UK royals, as well as other less well-known royals from around the world – they syndicate both text and images. They also have a lifestyle agency which concentrates on that genre of picture.

Mato is a food, travel, and general photography agency. They are also a publisher and produce lovely coffee-table books on food, which had me salivating.

Traditional Lombard Food from Italy – © Massimo Ripani/SIME/MATO

Illustration was represented by cartoon specialists catprint media, who are syndicated widely in German magazines and newspapers.

Lifestyle photography included Jump, 123RF, and imageBROKER.

Artothek covers art, mainly classic collections from German museums – which looks like a good source for hard-to-find art. Flora Press is about plants, gardens and agriculture. Vintage Germany does what it says on the tin: a source for historic images of Germany.

There were some other companies and organizations present, which included collections management, archival and exhibition printing, photo research, digital watermarking, copyright infringement, and DAM software. The atmosphere was lively, and friendly, with most people speaking good English. Did I mention the food? – I think I put on several pounds that day. There were plenty of places to hold meetings – either in the main rooms, or for more confidentiality there were a couple of small boardrooms which were available.

My only criticism of the expo would be that the event leaflet just listed each exhibitor and where their table was. Most similar events I have been to have a comprehensive listing with contact details, website and an image or two. This would have been useful as I wasn’t able to talk to every exhibitor: there just wasn’t enough time. Overall, a productive day with lots of new contacts made.

© Jump

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