Creatives Under Siege!

Creatives Under Siege!

The LA TIMES published this article last week painting a bleak outlook for Creatives in general.

Take a look at the artwork they utilize, an April 2009 cover of TIME magazine in which they report the main image of a mason jar containing change only cost TIME $30 dollars to license illustrating how high end photographers are getting crowdsourced...
out of once lucrative careers.

It's worth a read, and worth extending the conversation especially given we (Art Director types) are all being pressed hard to reduce budgets.

Check the comments section where a healthy debate ensues with Kelly Thompson the COO of  iStockphoto jumping in with some reasonable defense against those who think stock photography is total evil.

According to Thompson iStockphoto pays out to photographers "$1.5 million weekly in royalties and there is more great artwork in the world -- not less."

Detractors say companies like hers are flooding the market with mediocrity.

Either way that's a lot of images when the price starts at $1!

So where do you stand?

Are we headed towards an abyss of mediocrity as budgets shrink away or is stock photography and the modern culture of "FREE" just another angle to the game and quality work will always rise above the masses?

I think it's funny that the article reports that Time paid $30 to license an image of a jar of change for it's cover story, The New Frugality. How do they know the Art Director wasn't a Method Designer?

UPDATE:
Great article posted to PDN today regarding a magazine called Pilfered that encourages contributors to steal online imagery. View the story here.
  • Mark Kaufman

    The devolution of photographer/illustrator/designer wallets, commissions, and work opportunities is a very old story. While we all rail against smaller or virtually non-existent budgets to produce quality work, it seems that the "stock villains" are also feeling the pinch because of competition from crowd-sourcing operations such as iStock. Veer recently shifted their business model to microstock, and in the process shifted their rights-managed catalogue over to their Corbis site.

    Things is tough all over, for the publishing industry, for creatives, and now traditional stock image companies face many of the same issues; increased competition from crowd source/microstock sites, reduced billings, leveraged buyouts, multiple rounds of layoffs, new technologies, and on and on and on. The vicious circle will come full circle, when new unthinkable business models wreak havoc on iStock's market share and very existence.

    Anxiety is the new normal.

  • Ralph

    If you have an editor who says...

    "... with all the other cutbacks he faces, it's hard to justify spending more than the $6 he pays an online photo distributor for a decent picture. The picture might not be great, or fit the story perfectly, but it will suffice."

    You will have a crappy magazine. Print will not survive into the future unless it offers something you can't get online. A well edited, thoughtfully arranged object.

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