Sunday, March 9, 2014

Get Real About Getty

What would you do if you were Getty Images? If you're a big player in the banana market, you get to call the shots on the price of bananas.

The decision by Getty Images to make 35,000,000 images available for free makes sense for Getty. Getty is responsible to Getty.

Over the last 36 hours, my social media stream supplied a reaction ranging from "photographers hate Getty's plan" to "a second nail in the coffin of stock photography" to "welcome to the new world order of stock photography." "Surprise" was not among any of the headlines.

There seems to be a great need to re-mourn the death the stock photo world and re-indict Getty for its murder.

If you are going to criticize Getty, what is your beef? Is it that they try to pay as little as possible for content? (Who doesn't?) Is it that they destroyed the stock industry? (Someone was going to figure out how to take advantage of the emerging digital market.) Is it how they have driven down the value of what we do? (Who hasn't?) Do you expect them to be looking out for our best interests or their own?

So, the smart professional photographer doesn't operate solely within the Getty universe. The smart professional photographer knew this five years ago. Slinging rocks at Getty at this point doesn't make sense for the profession.

Our time would be better spent advocating for professional photography to the people who need to hear it, instead of complaining about the price of bananas to all the other monkeys. 

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