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Some history and my two pence
After advertising college in Cape Town I freelanced as graphic designer in London and Munich. Imaging soon became my forte, so started retouching and compositing for London photographers and creatives. I started to get a feel for photography and decided to invest in a Contax 645 film camera and Elinchrom studio lights. Shortly after that I bought the first Nikon digital slr and really enjoyed freedom from polaroids and film labs. Its hard to believe that a good A3 film scan costed around £60.
At the time I shared a house with Los Angeles based photographer Ron Eshel. At a house party I met Mark Austin who invited me to contribute to a royalty-free photo library, Digital Vision. Erwin de Boer also contacted me to submit rights-managed images to Photonica. Getty Images has since gobbled both of the above. As well as contributing to Getty's house brands I also submit to Photographers Choice, a collection that allows select photographers to edit their own images at a fee.
In the early days I teamed up with photographer Michael Duerinckx and thereafter David Malan to create shared images. These collaborations were lots of fun and very productive. Since then Micro Stock libraries and all sorts of high value sales schemes have made the market much more competitive. But even micro stock is not as profitable as it was hoped to be. Yuri Arcurs, one of the main players in that arena, is now moving content towards higher price models to increase profits.
My advice to people starting out is to create images that are difficult to replicate. Many advertising and design creatives use stock images in layouts with the intention of reshooting or replacing them with cheap alternatives, this doesn't always work out. Thats when many sales are made, allbeit often at staggering discounts. Of course there are times when an image is just right and bought straight away, but price will always be a big factor when budgets are tight.
Some notable licensees of my images: Unilever, Elle, Vogue, Microsoft, MTV, Boots, Mens Health, Samsung, HSBC, Time Magazine, The New Yorker, NBC, BMW, Fiat, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Discovery, Wall Street Journal, Facebook, Google, Newsweek, Focus Magazine, Yves Saint Laurent, KPMG, Hyundai, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan, ABC News, Eurobank, LG, BBC Magazine, Paperbox, Media 24, Mastercard, Clinique, The Guardian, Ericsson, Standard Bank, Harper Collins.