Browsing through flickr groups today I came across a photographer who was thrilled that his photo ended up on the cover of Time Magazine. At first I thought well done but further reading revealed that Time bought the image from istockphoto.com; an image anyone can download for a 12 credits (total cost $25.25 AUD).
The photographer would have received a fraction of this purchase price.
The photographer didn’t even receive a photo credit (not that photo credits are worth much more than bragging rights).
This case highlights the dangers of micro stock and how it is driving the price of photography down in all sectors of the photographic industry and how it has permeated through to some of the biggest editorial publications in the world. A photographer would normally expect to receive in excess of $2,000 US for a cover shot on an iconic magazine like Time.
Neither Time or istockphoto.com can be blamed for this situation; photographers who go down the micro stock path do so with no regard for the value of photography and are responsible for driving prices down.
The Time Magazine cover shot can be seen here.
The New Frugality indeed! The Time eds were certainly being frugal when they stumped up for the cover shot!