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Very informative article about photo agencies

There’s always someone somewhere asking about photo agencies so I believe this article is very helpful:

http://www.photomediagroup.com/archive/2005-fall/agencies.html

by [a former member] at 2006-05-19 12:15:48 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Amsterdam , Netherlands | Bookmark | | Report spam→

I think this goes to what Jon has been saying here for a longtime about how agencies do sales, and the relationship between the agency and magazine. Some agencies pitch pictures and some pitch photographers. You can divide them up yourselves, its pretty easy and I think you can decide which group those three fall into— although they certainly point the finger at each other, don’t they? I think its in our interest to deal with the latter rather than the others. But there is no rule. I just ran into Mario Tama from Getty here in NO, and I am not a big Getty fan, but I have seen Mario’s stuff and it speaks for itself. He is one a handful of photographers that “get it.” So someone up at Getty doing the right thing. I am sure that goes for Corbis too, as there a number good shooters on LS are working reguarly there, and taking important pictures. Alan Chin and Angela Jimeenez are with WPN. But I think that the very size of some agencies (Getty, Corbis, or even Reuters/AP/AFP) and their corporate structure are in the long run not conducive to developing photographers in the way that vii, Magnum, Contact, and certainly what Marcel did/does at his various places.

Generally, you are not going to get the time of day from most agencies, so don’t be disoouraged by a few rejections. At least three of the rejected me, and that was after almost 20 years in the business, or maybe because of it? Too bad, because I was in the right place at the right time, and given support from one of them we could have done very, very well with Katrina. But thats the way it goes, and I have now a nice relationship with Contact and slowly we are making progress with a picture here and one there, and assignments are picking up. But its been a four year process even after what many would have consider a career. Go figure?

by [former member] | 19 May 2006 15:05 (ed. May 19 2006) | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
I agree with Andy, pitching photographers that “get it” is the way to go, but it is the way of the elect, and the newbies are not going to be able to get into those slots so easily. Of the bigger agencies, I have heard good things about Getty from several of its members, but Corbis is getting bad grades. When I get a chance i will look the article over.


Btw, Andy, I would gladly suffer several rejections if eventually I were to start cultivating a relationship with Contact Press! Finding the right fit is what it is all about, and patience and a steel nerve are required. but above all being smart enough to know yourself and where you belong, that is the key.

by Jon Anderson | 19 May 2006 18:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Andy,
I was flipping through Time and started reading an article about the gangs of NO and how they have taken their crime with them where they evacuated. I checked the credit on the photos and said to myself Hey he’s a LightStalker. That was a couple hours ago and then here you are talking about how you are getting some assignments with Contact. That is why I love this website. Thanks to everyone.
-rad

by Radhanatha Jakupko | 19 May 2006 18:05 | Florida, United States | | Report spam→
Way to go Andy!

by Jon Anderson | 19 May 2006 19:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Been checking the article, which is long, but its compressed history of the agencies has some details wrong. Black Star was not a cooperative, like Magnum, and the sidebar makes it seem as though Black Star came along after Magnum in the wake of a new kind of agency structure. Not true. Black Star is one of the oldest and its black and white library included images from the beginning of the 20th century. Black Star documented the rise of Nazi Germany, but it is true that its star rose in the 60s and again in the 80s (as Andy will attest) with superb coverage of the major social events of those decades. Under Howard Chapnick’s visionary leadership it achieved legendary status and gave Magnum a good run for its money.

by Jon Anderson | 19 May 2006 20:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Its odd that both you and I, Jon, were so influenced by Howard Chapnick and here we are on Lightstalkers, trying to help educate and inform which is what Howard was all about. Howard loved photography, opera, and he was a pretty good gambler too. If he were around I think he would be all over this site and I suppose he really is because we are both products of his vision. By the way, it was a pair of German brothers that started Black Star, and they hired Howard early on. Do you remember their name— I want to say Mayer, but I am not sure of that. I still remember the smell of those yellow envelopes to this very day that held the b/w, including great civil rights photos by Charles Moore— I think I have still have some in my NYC apartment. I used to “index” pictures on little cards, so the researchers could pull slides. It paid $135 a week I think. Christopher Morris spent a lot of time filing that stuff too….this was on Park Avenue South at 31st Street.

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 00:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
Its odd that both you and I, Jon, were so influenced by Howard Chapnick and here we are on Lightstalkers, trying to help educate and inform which is what Howard was all about. Howard loved photography, opera, and he was a pretty good gambler too. If he were around I think he would be all over this site and I suppose he really is because we are both products of his vision. By the way, it was a pair of German brothers that started Black Star, and they hired Howard early on. Do you remember their name— I want to say Mayer, but I am not sure of that. I still remember the smell of those yellow envelopes to this very day that held the b/w, including great civil rights photos by Charles Moore— I think I have still have some in my NYC apartment. I used to “index” pictures on little cards, so the researchers could pull slides. It paid $135 a week I think. Christopher Morris spent a lot of time filing that stuff too….this was on Park Avenue South at 31st Street.

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 00:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
There were three original partners in Black Star, Kurt Safranski, Kurt Kornfeld and Ernest Mayer. All left Germany in the mid 30’s thanks to Hitler’s unique politics and formed BS in New York. I just happened to read this on the plane tonight on my way home. It’s from the book “Truth Needs No Ally” by Howard Chapnick. Which, to complete the circle is a book, recommended to me by Carsten Bockman, who is a photog who Jon Anderson suggested I contact as we share some similar photogrpahic interests. Small world no?

by Dan Bannister | 20 May 2006 02:05 | Calgary, Canada | | Report spam→
Howard’s book is something everyone should read when starting out and at midcareer too in order to remind oneself why one does what we do. It had a tremendous effect on me, and of course I was lucky enough to meet the photographers Howard talks about, and I even worked with several of them. Black Star was a special place in many ways. Many of us started out like Chris Morris, working the library, shooting in one’s spare time, waiting until one had gathered enough material or could come in with a hot story that they just had to have. I can remember going through the massive library and marveling at the history of the 20th century it contained. My favorites were the older guys,though, people like John Launois who are no longer remembered but were consummate professionals. And there were many characters there too. Flip Schulke is one such. The best drawer in that library contained the work of Eugene Smith. I used to linger there and look through the prints reverently. That was a wonderful experience. Black Star put out a huge edition that provided an overview of their library holdings if anyone is interested in looking it over. I helped work on that book but my work is not in it (I was still just starting out).


There are other Black Star alumni on this site. Todd Yates is here, Malcolm Linton, Jason Pagán (who has just started an agency of his own), and a few others. Dont get me started reminiscing. I learned a lot at Black Star, and I find that it is only just now bearing fruit.


I hadnt thought of it Andy, but I think you are right, LS is very much in Howard’s vein, I think in a way he would be well pleased with what he finds here. The spirit of Black Star lives on. That is comforting.

by Jon Anderson | 20 May 2006 08:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
PS: I always thought Black Star had the coolest name in the business. I wonder how that name came about.

by Jon Anderson | 20 May 2006 08:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Yeah, LS would be a great source of new talent. That was my job for awhile, screening porfolios. I sent Steve McCurry into Chapnick and he passed on Steve. I always get a kick out of that. McCurry had a bunch of photos of a flood in Johnstown, Pa. and was headed to Aftghanistan. There was something about his desire that impressed me because the pictures weren’t special…..as for the story behind the name, I forgot. Something about a mark on the back of the prints maybe? The other thing is, Howard had a funny habit of miss-placing folders full of slides, and then all those girls from the South Bronx would comb the office looking for the folder. Toni and Luz, don’t know of you met Luz, I am sure you know Toni. Black Star was the only agency staffed from the Bronx.

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 11:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→
And Queens too, dont forget! Toni was like my second mom, though I think she is younger than I am, but as the Life editor in Beyond Words put it, “photogs are just like children really.” Lots of talent here on LS. As for the name, I think you are right, Black Star does in fact have something to do with the stamps or a mark on the prints, which did have a star.

by Jon Anderson | 20 May 2006 11:05 | Back Home, Dominican Republic | | Report spam→
Antionette….

by [former member] | 20 May 2006 11:05 | new orleans, United States | | Report spam→

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Participants

Jon Anderson, Photographer & Writer Jon Anderson
Photographer & Writer
Ocala Florida , United States
Radhanatha Jakupko, Photographer Radhanatha Jakupko
Photographer
Alachua , United States ( GNV )
Dan Bannister, Photographer Dan Bannister
Photographer
Calgary , Canada


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