getty images

Flickr has announced Curated Connections, but what exactly is it?

When Flickr and Getty announced earlier this year that they'd not be renewing their licensing deal, I suggested that it might not be long before Flickr unveiled its own in-house licensing project. With well in excess of five billion images on its servers, Flickr has a huge stock library waiting for exploitation: easy sales for Flickr users and a cut for Yahoo! is a win-win situation. We had a four-and-half month wait for the grand reveal: today, Flickr announced its Curated Connections project. Well, I say it was a grand reveal, it was more of a swift overview.

Sign-up! Sign-up! Although it's mostly a wait for information now.

What is Flickr offering photographers who sign up to the Curated Connections project? It's a good question that doesn't have an especially solid answer, for the announcement is curiously light on specifics. The Flickr blog post tells us that they are: 'excited to introduce a new way for you to partner with photo agencies, editors, bloggers and other creative minds who are seeking original content like yours.' But there's no indication of what this new system is or how it will operate.

Flickr's curatorial team will be there to 'provide assistance, outreach and connectivity to help you get your photos licensed!' But it doesn't detail what this will entail. It's hardly surprising that with such a vague outline of what they're planning there isn't any significant information concerning such trivialities that interest photographers, namingly licensing terms. We're told that they'll be transparent and easy, although as things stand the terms remain mythical beasts.

The sign-up page tempts users with suggestions that their images might be used by media behemoths including the BBC, Gizmodo, the New York Times, and Reuters. There's even a mention of previous licensing-partner Getty. As you might expect from a Yahoo! owned company, there is potential for your images to be used on other Yahoo! owned, sites, too. Part of the 'outreach and connectivity' that Flickr hopes to offer are opportunities to complete commissions and assignments. Flickr's definitely talking the talk here.

Being able to share your images and make them available for licensing in one place is appealing—and it's something that other photo-sharing sites, for example 500px and EyeEm are also beginning to entertain—but so much of that appeal is going to depend on how the deals are cut and the terms under which images are released. Allowing Flickr to deal with the tedium of bureaucracy might not be suitable compensation if the remuneration is insufficient. Will it walk the walk?

Cake Can we have a baked and iced cake, please, Flickr? It beats a half-remembered recipe.

So do tell us, Flickr: what exactly are you proposing here? There's a lot of ethereal chatter and not much substance. I'm sure that you're excited by your new project and you want us to be excited about it, too, but it rather helps if you share with us the pertinent facts. It's something of a half-baked non-announcement at the moment. We've no idea if the cake's carrot or chocolate or something else entirely. Provide us with an actual announcement that you've baked and iced and we might be slightly more enthusiastic. Or not. Depending on what you suggest (I prefer lemon, for reference).

If you are interested in Flickr's Curated Connections, you can sign up here.

Getty Images Grants applications open today, with awards for editorial and creative photographers

Getty Images is celebrating the ten year anniversary of its grants programme by offering a range of awards to photojournalists, portrait photographers, and non-profits working in collaboration with photographers to get their projects off the ground. There are five awards of $10,000 each being made available to photojournalists looking to pursue projects of both personal and journalistic significance as part of the Editorial Photography grants.

Previous recipients have included Paolo Marchetti, for his project Fever, which explored the re-emergence of European fascism and Lynsey Addario for the 2008 Darfur project.

2008 Editorial Grant Recipient Lynsey Addario “Darfur”- Ismael Adam Abdullah, who is among the last dozen people from the Zagawa tribe in Muhajariya, reaches for some sugar from one of the UNAMID soldiers in the early morning next to the UNAMID base where they are staying in Muhajariya, in South Darfur. Photo by Lynsey Addario.
2008 Editorial Grant Recipient Lynsey Addario “Darfur”- Ismael Adam Abdullah, who is among the last dozen people from the Zagawa tribe in Muhajariya, reaches for some sugar from one of the UNAMID soldiers in the early morning next to the UNAMID base where they are staying in Muhajariya, in South Darfur. Photo by Lynsey Addario.

Furthermore, a $10,000 Lean In-inspired grant will be awarded to a photojournalist looking to bring to light a significant but under-reported story focused on girls or women who've brought positive change to their communities or personal lives.

These awards will be judged by a panel including David Furst, International Picture Editor, The New York Times; Teru Kuwayama, Photo Community Manager, Facebook; Sarah Leen, Director of Photography, National Geographic Magazine; Jean-Francois Leroy, Director General, Visa pour l’Image; and Amy Yenkin, Director, Documentary Photography Project, Open Society Foundations.

Applications close on 15 May 2014, with more details available here.

Two grants worth $20,000 each will be awarded under the Creative Grants programme, allowing non-profits who do not currently have the resources to work with photographers or videographers to further their causes, but recognise their value, to do so. There's also a Lean-In inspired grant for this programme, which will be shared by a photographer and creative agency whose joint proposal is to develop imagery for a nonprofit they choose to support which focuses on issues related to empowering women, girls, their families, and communities.

Finally, the Contour award will offer $10,000 to support an up-and-coming portrait photographer. She or he must have fewer than five years' experience in the field, and the award will be based on their existing portraiture work. The judging panel for this will be chaired by Terry O'Neill and include Cheryl Newman, Director of Photography, Telegraph Magazine; Stuart Smith, Designer; and Michael Hirschl, Director of Creative Delivery, BergHind Joseph Agency.

2013 Contour by Getty Images Portrait Prize Recipient Maja Daniels “Mady and Monette.”
2013 Contour by Getty Images Portrait Prize Recipient Maja Daniels “Mady and Monette.”

More information, including terms and conditions and entry details, are available on the Getty Images InFocus blog.

From iStockphoto to iStock by Getty Images

Seven years after Getty Images acquired the microstock agency iStockphoto, they've embarked on a name-change and rebranding programme. iStockphoto is now iStock by Getty Images, and there's a new logo to accompany it. istock logo

Dropping the 'photo' from the name was reflective of iStock's business: they don't just deal in photos, but also vectors, illustrations, video, and audio tracks. But the addition of the 'by Getty Images' was an attempt to raise iStock's profile. Lots of people know about Getty Images, but not so many knew that it owned iStockphoto. Now they will.

OJO Images joins the iStockphoto stable

Microstock megalith iStockphoto has announced that it's added another house to its stock photography village in the form of OJO Images. From today, all of OJO images 31,000 royalty-free files will be available exclusively through iStockphoto, which is in turn a part of Getty Images. They're expecting the number of files to increase to 45,000 by the end of October this year. Between its ever-expanding image archive and a new long-term pricing strategy, which prices half of its image library at half price, iStockphoto is claiming that acquiring content is now easier (and cheaper) than ever for those who need it. That's great for publications and companies, but not necessarily for photographers who sell their images as stock.

It isn't just iStockphoto that's owned by Getty; so are Jupiter Images, Thinkstock, Clipart.com, and Stock.XCHNG. As the centre of stock photography power gravitates closer and closer to Getty Images, we're drifting towards a situation that affords people who try to sell their images fewer options and fewer rights. The unpalatable Getty contract is one issue; so is the inability of smaller, more fairly priced stock houses competing against the image behemoth. Piled-high sold-cheap images from one of the biggest names in stock photography are easy for businesses in need of images to buy and use and harder for photographers to make a living by selling.

One man's tea is another man's poison, I suppose.