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.