|Written by Jon|
|22 Jan 2008|
Getty images up for sale, read all about it.
With the announcement in the New York Times that Getty Images is up for sale at £800 million it seems that visionary Mark Getty wants a lotta cash. The "old" oil meanwhile has seen its price go through the roof whilst the new photography (in the agency sales arena) has seen its price driven downwards. All by one starbucks outfit named Getty.
The Getty arm wields industry changing power in both the Oil and Photography markets and it seems to be having a detrimental effects to life as we know it. Maybe there's a connection between a desire to venture capital on a dictatorial, human rights abusing, environment polluting oil producing nation somewhere in the world along with a dodgy deal that no doubt stitches up a local popluation, keeps them in poverty, extracts enormous wealth at the expense of pretty much everyone else and the desire to run a world photographic agency? We could be in Nigeria, Iraq, the USA or UK for that matter. Its a dirty business oil.
And so is photography it would seem...
Buy now and sell later, spend lots and I mean lots (make sure its more than your closest rival), completely decimate the photography industry and establish yourself as the key player without any history, just large pockets and mug your competitors, then start some cock and bull story about the rise of amateur photography cutting into your profits and have the audacity to complain that the value of photography is not what it used to be.... NO DOUBT!
And then there is the PR spend, the awards, competitions, festivals, organisations with proud histories and standards and hard won reputation who took the Getty dollar in "sponsorship"... it was never about you it was always about them and now they haven't got any brand to trumpet its going to be harder than if you had never met them in the first place to find a way to carry on. After all the line you gave at the time was that they were the last source for the underfunded photography community and it was not the ideal choice at the time, just the only one and a rich one at that.
It's good ideas that make good photographs and there haven't been many of those in a Getty boardroom, perhaps ever. So one could say it was inevitable. The invitation is now out for a new beast of limited photographic provenance to step in. I fear they too will look like the oilmen, more interested in corporate takeover, algorithms and searchengine optimisation. Gobble Gobble my money's on Google.