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14 January 2013

Getty/Google deal

A veritable s**tstorm has broken out at the contributors' forum at IStock, a Getty subsidiary.   Read about it in a post of photographer Sean Locke here and Getty's response  here    (They locked the Sean's thread!) and continued here  While I have little sympathy for microstockers, I think that Getty has just stepped over the boundary of avarice bigtime.  In a nutshell, they have licensed thousands of Getty/iStock/Flickr (plus other subsidiaries) images to Google to be downloaded free to Google Document users (amongst others) without restrictions.  Well, there are restrictions (if you read the small print) but in my experience, anyone using Google to find images don't bother with the copyright issues relating thereto or "This image may be subject to copyright" on every Google Images search page!  The photographers do get paid - $12.00 for the honour of supplying their work to Google to be used in perpetuity via a freebie download.  This, of course, will affect those finding their images via the Google Search by Image function illegally by infringers as they can now state that they downloaded it from Google legitimately - again for zilch.

I quit Getty in July and the contract ended in mid October so none of my images will be subject to this.  I do have a few images on Getty via AGE but they are RM images and, to date, only RF images are part of this deal.  What is of great concern to those affected is that images of model released people (including children) are part of this nefarious deal between Getty and Google.  Reading the IStock forum, there is still some naivety amongst a few contributors (many are just plain angry) that this is all just a mistake and that some over zealous sales people did this without Getty knowing anything about it.  Yeah right!  Getty would have sent their best lawyers and marketing folk to Google to stitch up this deal (and stitch up their contributors) and with Getty's usual aplomb, not actually mention it to their contributors.  It was only Sean Locke publishing a thread on IStock that anyone knew anything about it.  There is a lot of anger over at Getty/Flickr  when the link was placed to the IStock forum (by a Flickr member Lawren Lu) and the proverbial s..t hit the fan!

It will be an interesting read on Tuesday when someone, poor sod, has to front up to all of these forums with an explanation on why Getty is yet again screwing their contributors.

16 January 2012:  Still no official response from Getty management.  Just employees attempting to put out fires but instead just fanning the flames!  There has been some talk of a class action but I think that it will be like herding cats trying to get photographers organised enough!

19 January 2012: Just received a message from Yahoo.  I have just had the great honour of being banned from the Getty Contributors Forum probably for my views on this fiasco.  They were instructed to ban me by Getty Images.  No reason was given!  Even though I quit Getty last July, I have been posting on the forum without any repercussions from Yahoo until now.  Speaks volumes - Getty does not like any form of dissent. Technically, I am still a Getty contributor - via AGE fotostock but that doesn't seem to count!

20 January 2012.  Just received yet another missive from Yahoo.  Banned from Getty Images Artists Pick - oh, noooo!

For all those Flickr togs reading this, don't wait until 2 February (as some have indicated) to cancel contract.  That leaves even more time for Google to gobble up more of your work as apparently the total is rising by the minute.  It should also be noted that not once did I suggest to anyone on these forums to quit Getty as this decision is purely theirs. So I guess Getty just did a hissy fit, stomped its little feet in a tanty (Aussie for tantrum) and lashed out to Yahoo.  I am certainly not the only photographer on the forum who is no longer a Getty/Flickr contributor or has never signed up for Getty.  Have they also been banned or am I just being singled out?  This is not an ego thing here. Just an observation and a, somewhat rhetorical, question!

Getty has been given enough time (now over a week) to come up with an explanation which will satisfy their very angry photographers who are seeing their work being treated so shoddily.  But that is where the problem lies with Getty.  I cannot see anything that will placate Getty photographers other than them scrapping entirely the "deal" with Google, but of course as that is set in concrete and has been in effect since towards the end of 2012.  Enough time for hundreds of thousands of Getty images to be distributed worldwide for use by websites, commercial sites and every Tom, Dick and Harry.  Photos of their children, their parents and friends - all being distributed without any reference to the photographer and certainly no respect for the content.  Stable doors and horses springs to mind. 


  1. thanks for the heads-up Sheila. Once again I am so so so glad I no longer have any images with Getty.

  2. Hi Sheila. Well, good on you for reporting this and sticking up for your rights. I also terminated my Flickr/Getty contract on Jan. 14th and it was finalized a few days ago. I was also immediately banned from the two Getty contributor forums. They're doing it to everyone my case it was immediate (too vocal on the forums perhaps?) but for some it takes longer. One of my images is available for licensing renewal so technically speaking, I should still be allowed on the forums. But that's o.k. Movin' on now!


After Topaz

Using Topaz Spicify, the image has been enhanced in both colour and "pop". This may be a tad OTT but when printed out, it looks rather good (even if I say so myself!!).

Elderly gents

Image enhancing filters

I have recently been experimenting with different filters for post processing images. Topaz has been one of them. Using the adjust filter, one can change rather dramatically an image which may (or may not) need enhancing. Purists argue that one should not enhance or change an image but in this era, we are bombarded with enhanced movies so it seems a natural progression to enhance still images. The pic directly above is the original image (shot RAW and converted using Adobe Camera RAW).

Rather boring shot of Sydney Harbour

I am going to show how a somewhat boring shot of Sydney Harbour (if there ever could be one!) can be turned into something a little more spectacular. Below is the original shot (shot in RAW format with my Canon 5D) and taken off the back of the Manly ferry.

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour
Rather boring shot of Sydney Harbour


Using Adobe Camera Raw ("ACR"), I converted the raw image with parameters: Blacks 7, brightness +31, Contrast +61, Clarity +77, Vibrance +7, Saturation 72 and a bit of Curves which brought me to the below image.



Flood filter conversion

I then produced a "reflection" using Flaming Pear flood filter. For those unfamiliar with this filter, it gives the image a perception of a reflection (poetical!) and I see it often in publications and I find myself examining ALL images with reflections to see if the photographer had used this very handy filter. I have details of the conversion if anyone is interested but to post it would be a tad boring. Flaming pair flood filters can be found here


Sydney Harbour reflection using flood filter

Sea of Hats

I was on my lunch hour when I was strolling around The Rocks area of Sydney when I saw a group of private schoolgirls on an excursion. As soon as I saw their hats, I knew that there was a good opportunity to get a good snap. As luck would have it, they started to cross the street to where I was standing. I knew in my head the image I was looking for and I had to be above them. With an enormous amount of good fortune, a ramp up to a shop in this old area of Sydney was a few metres away. I raced up the ramp and shot this image. It was taken with my Canon 70-200 f/4L at f/5.6 which gave me a shallow depth of field leaving the centre hat in sharp focus and the rest of the hats out of focus. I submitted this image in late 2005 to the Black and White Spider Awards and it won Outstanding Achievement - People and also won me the Photographer of the Year 2005 - amateur. It really is nice to get recognition of one's work and even though I am now a professional, it still gives me a warm feeling when I look at my certificate!

Sulphur crested cockatoo in flight

This is an image on which I have added a "flood" filter. It is quite effective and quite a nice shot in any event. Flood filters can be found here and they are worth every cent. There is always a debate regarding "Photoshopping" images but as long as one is honest about the origin and digital changes to the image, I think its legimate. The original image, taken in our garden, of the cockatoo actually landing on the lawn, had a piece of its left hand side wing missing so I "replaced" it in Photoshop CS4. Cockatoos actually dislike water and when they start attacking the timber balustrades on our verandah, all I have to do is get out the spray bottle and walk towards them. They are endearing creatures, very intelligent but are enormously destructive. They are very long lived (up to 80 years) so don't even think of buying one unless you plan to outlive it and put up with the high decibels of squawking! I really hate seeing them in cages and they must long to be free when they see a large flock passing by.

Surfing the storm

Late one afternoon, I was snapping at Avalon Beach, Sydney, when a storm approached. This did not stop a late surfer. This image is available as a print via my RedBubble site. Click on image which will take you to the print site.

Sydney Opera House abstract

An abstract look at the famous icon. It is very difficult to take any pics of the Opera House as everyone and their brother has done it before. For this particular image, I used Optikvervlabs filter.

Leopard seal

I took this shot of a leopard seal exhaling bubbles at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. This is, apparently, one of the few leopard seals in captivity. Apparently it was found injured awhile back and is happy in its huge enclosure at the Zoo along with its mate. Through a stock library, this image is to appear as a full page in a textbook.


A portrait of an elderly lady
This is one of my favourite images of Alice, an elderly aboriginal lady who sadly is now deceased. I would occasionally see her at Circular Quay in Sydney and she would often smile at me. I used a Dragan filter to bring out more texture to the image. I am often asked if I have ever been challenged when photographing candid subjects. Only on one occasion, I was asked not to take a photograph of a female street performer which was odd as that is where they often make their money. So, of course, I acceded to her wishes. Many buskers or street performers expect payment for taking their photograph and its something I always do as its their living, as taking photographs is mine. One of my most popular galleries on my website is one of Sydney Aborigines and I have many kind comments on my work. I did have one person, a Sydney academic, who actually called me a thief as she was under the erroneous impression that I was selling images of these colourful folk without payment which in fact is not true. I have model releases from many and I have made subsequent payments to them.

The smoker

The smoker
An elderly man puffs on a cigarette

Mudda Mudda

Mudda Mudda
My favourite subject
Mudda Mudda (aka Cedric) is an aboriginal busker who is often found at Circular Quay, in Sydney, accompanying other aboriginal buskers. He has such a great face and this image won me a UK award last year for traditional portraiture here