Posted Thu Mar 21 3:51AM
I am seeing many exclusives go indie and I would like to open a thread for those who want to say Thank you for all the good times here and maybe share a bit why we made our decisions.
istock changed my life. Completly.
I love this place and always will. I met so many wonderful people here, learnt so many things, was "drafted into the team" helped to build the German language community. I would like to thank everyone on this 8 year journey into stock so very much - thank , thank you, thank you!
Unfortunately, events of the last two years and especially the last 6 months have left me feeling bewildered and confused. I simply don´t feel this is the same company with the same goals as when I joined. Change is normal, new owners, new managers have their own idea of what they want from istock. The company is privately held, so obviously it is the owners prerogative to do with it´s akquisition whatever they want.
However, I never felt that istock belonged to strangers. I somehow always felt it belonged strongly to the community as well, that we were all working together to build the best stock marketplace ever on the internet.
That feeling has disappeared for me and I started to question if full artist exclusivity is the right path for my portfolio. I also live in Germany where many artist prefer image exclusivity with one of the local European agencies. I also learned that many are making a full living wage of several thousand dollars a month by being indie and spreading their files everywhere, with a few exclusive images or shootings for different agencies.
I have to admit as an istock exclusive I never knew, that it was even possible to generate a high income if you were indie. Very naive, I know.
Nevertheless, when 2013 came I was determined to focus on video for the year and stay istock exclusive. There are so many good portfolios and artists out there, I wondered if I would even be able to compete.
But then we had the Microsoft drama (which affected me greatly with 25 files and over 1.3 million free downloads), the Getty/Google deal and the overall bizzare communication strategy employed.
I simply don´t see the business path the new managers are following. I don´t understand the decisions they make. I look at the falling traffic, the sad monthly threads and I just don´t get it.
So, somehow, one day there came a point where I said I must move on. I can´t hold on to an "illusion of istock" that I no longer feel matches the reality of it all.
It was a very, very difficult decision. I know it will take me at least two years to regain my earnings, or at least this is how long I believe it will take.
So please don´t follow my path, unless you have decided for yourself that it really is the right thing for you.
But looking around my peers, I see many familiar faces going indie who apparently had similar thought processes and came to the same conclusions.
I will still supply istock, alas with content suitable for google until that problem is resolved, and I do look forward to being active in the community here.
But most of all I would just like to say thank you for all the wonderful years and I look forward to many more, even if there is a bit more distance.
The stock community is very strong and well connected. We are more than just suppliers of pretty pictures.
See you here and also everywhere!
PS: istock, exclusive images as a third option is a wonderful idea...
Posted Thu Mar 21 4:00AM
Jasmin, you've always been great with your fluent and thoughtful contributions. Good luck with your chosen path.
I have decided that the only way to remain here is to accept that this is not a community-led business, and let the people we pay to do the job, do their jobs. No good wasting good worry-time over this.
At the same time, the community continues to perform a strong role, by keeping iStock up to the mark in so many ways, and I hope this will continue.
Posted Thu Mar 21 4:01AM
good luck Jasmin, i have always liked reading your posts here, and best of luck to all those who have become non exclusive
Posted Thu Mar 21 4:21AM
Best of luck in this new chapter of your journey Jasmine. Like you I will always be extremely grateful to iS for the friendships, the community and the knowledge that if I could travel the world I would have somewhere to stay whereever I went ... that is an amazing feeling.
Posted Thu Mar 21 6:38AM
Good luck Jasmine. I hope to meet you again someday and will keep an eye for your work.
Posted Thu Mar 21 11:18AM
Hey Jasmine, best of luck with your new ventures!
I will be joining you as an independent at the end of this week.
I'd like to echo your gratitude and add some awe ... I started with iStock in 2006 and went exclusive less than 2 years later. Being exclusive offered strong benefits and my non-stock photography business grew in parallel to my sales and portfolio here at iStock. Perhaps the coolest thing that happened as an exclusive with iStock was when JJ offered to fly Valentin in to give a workshop in my hometown to a bunch of photography club members. I met Camron and Brycia then too. We had a blast, made great photos, and more importantly I made a really cool friend and got a better perspective about how global this business is and what a small world (in a good way) it can be working with people all around the globe.
I didn't lightly put my name in the yellow bucket for Rich's Utah Super-minilypse. I have to admit, before then, I really hated to travel (or thought I did) and I'd never been very far from home. Told myself, if my name is drawn, it's a sign, I have to go! Well out popped my name and a new adventure began. I drove across the country and saw things I'd only seen in movies. Met really amazing people and experienced just how big 'lypses and Mini-lypses could be. I made my fastest ever selling image there, with the help of Superman himself. It got it's 1000th download today.
Utah got me hooked on meeting up with the awesome photographers and inspectors here. Next it was Toronto and then Raleigh for me. All really big experiences that I won't soon forget.
It's a little nostalgic opening a new chapter and reflecting back, but I hope to keep in touch with iStockers and maybe even frequent gatherings in my neck of the woods, if only socially. I'm still planning a shoot with a top shooter here in May. And I have half a mind to cobble something together on a trip through Raleigh later this year. Who knows how different things really will be.
Congrats Jasmine, and luck to you and other newly or soon to be independents. Best wishes also to everyone doing your thing here!
Posted Thu Mar 21 11:51AM
I had a great time meeting you in Utah and you might not realize it, but I looked to you Rich, Sean and pretty much everyone else there as the "Big-Time" stock photographers to admire and look up too. I have no doubt you'll be successful in whatever you do and I hope I get to see you again at some photo event.
Posted Tue Mar 26 7:39AM
I read Jasmin's post with great interest. I do find it disconcerting when long term, entrenched iStockers bail on exclusivity. Other high profile members like Jasmin have recently choosen to pursue an indie route. I have never met a fellow istocker, nevermind ISP/Getty staff etc, so when members who I perceive to be more connected to the community and maybe the inner workings of the machine start exiting it causes me some concern.
Good luck Jasmin and I really, really wish you success in the indie world of microstock. Please keep us up to date on your progress.
Istock has indeed changed lives and also changed the business of photography - for the good. I hope that one day soon the present owners and management of this company do all they can to win you and your cohorts back into the exclusive fold.
Posted Tue Mar 26 8:42AM
Thank you Jason! You were one of the first people I talked to at Utah, and since that was my first 'lypse, I was a little nervous about meeting everyone so, thanks for helping me fit in! Would definitely love to hang with iStocker's anytime you're in my neck of the woods or there's a good social to travel to.
Fertnig, I hope you are right in your last paragraph. iStock's been a launch pad for tons of people.
Sean said a really sweet goodbye on his blog yesterday. (I know, you don't usually put those two words in the same sentence ) I won't link it here, but it's appreciative of the people he met here including staff, and an inspiring quick look back at how he got his start (didn't even own a camera).
(Edited on 2013-03-26 08:43:16 by bmcent1)
Posted Tue Mar 26 9:06AM
Well kidos, were gonna miss you guys n gals, but each person has to do whats best for their business. Good Luck to each of you. See you at the pastuers fence line where we can share stories about of fields of gold.
Posted Thu Mar 28 4:42PM
Um... looking for the women's restroom? No?
Posted Thu Mar 28 4:44PM
...and Jasmin, I remember you from years ago. It's been a while since I've uploaded, here.