Getty Images has long been considered the premier provider of high quality photography with over 80 million images and over 50,000 hours of stock film footage for business or consumers. While they're based in Seattle Washington Getty Images has offices all over the world capitalizing on internet and CD-ROM distribution.
In 2008 Flickr inked a partnership with Getty Images to create the Flickr Collection within the network of Getty Images which allowed selected photographers of all levels the chance to showcase their amazing talents on the Getty website and get paid for their work. Thousands of everyday photographers along with a good crowd of elitist photographers were now happily....for the most part and proud to be part of the Getty collective.
This relationship was not without its fair share of problems and a ton of unhappy photographers. Groups created for Getty Images Contributors on Flickr many times had issues with curating photos and the submission process would be closed with communication from Getty being vague at best or totally non-existent. These private groups were filled with long threads from photographers asking when curators looked at photostreams, when the submission process would reopen and then those streams of photographers bragging about how many pictures they've sold through Getty and with that came the whole "you owe us" mentality of certain photographers.
Since its creation Getty has very aggressively acquired it's competition buying mostly privately help companies and in 2000 it squashed one of its main competitors, Archive Photos of New York, but all the kings horses and all the kings men could not make things work well with the Flickr Collection.
March 10, 2013 all Getty Images Contributors from the Flickr Collection received an email stating " Today we are announcing that we provided notice to terminate our existing agreement with Flickr. Our original agreement reached its end, and while we continue to be open to working with Yahoo!/Flickr, we have not agreed to a new agreement at this time......"
Even though Getty says they are "very proud" to have worked with photographers from Flickr and how they've "thoroughly enjoyed and been inspired by our experience working within the Flickr community" many photographers feel uncertain about their futures with Getty Images. Adding fuel to the fire has been contributors being banned from the very groups created for them simply for expressing their opinions, by the very corporation trying to assure them that "We have never been more committed than we are now to expanding on what we've started together."
Photographer Remi Thornton shares why he terminated his contract with Getty Images which involves his images for sale on Cafe Press His relationship with Getty Images also started through Flickr and not to be left out photographer Thomas Hawk also expressed his concerns about the alleged "scheme" Getty Images has been up to in his blog posting "How to Lose Control of Your Photos With Getty Images."
Here's the thing, it's 2014 and the line between who is and who isn't a "professional" photographer has been blown out of the water. Like it or not expensive camera equipment and photos tweeked to death in photoshop doesn't make one a "professional" Anyone with a camera is a "professional" and while some photographers look down on those they consider to be"Less experienced photographers (amateurs)", Getty Images has giving them a platform to shine. While the platform may not be perfect, it is a platform to showcase their talents which is far more than what "professionals" would be willing to offer.
The world of photography is constantly changing from the end of the Kodak era to the beginning of photography produced by cameras on cell phones. Anyone can stand on a red carpet and anyone can take a fantastic picture. Getty Images recognizes this and is doing all they can to keep their competitive edge.
So while a half a decade relationship between Getty Images and Flickr appears to have reached the end of the road, the long overdue acknowledgement of a talented bunch of photographers who happen to be in love with the art of taking pictures, the magic in capturing special moments and the thrills of seeing their work hanging in a photography show or for sale on Getty Images continues.