Lensrentals Enters Drone, Virtual Reality Markets

Lensrentals Enters Drone, Virtual Reality Markets

In a sign of the growing maturity of drone photography and virtual reality gear, Lensrentals is expanding its rental gear list to include products in both categories. Headlining the company’s drone offering are several models from DJI, including the Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2 drones, plus related accessories. When you rent a drone, you’ll be redirected…

The post Lensrentals Enters Drone, Virtual Reality Markets appeared first on PDN Online.


Source: PDN GEAR

Lensrentals Enters Drone, Virtual Reality Markets

Unsplash CEO Tries to Justify Copyright Grab

Unsplash CEO Tries to Justify Copyright Grab

The co-founder and CEO of Unsplash, the photo-sharing platform that asks contributing photographers to grant free licenses to their images, attempted to justify the company’s terms of use in a blog post written last week. The post follows outrage by professional photographers, who blasted the company on social media. Unsplash’s terms are terrible for photographers, both amateur and professional. (Read our previous post here for more on those terms.)

Mikael Cho of Unsplash titled his post “The Future of Photography and Unsplash.” In the future, Cho claims, a photography license has no value. Photographers trade away the commercial rights to their existing work in exchange for exposure and a larger audience—to whom they can presumably sell something—other than their images.

“We believed the good from giving our images away would far outweigh what we could earn if we required payment,” Cho writes. Cho isn’t a professional photographer. According to his LinkedIn page, Cho worked in marketing and PR before assuming a creative director role for an apparently defunct company that, according to their Twitter profile, wanted to “help” people with ideas build their startups. Cho went on to co-found Crew, an online database of freelance designers and developers (who do not work for free), and then, in 2013, Unsplash. In response to questions PDN emailed him, he said the images he’s referring to “giving away” were commissioned for the Crew website. “We paid for the rights to the photos and confirmed permission from the photographer to use them on Unsplash,” he told PDN. So when Cho says “our images,” he’s not speaking as a photographer.

Earlier this year, when Cho announced in another blog post that Crew and Unsplash would split into independent companies, he also mentioned that they’d managed to raise $8.5 million from investors and still had roughly $5 million in the bank, about $3.5 million of which was funneled to Unsplash, Cho told me. “We do not make profit with Unsplash today,” he said.

Apple, Facebook and other companies have used Unsplash users’ images in product launches, in-store displays and social media ads. However, Cho says Unsplash did not earn any money from those “collaborations”: “The only money we ever received from Unsplash photos was to cover the cost of producing the Unsplash Book,” Cho told me. “All the profits of the Unsplash Book were split with Unsplash contributors featured in the book.”

We went through other justifications Cho sent us about the Unsplash terms of use. We are still not convinced. Here’s why.

The Lots of People Will See Your Images Argument: Cho argues in his blog post that photographers “don’t need to come with an audience or have an agent to be great on Unsplash,” and makes the claim that photos featured on Unsplash are seen more than those on Instagram or the front page of The New York Times. To support this assertion, Cho cites a single Unsplash contributor whose 28 photos have been viewed 140 million times, and downloaded more than 1 million times. Pressed for more evidence of this claim, Cho shared the following figures with me: A photo featured on Unsplash will get “an average of 20m views on Unsplash.com” and 100,000 downloads. He claims that each download generates 1000 views, and thus he arrives at a figure of 120 million views for a featured photo. Cho doesn’t say who downloaded the images and for what purpose, or how he knows how many views a downloaded Unsplash photo gets. So we have to take him at his word that if you put your photo on Unsplash it will get 120 million views. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not that sounds realistic.

The Other People Are Doing It Argument: Cho also cites examples of other creative professionals who have given their work away as a way to justify his company’s model. Timothy Ferris released a chapter of his book for free, Cho writes, and Chance The Rapper released his album Coloring Book via streaming services—he didn’t sell physical copies or downloads. These are false comparisons, however. Ferris gave away a chapter to promote book sales when Barnes and Noble refused to sell his book due to a dispute with Amazon, Ferris’s publisher. Apple Music paid Chance The Rapper $500,000 so their users would have a two-week exclusive on streaming the album, and the musician was also promoting his live performances, for which people still have to pay. Neither artist gave their work to another company and allowed them to use it for free to sell anything, which is what the Unsplash license allows.

He also writes that, “Filmmakers distribute trailers for free on YouTube to sell a movie. Musicians release free songs or entire albums on SoundCloud to sell concert tickets. Authors give free chapters and pour thousands of unpaid hours into blogs to sell a book.” Of course, none of this includes giving away the commercial license to the entire work. I asked Cho about these comparisons, and for examples of other creators who have given away free commercial licenses to their work. His point was not to make direct comparisons, he told me, but “to say that there have been platforms that enable us to express and connect either for the sole purpose of creative expression or creating an audience for something else.” I asked for examples of people who have given away a free commercial license to their work. He cited a blogger, the Wikipedia page for “Public Domain,” and Elon Musk giving away the Tesla patents. I am sure plenty of professional photographers will relate to that last one.

Photographers have and will continue to publish their work online and on social media as a way to grow their audiences. We’ve written extensively about how photo sharing platforms such as Instagram have allowed aspiring photographers to build careers in non-traditional ways and without the recognition of gatekeepers such as photo editors, curators, art buyers and creative directors. They do this by sharing their images and building an audience online, not by giving away for free the right to use their images in ads without compensation.

The Image Licensing Business is Declining Argument: Citing data from Shutterstock, Cho makes another argument in his blog post, which is that the value of a licensed photo continues to plummet. It’s true that the stock photo market has changed drastically in the digital age, and that increased supply has driven down the value of stock images, but many professional photographers still earn a portion of their yearly income through image licensing. Even the annual report figures Cho cherry picks from Shutterstock indicate that image licensing earned Shutterstock contributors $115 million last year, up from $100 million in 2015. True, they had almost 100k more contributors in 2016, so the average per-contributor earnings went down to $511, but it’s hard to claim there’s no value in licensing images—as long as someone else isn’t giving equivalent images away for free.

The “It’s a Way to Make Relationships” Argument: As his final point, Cho asserts that the real value of photos is “As relationship makers.” By publishing their images on Unsplash, Cho writes, “Many have booked client work after posting just a couple photos. Some have been flown around the world on photo shoots. Some have gotten enough work to leave their jobs and become full-time photographers. Some have been able to build audiences for new products.” The stories he shares, however, are not those of professional photographers. None of the writers have substantial client work on their websites. (One user did manage to raise more than $400,000 on Kickstarter for a modular organizer he created, although the connection between that project and Unsplash is unclear.)

When Cho writes, “Every Unsplash photo turns into a billboard for our contributors. And the future business model of Unsplash is about creating relationships through the unique attention and use each photo creates,” he presents no compelling evidence to justify asking his contributors to give away a free commercial license to their images. Nor does he explain the potential impact that giving images away for free could have on the value of images. He writes that “the most common uses for Unsplash photos are presentations, blogs, or personal projects.” Ok. But there are plenty of images available to people for non-commercial use via the Creative Commons license. Why, I asked him, is a commercial license necessary? “It provides clarity,” he told me. “Being able to use a photo however you want is much clearer than, ‘you can use this photo for X but not Y and not Z.’ We believe and are seeing there’s a net positive result for contributors from this clarity.” A Creative Commons license would allow for all of the relationship- and audience-building that Cho claims to want for his contributors, while guaranteeing that his contributors aren’t being taken advantage of by the “people who use Unsplash photos freely who may have hired a photographer if Unsplash didn’t exist.”

Unsplash has been in business since 2013, and it wasn’t until they recently reached out to professionals and asked them to contribute that this site even came to the attention of many in the professional photo community. The imagery on Unsplash isn’t likely to make it a competitor of professional photo licensing services anytime soon. I do hope, however, that aspiring professionals realize that their work has value, and that giving away their copyright to a platform such as Unsplash undermines not only that value of their own work, but of professional photography as a career.

When Cho writes that “Every industry evolves,” he does so after making clear that he has little knowledge of the values of the photography industry or appreciation for the work of professional photographers. And when he writes that if you, the photographer, adapt in the “right” way (presumably by agreeing to his company’s insulting terms of use) to the changing market, “you’ll be the one to disrupt yourself,” he invokes the emptiest tech industry jargon. He suggests he’s more concerned with some future IPO than with the “creative community” of which he claims to be a part.

The post Unsplash CEO Tries to Justify Copyright Grab appeared first on PDNPulse.


Source: PDN Pulse

Unsplash CEO Tries to Justify Copyright Grab

KENZO Is Debuting Natasha Lyonne-Directed Fashion Film

KENZO Is Debuting Natasha Lyonne-Directed Fashion Film
Fashion films are having are moment amongst many fashion houses who are embracing the medium, and KENZO is the latest to put their stamp of approval on it.  The French fashion house has collaborated with iconic film stars and producers resulting in two Tribeca Film Festival award nominations, and this year, KENZO has announced a film entitled Cabiria, Charity, Chastity written and directed by Natasha Lyonne (of Orange is the New Black fame) in her directorial debut, with an all-star cast of…

Keep on reading: KENZO Is Debuting Natasha Lyonne-Directed Fashion Film
Source: V Magazine

KENZO Is Debuting Natasha Lyonne-Directed Fashion Film

Adidas x Alexander Wang Season 2 Is Arriving

Adidas x Alexander Wang Season 2 Is Arriving
Alexander Wang loves a good rave. That’s how he staged his AW17 collection, and that’s how he’s presenting the just-released teaser for his second unisex collaboration with Adidas Originals.
In the short film, bikers with balaclavas speed around town putting up posters with a number: 917-512-7715, before ditching their bikes and heading into a bass-thumping rave. It’s not just a film narrative; the posters are going up around town, and Wang wants you to call in. Hacking the retail formula, …

Keep on reading: Adidas x Alexander Wang Season 2 Is Arriving
Source: V Magazine

Adidas x Alexander Wang Season 2 Is Arriving

Rag & Bone’s Fall 2017 Campaign Features Lottie Moss and Selah Marley

Rag & Bone’s Fall 2017 Campaign Features Lottie Moss and Selah Marley
Rag & Bone is taking bold strides to revamp the traditional ad campaign. As part of their fall 2017 campaign, the NY based label tapped famed fashion photographer—Glen Luchford—to shoot an array of fresh new faces and rising talent. Among the stars featured, was newcomer—and half-sister of iconic model, Kate Moss—Lottie Moss. The lineup also included Lauryn Hill’s daughter, Selah Marley, as well as musician-turned-model, Staz Lindes.
When asked about the project, CEO and founder…

Keep on reading: Rag & Bone’s Fall 2017 Campaign Features Lottie Moss and Selah Marley
Source: V Magazine

Rag & Bone’s Fall 2017 Campaign Features Lottie Moss and Selah Marley

Lanvin Announces New Artistic Director

Lanvin Announces New Artistic Director
Following the surprise departure of Bouchra Jarrar, Lanvin has appointed a new creative director: Olivier Lapidus.
The house has struggled to find its footing since Alber Elbaz’s exit in 2015, reporting a 23% drop in sales in 2016. Jarrar’s stint was short lived: 16 months compared to Elbaz’s 14 years.
The incoming Lapidus was previously creative director for Balmain Homme in 1985, and currently runs his own label, Creation Olivier Lapidus (described as an e-couture brand). It’s likely…

Keep on reading: Lanvin Announces New Artistic Director
Source: V Magazine

Lanvin Announces New Artistic Director

McQueen’s Nephew Gary James Releases Printed Scarves

McQueen’s Nephew Gary James Releases Printed Scarves
Graphic designer Gary James McQueen, nephew to the iconic late designer, is releasing a line of printed silk scarves as “a tribute to Lee,” with whom he worked alongside from 2005 to 2010.
In a short clip posted by Hilary Alexander, the graphic designer featured a film in which “an angel-type entity is reflecting back on its life through a star,” then dies and “disperses energy through the universe.” The video itself represents a visual manifestation of the cycles of life, death, and reb…

Keep on reading: McQueen’s Nephew Gary James Releases Printed Scarves
Source: V Magazine

McQueen’s Nephew Gary James Releases Printed Scarves

London Fashion Week Alters Schedule to Give Journalists a Rest

London Fashion Week Alters Schedule to Give Journalists a Rest
It’s not just the designers that are feeling fashion burnout. Yesterday, Caroline Rush announced that the British Fashion Council in conjunction with the Council of Fashion Designers of America are altering London Fashion Week’s schedule so that there will be an extra day for journalists and editors to get to London after the New York shows.
With mounting pressures and accelerating product cycles, the question of mental strain and exhaustion on the part of the designers has been broached for…

Keep on reading: London Fashion Week Alters Schedule to Give Journalists a Rest
Source: V Magazine

London Fashion Week Alters Schedule to Give Journalists a Rest