06 Jun 2007 Microstock in the Press – New York Times

Microstock has really hit the big time in its mainstream press coverage. The New York Times has just published an article explaining the microstock market and comparing opinions of professional photographers.

The article features four microstock contributors. The first is Lisa Gagne, the contributor with the highest quantity of downloads on iStockphoto. It reports that she earns more than $100,000 per year. Also featured is food specialist microstocker Kelly Cline who generates $42,000 a year from microstock (60% of her total income, $70,000). She too is exclusive with iStockphoto. Not so the third microstocker, Stephen Coburn, who contributes his significantly smaller portfolio to multiple websites, earning $6,000 per month on average. Stephen microstocks part time around his day job at Adobe Systems. Finally, Michael Shake is mentioned as earning $1,000 per month contributing to 10 microstock agencies.

Grumpy Old Man, Silvia JansenThe article gets interesting when towards the end it profiles David Skernick, an established professional photographer resisting the microstock revolution. David maintains that microstock is devaluing stock photography stating, “This is the death of beautiful photography”.

This article both introduces the basic concept of microstock and highlights the microstock vs macrostock debate. I understand that most of the general population don’t know about microstock, making it the position of mainstream media to inform them via articles like this. That the same article also explains the microsock vs macrostock argument is pleasing. The more it’s known, understood and debated, the sooner we can stop hearing about it.

(The image in this article is for illustration purposes only)

Update: This article initially mentioned Michael Shake in place of David Skernick by mistake. My apologies to Michael for the error.

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