Archive for February 25, 2013

POTW 25 Feb 2013: Nissan Pivo

A car photo, just because. FYI, it’s the still experimental Nissan Pivo 3, demonstrating it’s astonishingly small turning circle and easy parking abilities, just see the YouTube Pivo video. See more in the Nagoya Motor Show gallery in my PhotoShelter portfolio. This image is available for instant download at web and full-poster sizes, as well as for print and product purchases.

Internet freedom threats again

Here we go again… According to the respected Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), CISPA is potentially back in the US (EFF). It is supposedly to allow private companies to eavesdrop on us, which the police would normally require a search warrant for. However, the private companies can gather any information they want, and then hand it over to the law enforcement. Effectively circumventing privacy laws, whilst deteriorating a fair justice system. Effectively, companies and law enforcement in the US can begin to collude, especially for the benefit of companies. Too bad if you support independent film makers, or are one yourself, and too bad if you support freedom of the press, an ethical media, and no media blackouts. Here’s EFF on Google+. In any case, I’m glad I’m not American, but hating the fact that this law will surely affect everyone else beyond America’s borders.

State of the Stock

Well, State of the Art didn’t seem appropriate, so I opted for the title above. I’ll admit, I first started to meddle with photo sales via iStock, and it was a good way (easy) way to start, but not a good way to stay. A camera costs about USD$2,000 to $5,000 and it needs to be replaced every three years, just to keep up. Then, there’s the cost of a computer and all its software that needs to be upgraded and maintained, and eventually replaced, too; usually on three to five year cycles. You can see a summary of my costs and how you can get free photos from me on this info page. So basically, it’s expensive to do professional (or semi-pro) photography. So, iStock generously pays about 20 cents per sale. Consequently I decided to leave that, once they offered me a certain level of rank after achieving some acceptable level of downloads or sales. I looked around and found that that Rights Managed licensing was still common, and still earning. Everything I saw about iStock just looked like it was all about making the company owners rich, and nothing for the “contributors” (aka photographers).

Recently, Google bought a whole stash of photos for use as clip art like images for their Google Drive / Google Docs applications. The earnings photographers got was a grand total of $12, despite the fact that the photos could have sold multiple times, but are now freely available via Google Drive. Effectively, the products of hard working photographers was given away for free in perpetuity. A single photo shoot with models, make up artists, site costs, post production can cost anywhere between $500 and can at times go beyond $5,000. And in return photographers in iStock were paid $12 (PhotoShelter blog post). In short, the cost to benefit of remaining at iStock is stupidly in their favour.

A store keeper replenishing his snack displays in Gion, Kyoto.

A store keeper replenishing his snack displays in Gion, Kyoto.

Consequently, again the iStock community got angry and organised themselves an internet equivalent to industrial action. Thanks to Image Brief on Twitter for sharing this PhotoShelter blog post which describes how iStock seems to have had no qualms in dumping one of their best and top ‘contributors’. It’s absolutely shameful how iStock has treated its members, and I’m glad I quit ‘contributing’ years ago. In contrast, I have to say that my agent Henry Westheim, PhotoShelter, and Image Brief aren’t bad at all.

In case you’re wondering, this is a photography blog, so most blog posts should contain at least one photo. Even if it is randomly selected. 🙂

POTW 11 Feb: Valentines Day

This Photo of the Week (POTW) is for Valentines Day. Japan picked up the European day, and so it’s a time when young couples have another excuse to hang out and go shopping together. Here, in this model released photo, is a young Japanese lady waiting on the bench outside of a restaurant. Many popular restaurants have such seating for customers, as Japanese people are patient enough to wait for a table to be available at a restaurant with a good reputation, and of course Valentines Day is sure to make people wait longer, or line up earlier. This, and other images like it, are available on my PhotoShelter portfolio.

Japanese companies share prices fall

Recently, both Nissan (BBC, Japan Today) and Sony (BBC, Japan Today) saw their share prices fall as a result of weak demand for their products. Sony has not produced any or enough innovative or game-changing products in the last few years, and has become an industry follower, rather than a leader as it had been in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Furthermore, I’ve had problems with Sony products that have made me an unhappy camper, so I’m sure Sony is struggling with not so much innovation problems, but customer satisfaction issues. Nissan, on the other hand, is perhaps affected by the weaker US auto-economy, but Japan Today claims that tensions between China and Japan has led to a drop in Chinese desire for Nissan cars. Japan Today claims a 5.3% drop in sales has led to a 35% drop in profits. For images of Nissan see my agent’s website, and my portfolio. Sorry, I don’t have any suitable Sony images available, yet.

Update (14th Feb 2013): BBC report on the Japanese economy shrinking further.

Nissan at the biannual Nagoya Motor Show, 2011.

Nissan at the biannual Nagoya Motor Show, 2011.

POTW 4 Feb 2013: Naked Man Festival

On Saturday the 16th February will be the Naked Man Festival to be held at Kounomiya, near Nagoya on the Meitetsu train line. It’s a major cultural event that attracts often a very willing and volunteer group of about 13,000 men (of various sizes and ages), and about 130,000 on-lookers (women of all ages, and a lot of guys, too). I’m sure because the event coincides with a weekend day this year, the crowds will swell… no pun intended. I will be icy cold after all. I’ve blogged about this event recently, providing a lot of info to help photo editors, so see here for that well-detailed info on the Naked Man Festival.

See the Naked Man Festival gallery on my PhotoShelter porfolio for more photos like this, or my agent’s website.