Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Associated Press and Commercial Assignment Work

So, a colleague forwarded me a promotional e-mailing for commercial photography services, promoting a case study of their "83 locations one week" project for UPS. From the mailing:

Assignment: UPS 100th Anniversary Tour
For the Centennial Global Tour, UPS marketing agency The Spark needed photographs from around the globe for a traveling exhibit showcasing exceptional employees who embody UPS values.

With a one week deadline, The Spark and UPS turned to AP Images to capture the spirit of these celebrated individuals in over 80 UPS locations around the world.

Locations: 83 locations
Deadline: 1 week


Results: By utilizing our global network of photographers and AP bureaus, AP Images quickly assigned photographers in the designated locations. Each photographer was able to capture the employee at their UPS location and quickly transmit the photos. The assignment was completed on time and on budget.

The photographs are the centerpiece of the UPS Centennial Global Tour, which will travel to UPS locations around the world and will also be made accessible to the general public throughout 2007.
(Continued after the Jump)
It then goes on to talk about "AP Images", which is a division of the AP that not only has the library, but is not being aggressive in their outreach to produce commercial photography:
About AP Images
AP Images, a division of The Associated Press, is one of the world’s largest collections of historical and contemporary imagery. As an essential source of photographs and graphics for professional image buyers, AP Images strives to meet the needs of today’s global customer through superior image quality, selection and service. For more than a century, AP photographers have captured the greatest moments in history, news, sports and entertainment, receiving 30 Pulitzers and numerous other awards in honor of their contribution to the images that shape our world.
Below is the actual e-mailed graphics, which shows some of the assignments commissioned for the ad agency's client, UPS.


I can't image that they'd send out their $200 a day all rights all expenses included photographers to shoot these types of assignments, but who knows, maybe they did. If so, and if each commercial portrait assignment was priced appropriately (i.e. at the low end, $1,500 or so), that's one hell of a markup for the AP, and if they are paying their assigned photographers an appropriately negotiated assignment rate, and taking an appropriate comission and then further representing those images in their library for future licensing with a traditional photographer/agency split, then I think that's a good thing.

One concern I have, is it says "...By utilizing our global network of photographers and AP bureaus...", so, the AP bureaus, which are news bureaus, are now serving as commericial photography assignment offices? Are the AP staffers being used? Is this a violation of their guild/union agreement? How are they being additionally compensated if they are being used? Or, are the bureaus calling upon their stringers to do this work? Lastly, could these commercial endeavors risk any non-profit status that the AP enjoys?
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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Imagine that...........one of the "pillars of photojournalism" screwing photographers.

Please tell me it ain't so.

I guess you still need the AP to spell scum......I mean........cheap.

Anonymous said...

The AP is already blurring the line between what is considered news or journalism and commercial or for-profit work particularly in entertainment. They finally realize the revenue that they can produce by increasing their entertainment coverage and are doing so mostly for sales through AP Images and not for the added coverage on the news wire.

Anonymous said...

Well John remember your post about Carol Guzy doing a spread for the business section? What else are the owners of these photo horses supposed to do let their stallions sit in the barn. Hell the enthusiasm alone for these Missouri graduates is unbridled and ready to unleash. Wouldn't you want to write home to your folks, who dropped several thousand bucks on your PJ degree, and tell them you got to do some ad work for UPS, Hell yeah. Of course your parents wouldn't be smart enough to ask "So if you weren't shooting for the AP what would you have gotten paid?"

cvxv said...

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