Mayes explains that photographers who once categorized themselves as either exclusively commercial or fine artists are now juggling both titles respectively. At Photonica, popular contributors include Elinor Carucci and Kamil Vojnar, fine artists who have made careers within the gallery circuit long before ever venturing into commercial photography. By reaching wider user pools, Mayes believes fine art character is achieved commercially. Style once reserved for the art-going public can now be seen more popularly on book covers, in dot-com ads and in periodicals throughout the world. "The market," he continues, "is much more receptive to imagination." As a result, the agencies and publishers serving the market are paying closer attention to aesthetic shifts, especially about how they relate to production and the growing need for immediate buying power.
Innovation on behalf of artisans and consumers has also nurtured a digital awareness that's having a heady impact on both publishing and advertising sectors. At Photonica, Mayes admits that while photographers still tend to submit their works in print, he has noticed a far greater demand for digital format retrieval among his client base, which consists of mainly advertisers, designers and editorial art directors for book and magazine publishers. To appease clients who need high-resolution images fast, Photonica, like many agencies, deals in both digital and analog formats.
Mayes explains that a client wishing to order an image from any of the agency's offices in New York, San Francisco, London or Tokyo headquarters can do so by way of a 70 mm. transparency, 48 MB TIFF or 10 MB JPG. The scanning and prepress conversion for clients, as well as for the company's own lush tri-annual catalogs, are handled in Tokyo, where Photonica has set up a digital laboratory. "We've always prided ourselves on being ahead of the curve," notes Mayes. As a result, he adds, "Some of our competitors have become more adventurous."