Today, an art director from anywhere in the world may browse images online, as compared to the old "hunt and pick" model, wherein that same art director (provided he/she resided in a major metropolitan enclave) would be required to visit a local stock art agency, pour over transparencies or catalogs and manually make selections that would have to be sent to a prepress house for scanning—all at additional cost and time. Now that searches can be conducted directly from an art director's desktop, high-resolution images are delivered faster via e-mail. At Photonica, Mayes has noticed a decisive East and West Coast shift towards utilizing this digital terrain, whereas the midwest still leads in lingering analog demand. Mayes attributes Photonica's catalog success to traditionalists within what the ASMP estimates is a $14 billion-a-year business.
and Verizon, the digital shift hasn't been the only cultural conversion. Broader attention is also being paid to minority subjects, says Mayes. Among the aforementioned clients, there's growing demand for greater ethnic and sexual awareness, specifically utilizing African-American, Hispanic and gay and lesbian themes. Mayes notes that Photonica has beefed-up its stock to appease this burgeoning interest, having consistently invested in highly creative images within the U.S. niche for more than 10 years. He says, "Boundaries have merged and I'm anticipating more of the same. I'd say emotional resonance in a good photograph is inescapable." As for the threat of image fatigue, he's skeptical. "We're getting smarter," champions Mayes. "It's liberation of the picture."
-Natalie Hope McDonald
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