AerialStock and how it came about
AerialStock.com is my online archive of aerial images shot on assignments and for pleasure.
Way back in the late nineties, I purchased the domain name, AerialStock, plus a couple of variations. Within a month or so, I started sending slides for scanning to NancyScans in New York, plus scanning images on my Imacon 343 scanner. The idea was to present my more abstract and graphical aerials to the advertising and corporate world.
From Getty to Corbis and back to Getty
At that time, the majority of my licensed aerials were available through Getty Images.
In 2009, Peter Schnaitmann at Corbis invited me to join Corbis and to place my material in their rights-managed libraries.
That was one of the smartest moves I’ve made in my career.
Sales were strong and I started making real money from my images, right up until Bill Gates, the owner of Corbis, sold them to a Chinese company that was affiliated with Getty images.
The change in market.
Sales via Getty started to quickly drop off and I decided to put more effort into AerialStock and to place RF images with Westend61 (a wonderful German boutique agency) and RM with GalleryStock.
Now days, stock photography (at least for me) is a pretty minor part of business, compared to a few years ago. The images on the AerialStock site are licensed at a fair RM rate and the collection is 4000 plus images.
There have been a few, actually a fair amount, of “borrowing” from the site and I’ve used Permission Machine to go after the folks who decided that it is easier to steal rather than pay a fair price. It is always a chuckle to hear the sad tales of East Hampton real estate agents who claim that they did not know that the aerials, originally shot for Vanity Fair, were not free. Even though they are earning commissions on multi-million dollar properties. In every instance, almost as if it were a script, the blame their web designer for the “oversight”.
The collection includes aerials of New York City (an ongoing project), my long-term archive on the Chesapeake Bay with selects from my book, Chesapeake, plus many North American cities.
The site is hosted by the good people at PhotoDeck. They are a small group that is focused on hosting secure photography web sites with excellent SEO and ease of use. Check out these sites (also hosted by PhotoDeck) of a few colleagues: Stephen Alvarez, Greg Latza, Ira Block and Stephen Kennedy.
Photodeck also hosts my CameronDavidson.com site. I’ve linked to AerialStock from my main portfolio site and also via my LinkedIn page.
SCANS from Velvia and Kodachrome
I look at the scans made in the early 2000’s from Velvia and Kodachrome transparencies and see all the faults in film: dust, scratches, not all that sharp but, one significant advantage to film then was there was considerably more highlight detail. The scans are really good, and when I compare them to the files from my Fuji GFX 100s, well, there is no comparison. It is pretty amazing to me to see how far digital technology has come since then. A sharp, low-speed medium-format transparency does not hold a candle to the new cameras except in highlight detail. The GFX 100s with its 16 bit dynamic range takes care of worrying about highlights on water or in landscapes. I have switched to the Fuji system for all of my photography.