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It's no secret that professional photographers are being forced to sell their photos on stock photo websites for a loss just to try and make a name for themselves.
Technology advances help us in a lot of ways, but sometimes it's so frustrating to feel like you're competing against the teenager next door with an iPhone or GoPro.
"Photographers can't act as a group for their interests against exploitative agencies," Julia Forsman, a London-based professional photographer, told the Independent.
This is why she went on a search for a stock photo agency where she had more control of her creative license. This control came in the form of Stocksy, a platform co-operative for photographers.
Though co-operatives are not as popular in the U.S. as they are in other parts of the world like Europe, they're growing.
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"The co-op model makes the photographers organized as an agency, which means that there is nobody to exploit them," Forsman explained.
Stocksy's high-standards means their photographers can command higher pay. Photographers average between 50% and 75% of their proceeds, whereas most other stock photo websites only offer 30% at most.
Platform co-ops like Stocksy popped up in answer to the problem of the gig economy. Problems with the gig economy include top-down businesses, like when Uber executives make millions of dollars and their drivers can make under minimum wage.
Stocksy is also democratic. There is a forum where users can submit an idea, no requirements attached, and once 10% of users have voted in favor of the idea it goes to a board for approval.
One of the issues this forum solved for users was whether a membership cap should be lifted. The cap previously sat at 1,000 members, but not all of them were full-time photographers and buyers wanted more content.
Now, users vote to freeze the cap each year.
In 2018, Stocksy pulled in $10 million. While this is by no means close to competing with large stock photo websites, it's growing. Plus, it's letting its' photographers grow with it.
Via The Independent