I vowed to avoid work over the longish weekend and forbid myself from posting. But the news of photography and our modern culture piled up. Here is a short, slanted wrap-up:
LINDSAY LOHAN POSES AS MARILYN
I really wanted to say something about this when I saw the images in New York magazine yesterday, but wisely held back. This was a promotional ploy, and it worked—lots of publicity all over TV and the web. But photographically it caused me to wince, and I don’t wince easily. Bert Stern, who famously photographed the “last sitting” of the real Marilyn, took the new photos, but he did Lohan no favors. She looks like a transvestite in that blond wig. She also looks about 10 times more haggard than the real Marilyn did when Stern shot the originals—and that was only a few weeks before Marilyn committed suicide. Above all, the new photos remind us that Marilyn was simply transcendent in photographs. She made pictures better just by being in them. Sometimes photographers have to put their egos on the shelf and admit that it’s the person in the image that makes a picture great.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT: MICROSTOCK FOR $7
Photo District News reports on the on-going effort by microstock agencies to find the optimum price for royalty-free photographs. According to Adam Brotman, senior vice-president of SnapVillage, that price is $7. SnapVillage, owned by Corbis, lets photographers assign prices to their images, and, as Brotman notes, the average price paid for images is $7. The news could be worse, since SnapVillage allows such images to be prices at $1, $5, $10, $25, or $50.
BABY PHOTOS EARN BIG MONEY
But photographers probably don’t see much of it. AdAge.com reports that People magazine is prepared to pay Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony between $4 million and $6 million dollars for exclusive U.S. rights to the first photos of their expected twins. People also reported paid $1.5 million for the first pictures of Christina Aguilera’s new baby. The magazine was rumored to have paid $4 million for pictures of baby Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. According to AdAge, those images drove up sale 45 percent. However, the issue with the first shots of Britney Spears’s son Sean Preston saw a decline in sales of 15 percent. Anyway, being a good baby photographer might be a good business—better, at least, than microstock.
MONKEY PARENTING IS ALWAYS GOOD, PHOTOGRAPHICALLY
With all this otherwise negative news, I’ve got to end on something photographically worthwhile. Below you see one of pictures of the week from nationalgeographic.com. It shows Vale, a four-week-old titi monkey held by his father, Thiago, in London zoo’s new rainforest habitat. Beautifully framed, the photo was made by Peter Macdiarmid for Getty Images.–David Schonauer