Bruce Livingstone Looks to Revolutionize the Stock Photo Industry (Again)

Montreal native Bruce Livingstone is the founder of stock photography companies iStockPhoto and Stocksy. The former, which he started in 2000, is now one of the most well-known names in the industry. Livingstone sold iStockPhoto to Getty Images in 2006 and launched Stocksy this past March. Prior to founding the newer company, he had become frustrated with the direction stock photography was heading – photographers were getting tiny royalties, while the quality of the photos were decreasing as well.
Livingstone wanted to introduce an authentic style to the industry he had pioneered, that is, “a way of producing imagery that looked real and not fake and staged, and all these gross things that you think about when you think about stock photography.” He describes authentic photography as shooting “real people doing real things in their natural environment.”
Tired of seeing photos of people pretending to be doctors or homemakers, people doing exaggerated poses, and whatnot, Livingstone moved back to Canada to start Stocksy in Victoria, British Columbia. Unlike other stock photography companies, Stocksy is an artist-owned cooperative built on the principles of respect, equality, and fair distribution of profits. Members, who are added to the roster by invitation only, all belong to the co-op and get 50 percent of initial purchases and 100 percent of purchases of “extended rights.” Stocksy boasts the highest royalty rates in the industry and takes pride in providing sustainable creative careers through co-ownership and profit sharing.
Stocksy currently has about 400 photographers and roughly 50,000 photos for sale on its website. Having intentionally set its standards high, the company accepts only 500 artists per year and is not interested in getting big. According to Livingstone, Stocksy exists to change the way photographers see the stock photo business and empower them to take control of it.

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