The History Of German Picture Agencies – Part One

The Picture Market: From Owner-Managed Small Business Towards Large Conglomerate

Until the beginning of the nineties, we had dealt with the Old School. The new times had not yet begun. There were no databases, no internet, no websites, no online picture portals but there were slides and extensive archives. Picture packages from photographers and partner agencies were piling up in picture agencies waiting for editing. Letters, not emails, were sent.

If a customer was looking for a particular image, he called the agency of his choice and described his wishes to an employee who searched the shelves for right motifs and sent the results by courier or post. The customer was charged with a fee for this service and this fee was the base-income of a picture agency.

Today, photographs can no longer be physically touched. The love for the physical image seems to have faded away. The newest generation experiences seeing and feeling photographs in a different way. Those who grew up with prints from the photoshop or with slide shows on a Saturday night will likely have difficulties breaking with their past experiences and feelings.