Podcast: PSA: Unsplash is Still Awful for Photographers (and end users)

Podcast: PSA: Unsplash is Still Awful for Photographers (and end users)

Free stock photo site Unsplash entered the news cycle again when the UK government used a photo of an Atlanta-based dancer as the subject of their “Cyber First” ad campaign, suggesting that dancers would be better served with a job in cyber security. 

Photographer Krys Alex, who previously had uploaded the image to Unsplash, was horrified that her image could be appropriated in such a way. But folks, that’s how Unsplash works! It’s almost like Zack Arias told you so…

Also: The Grammy’s encourage artists to #GiveCredit, photographers band together to encourage voting in the States of Change print sale, Maggie Shannon’s midwives essay, the NYT’s on-going “World Through a Lens” travel column, and the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

We mention the following photographers, articles, and websites in this episode:

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This article was written by

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Daniel J. Cox at 11:34 am

    Allen, Great podcast. I especially enjoyed the part where you discuss the music industry credit movement. However, as positive as this is, it’s ironic that a photography driven company sees the offending issue in the music industry, but says nothing about the photo industry.

    I’ve been writing and talking about the lack of proper photo credit for many years now. A couple of my Blog posts below.

    Letter to the Editor Please Credit Photography: https://bit.ly/2HkAci1
    Selling Editorial Photography? Demand a Credit Line!: https://bit.ly/3e3clzj

    Lack of crediting photographers all started with iStock Photo. How many photographers names do you see credited on magazine or web photos anymore? Almost none. Most of the time it’s just the agency like iStock Photo, Getty, Alamy etc. Magazines are the biggest offenders but the web is equally problematic. I recently complained to the BBC about a story on their web site and they responded with a very professional and considerate response. Below are the details.


    Credit line on photographs in BBC News webpage.

    I’ve noticed that the BBC is no longer giving photographers credit for the images they shoot. The page I see this issue is the current story about the fires in the Pantanal. On this page you credit only EPA and Shutterstock. Why are you no longer adding the photographers name and credit line? This is very frustrating since it’s not the agent that has taken the pictures.


    Thank you again for contacting us,

    BBC Complaints Team

    Their Responce:

    Dear Mr Cox,

    Thank you for reading the BBC News website.

    We were sorry to read you had concerns about how we credit photographers.

    We do have a credit for all images we use. Freelance photographers will be credited, but we appreciate you would like all agency photographers to also be acknowledged, along with the news agencies.

    Your concerns are noted.

    This is where feedback such as yours is very much valued by the BBC as it tells us what users think we’re getting right, and of course what they think we’re getting wrong.

    Please be assured that your concerns were sent to senior staff at the BBC News Website via our daily report.

    Thanks again for taking the time to get in touch.

    Kind Regards, Ciaran Hanna

    I’ve been fortunate to have spent 40+ years earning my living as a wildlife and nature photographer. Unfortunately that’s no longer possible due to virtually nobody willing to pay for nature photos any longer. Today I earn my living still doing what I love but now teaching it to others via our photography tours. That would not be possible without those many, many years of a credit line.

    I would certainly like to see Photo Shelter help enlighten young photographers on this subject.

    • Allen Murabayashi Author at 10:55 pm

      I mentioned Art Streiber as an example of a photographer who was crediting his team regularly. Crediting is very important and photographers have varying degree of support for the concept. As a function of audience size, I think the subject of photos (e.g. celeb portraiture) have the ability to move the conversation in a more material way than most photographers. Doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done, but much harder to move the needle for most photographers.

  2. Daniel J. Cox at 12:02 am

    Thanks Allen. Yes, you did mention Art Streiber and that’s a good thing. As you said, crediting a production team is something new and a very ice gesture. What I’m concerned about is what we’ve lost in the editorial world that was once very common. A credit line to the photographer. Whats even more unsettling about this new trend is that it was started by an agency, iStock Photo, that doesn’t pay their photographers squat to begin with. So not only does the photographer have to earn a living on literally pennies, but they no longer get credit for their work to help build a reputation/career. I’m not sure why the industry isn’t talking more about this. I would love to hear other photographers thoughts on this situation. Is anyone pissed off about editorial credits being mostly for the agencies?

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