Christina Vaughan About The Cepic Congress 2013

With this years’ Cepic in Barcelona approaching fast we asked Cepic President Christina Vaughan a few questions about the congress.

This is the second time Cepic comes to Barcelona. What brings you back to this city in particular?

CEPIC delegates were keen for some sunshine this year and as Committee Member, Alfonso Gutierrez is based in Barcelona, the Committee thought that it would be a great city to return to.

How’s the registration going. Are you seeing any new businesses attending this year?

One of the things we are really pleased to see at CEPIC this year is how many new members we have. There are quite a few new names on the list that I will make a point of meeting in person.

New to this years congress is the Photocentric day. How did this come about and what is the objective of the day?

Actually, this is the second year. In partnership with ASMP, we organised our first Photocentric day in London last year which was a great success, bringing the heart of our content creation businesses to the heart of our members at CEPIC.

I noticed that one of the sessions at the Photocentric day will address free images and microstock and talks about regulation and legal initiatives. A statement from the CEPIC board also went out recently about the impact of free photography. How do you see Cepic and its members engaging with free image websites and microstock businesses?

Many of our members already license microstock and subscription content and I therefore believe are fully engaged. To our members, our clients and to customers; Microstock and Subscription are already accepted licensing models within our industry. Newer and still under debate is the “free” model. There is definitely a business model of “free” and the value that free content can bring in terms of attracting eyeballs and hence ad revenues to a site. CEPIC’s position is one of transparency – if businesses can sustain a business model based on the monetisation of  free content, we do not necessarily have issue with that. The question is more of honesty and attribution. Let’s not pretend that photographers are going to make money by the free images offering a gateway to upselling higher priced content.

The images are simply advertising fodder and businesses should find a way to either pay the photographer a % of the click through or acknowledge that if they don’t pay them, there will be no way of the photographer reinvesting in new content and there will therefore be a dumbing down of quality. There is no such thing as a free lunch. I really urge all our delegates to attend all these different sessions to learn, educate, embrace or challenge.

These are interesting times and I think all the sessions will provide ideas, inspiration and advise on the possibilities. The great things about the Photocentric day is that we have invited speakers from every type of background to provide a very balanced perspective.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo said recently, when talking about a PRO version of Flickr that it wasn’t necessary because there is no such thing as professional photographer anymore. Do you think the session:about focussing on professionalism can help photographers to sustain themselves in this World where everyone can be a photographer?

I think Marissa’s words were taken out of context and I know from my twitter account that she quickly apologised about this.

Marissa’s comment was related to the terabyte of storage now available on Flickr and how many photos users are taking. In other words, she was suggesting there not a need for a Pro account given the tremendous amount of storage space now available to all users. Everyone can take a picture but not everyone can be a professional cook just as everyone can be a cook but few can be a chef in a Michelin star restaurant. As President of CEPIC and Chief Exec of Image Source, I have tremendous confidence in the professional photography market.

Every day, I am amazed by the calibre of Fashion photography I see in magazines and on billboards, I am amazed by the incredible Sports Photography that inspires me to want to be a professional athlete, I am amazed by the War Photography that makes me want to cry, I am amazed by the calenders, books, posters and advertising I consume every day. There is more visual content being used than ever before and in my own office and beyond, I see a backlash against ubiquitous, churned out, commonplace and a thirst for quality, professionalism and amazing photography that unlike any other medium in the world can capture that one moment in time.

I noticed sessions on copyright and a number of trade association sessions throughout the week. Are there any ‘burning’ issues attendees can look forward to joining the debate on?

There are a number of burning issues. We will be reporting on the changes to UK legislation on copyright that affect not only British Photographers but have a global impact on how imagery is valued; we examine the current challenges of Orphan Works, data stripping, we review the impact and role of collection societies; the continued erosion of price values in come territories and we will be taking a very close look at the world’s largest ISP, Google.

What are you looking forward to most at this years Cepic?

Seeing all my industry friends and colleagues from across the globe, united in one place to meet, talk, discuss business but most of all, like a family wedding, everyone getting together in the sunshine with a glass of prosecco to catch up and exchange news and promise to see eachother more often.

Anything else people need to know about this years’ congress?

Yes – it’s not too late to register for the world’s largest gathering of picture people – CEPIC13 –

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses