Whether working on an assignment, a university project or finishing up a new website, we have all, at some point, browsed stock photo libraries. If we are lucky enough to find something that stands out and suits our needs, we may have the option to download it for free. If not, we pay for it. That’s it. Rarely do we know how much of that sum is going to the photographer, any background information about the photograph other than its caption, who the photographer is, or how he/she went about taking that picture – both technically and ethically. The image seems to have been chosen for us, as opposed to we choosing it. The transaction ends there and then – it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t give back.
Excio Fair Trade Photography was born to address these issues. Supported by our #PhotographyForGood principles, this new movement aims to re-think how we buy and sell photos online, adding transparency and sustainable practices to an already symbiotic relationship. In other words, it encourages photographers to produce high-quality imagery with low-impact on the planet; it allows organisations to tell stories whilst supporting the individuals and communities behind the pictures; it expands the commercial network by donating 10% of every photo sold to a charity.
Marketing agencies are among the businesses with the most consistent demand for eclectic and unique photography. However, busy schedules and quick campaign turnarounds often mean overlooking where the images are coming from. So when a team opts for a more conscious approach to sourcing photographs, one that sees it beyond a means to an end, it becomes clear that the moulds of convention can – and should – be broken for the sake of a healthier industry.
Led by Fran Bellingham, Martina Saville, and Fraser Reeves, Virtual Marketers work with small and medium-sized NZ businesses, delivering a range of virtual marketing services to their growing client base. Sharing many of Excio’s core values in a collaboration-driven, community-oriented framework, they were one of the first organisations to hop onboard the Excio Fair Trade Photography bandwagon. Therefore, it only makes sense that they are also the first in our new FTP interview series, where we will be showcasing the stories behind our partner organisations.
What made you start thinking about adopting Excio Fair Trade Photography?
We’re always looking for new tools and platforms to work smarter, and more cost-efficiently. We like to deliver great marketing and cost-efficient service to our customers. We often need to source photography for our clients, so a fair trade option is a no-brainer for us, and sits really well with the growing number of sustainable and ethically conscious brands and companies we work with.
Prior to joining the Excio Fair Trade movement, what websites did you use when sourcing images?
Royalty-free images are preferred by our clients, so using online libraries with a wide range of images such as Unsplash, Adobe Stock, and Pexels, has traditionally worked well. We love the idea of a Fair Trade Photography Marketplace though and know it will be really appealing to many of our clients too.
How will you go about implementing Excio’s Fair Trade Photography in projects and campaigns?
We’d like to use Excio as our first stop for imagery selection – many international online libraries are lacking diverse images with a Kiwi feel so we’re hoping Excio will fill that gap.
As a company, what positive changes do you expect from adopting a Fair Trade philosophy?
A Fair Trade philosophy fits well with our company values of Collaboration, Accountability, Community, and Creative Problem Solving.
What are your plans for the future in terms of improving/expanding Fair Trade Photography practices?
We’re naturally drawn to Fair Trade, ethical and sustainably focussed partners, clients, and team members that like to work that way. With so many other businesses moving in this direction, we’re hopeful that Fair Trade practices in our industry continue to develop and eventually become commonplace.
Stay tuned for more Excio Fair Trade Photography interviews to learn more about sourcing photos sustainably and get insight into the businesses and organisations pushing the movement forward.