Stock photography made with love.
We didn’t know it at the time, but meeting a long-haired, bearded photographer in an upscale trailer park in Marfa, Texas, would completely revolutionize the way we understood the concept of cooperative photography.
His name is Kevin Russ. A salt-of-the earth nomad who roams the United States in search of high and low experiences, he had agreed to come along with us on our very first experiment in magazine making.
As we got to know Kevin, we learned that he makes a living primarily through licensing his stunning images through a company called Stocksy United, a stock-photography agency based in British Columbia.
Stocksy’s first commitment is to its contributors, a rare thing in today’s world, where so many people think first about a brand’s skin-deep appearance. It ought to be the other way around. It ought to be about real connection, not about how someone seems at first glance. That’s why Stocksy sends up to 75 percent of its revenues straight to the pockets of their photographers. And those photographers each own a share of the company.
In the months that followed that first meeting in West Texas, we crossed paths with Kevin over and over: in Montana, in California, in North Carolina. Each time, we marveled at the way he’s able not only to practice his craft but also to make a living thanks to an image co-op that understands an artist’s worth.
We share an ethos with Stocksy United because they, like us, strive to honor relationships with artists as the reason they exist. It’s why they get up day after day—and stay up long into the night—to work with artists as they document and share their journeys.
Stocksy took a chance on supporting us from the beginning, when our first print issue about Marfa was just a pixel on a computer screen. Over time, our two companies have thrived together. And during that relationship, we’ve come to admire the agency for three straightforward reasons:
First, they’ve made their contributors their highest priority.
Second, they’re wholly committed to showcasing work only of the highest quality: no fluff, no cheesy poses.
And most importantly, Stocksy is proof of a monumental experiment that’s on every artist’s mind: Creating art and making a fair wage are not mutually exclusive.
Stocksy United is an ethically conscious stock photography website. The British Columbia-based photo licensing co-op’s first commitment is to its artists.
These days when we think of branding as a society, we associate brands by how perceive their appearance. But branding is about connection, not about how we look. We share an ethos with Stocksy United because we treat relationships with artists as the reason we exist.