Aug 2, 2005

Veteran Photographer Feels in Control at Digital Railroad

Source: Publish
Written By Nettie Hartsock

Case Study:Internationally acclaimed shooter David Chalk appreciates the ability to market and distribute his own images instead of relying on large agencies.

Using a Hasselblad, Fuji Fine Pix S3 digital camera, and Fuji 617 Panoramic camera, David Chalk has traveled the world taking pictures for leading publishers, museums and galleries, including the New York Times, Fortune, Forbes and the Museum of Natural History.

Chalk’s imagery is represented in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Charles Rand Penny Foundation, and many other museums and corporate collections.

Click here to view samples of Chalk’s work.

Having been active for 30 years in the photo industry, Chalk has always been attracted to innovation. Coming from the experience and long history of dealing with photo agencies, Chalk has grown increasingly dissatisfied and disenchanted with the representation of those bigger agencies, and the images they choose. He also disliked the slow workflow processes that existed within the larger photo agencies.

Chalk explains, “I was repped by some fairly large agencies, and I never felt they were really doing it for me. I never felt like they were taking my best images and pushing those out. Sometimes they were even apologetic and would say, “We love this, it should be in a museum, but we can’t sell it.” That has become more prevalent as the agencies get bigger, he said.

On the workflow side with large agencies, Chalk found the process frustrating and time-consuming, “Let’s say you’re giving Corbis some images, you scan them and send them, and they don’t want more than 30 to 40 images at a time. Those images go through all these channels and it takes forever. Each one goes through quality control, captioning, etc. Average turnaround time could be a month or usually more, because there are 500 to 1,000 other people giving them CDs with images too.”

The time lost in image processing, also represented a financial loss. “Images are timely, and I was increasingly losing valuable time, clients, and the possible value of my images the longer it took to process them.”

After seeing an ad for Digital Railroad on Dirck Halstead’s highly respected The Digital Journalist and researching Digital Railroad, Chalk signed up for Digital Railroad’s 30-day free trial.

New York-based Digital Railroad Inc. is a Web-based service that recently raised $5.2 million in funding from Morgenthaler Ventures and Venrock Associates. Digital Railroad gives photographers a comprehensive all-in-one suite featuring online image management, marketing and distribution tools.

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