I used to have a short part-time position for a picture agency called Photoshot who provide press images for all sorts of news, sports and entertainment events, past and present. Working through external company called Media Storehouse, my job was to select images from the Photoshot archive and upload them to their server where they would be sold as canvas prints, mugs and puzzles.
The images I selected had to have worldwide rights and could be sold for merchandising, which limited the scope of my selection to about 5% interesting/saleable and 95% utter garbage. However according to the Media Storehouse rep this wasn’t much of a problem. The company had become infamous for a number of parody reviews of their products on Amazon as any image you uploaded, no matter how banal, was automatically sold on their web store. This had the effect of creating a huge amount of sales for products that seemingly had zero sale value, as users splurged on useless but highly amusing novelty products.
An excellent example includes a Box Canvas Print of Paul Ross (sadly no longer available) which garnered 544 customer reviews averaging 4/5 stars and a Pam St.Clement Canvas Clock (still available!) that is both ‘Timeless’ and ‘An Antique Collectable In The Making’. Conversely, the system of automatically uploading picture content onto the Amazon website had a morbid outcome when images of the Nazi ovens that burned Dachaus’s corpses were sold as photo puzzles.
As a part-time position it paid terribly, but I had the pleasure of trawling swathes of archival imagery, something of which would be a blessing for the most ardent of photographic practitioners. I don’t want to get sued, but I’ve posted a couple of images to give you an idea of what I had to sift through to try and sell.
Digitally altered analog images from a era of photography now becoming obsolete.