Ruminations on Dreamstime Stock Rank game

I've been periodically reading DT blogs, and recently noticed some kind of obviously ranking label - wheel with a wing. My curiosity made me click on it and so I discovered the game (or a training tool) of the Stock Rank.

I could confess, though my rating is till low and I don't understand reasons why one image sells much better then another in about half of the cases, it's still proven to be very, very useful. I've already learned couple of unbeatable image constitutions, giving you invariably 100% success in guessing a most selling image of the pair.

One of them is a type of ridiculously cheesy image of group of people, posing for business or profession personages with the happiness of the imbeciles on their faces and in their postures. But, what do you know? You are here on DT not for manifesting your tastes, but for selling what is getting sold well. If the Customer - a Corporate Business - needs this kind of images to brainwash their clients and stuff, so be it.

Still, you probably don't want to make a crap that sells, but, if possible, an art that happens to have a commercial success, too. Just remember that Old Masters of Renaissance who were often also painting not worthy subjects of noble degenerates. However, what secret does still make their works masterpieces despite of that? As Semiology teaches as, a message - verbal or written, prose or poetry, visual art or music - carries not only an intended by author meaning, but other, encoded, and often completely opposite, meanings, incorporated from the surrounding phenomena of the culture.

The time of Renaissance and Enlightenment began with rediscovering by Medieval Europe of their Antic and Barbaric roots. And you can see all these aristocrats pose for long gone virtuous and passionate giants of another time and values.

So let your environment (above and beyond, or even anti business) infiltrate your work.

Invite folks from the free roaming crowd to be your models - those pure and naive souls who never suffered the painfully useless waste of time in pointless business meetings - partying students, leather laden bikers or computer gamers. But don't overdo it, remember, the hidden message have to be encoded and could be revealed only under scrupulous analysis on subconscious level.

And now, let's go to decipher reasons for popularity of another group of images, picturing negative emotions and scenes capable to generate those. It's well known in anthropology and zoo-psychology that scenes of others' misfortune or death attract humans, hominids and other high-intelligent animals. The reason for that is they can learn lessons from such accidents and avoid them in future. But for that you need to know a full story, so the story behind the image is very important.

Why the picture of dirty carpet with stains of coffee/vine from the mug/glass is more popular then a nice sunset? Because there is a story behind that coffee accident, and story is still in the making, it's still unfolding... And sunset? Seen one - seen them all, unless there is an unidentified missile launch on its background.

But why the story about misfortune, not a success story is so precious for the corporate business world? Because it's a matter of control and influence. If you ever tried to entertain yourself with writing, the first thing you have to learn at classes or in editor's office, is your story needs no real happy ending.

What's the caveat behind the "real" clause? Look at the Disney animated films. Do any of them have happy endings? Don't rush with the answers - although all heroes survive their dire or rather lethal climaxes in last few minutes of the movies, they do so in most unrealistic and unprovable manners, which obvious even for 3 year old. Ask yourself and your little ones - do you really-really believe that Little Mermaid, The Beast, Hercules, Flik the Ant or Cowboy Woody survived? "Not a chance" - there will be a reply of your subconscious.

They would never manage to do that by themselves - they were allowed to live by their masters in studios and publishing houses. And if your conscious was fooled into believing in the happy ending, deep inside you know the truth - the truth the masters want you to know - you are in their hands. And starting for that point it becomes the time to sell you things - material goods, ideological agendas or political views.

But back to the business - you still want to create art that have a commercial recognition? Well, again, don't fight the wave - ride it. Take a look at the exceptional (pan intended) example from that Disney cartridge - hilarious "The Emperor's New Groove" cartoon. The screen play canons require unrealistic, ridiculous triumph of the main character at the and? Good. Let's do everything else ridiculous and

unrealistic and stomp on the climax with self-irony. The wolfs are fed and the cattle is safe - you injected an encoded antidote in the poisoned message.

How that translates to microstock photo universe? Well... back pain image, which will be used to sell warming patches? Do that shot with sporty young girl who's body is perfectly capable to deal with by its own, for example. You've got the idea.

Am I discovering America? And commercially successful artists know and use all this? May be so. But for those of you who don't have Leaf Erickson's maps, I hope, these Columbus notes may be useful...

Photo credits: Stephen Vanhorn, Yuri_arcurs.

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December 08, 2010


Interesting blog :)

November 10, 2010


LOL, I love sunsets, with or without missile launch. And believe me, every single one of them is different. I have seen lots of sunsets, and none of them have been the one I had seen before. Entertaining article, though. :)

November 10, 2010


You dont need to be Arcurs. Every image has a sale potantial.

Just keep on shhoting better images instead of trying to decipher the reasons behind tne popularity of images. More image you have more sales you are going to have too... It is so simple !

I do not care to people who write blogs "my first 100 usd" who are members since 2006 ! They are doing that just for hobby. Dont forget , Arcurs is a real pro and worked alot to reach his current position in microstcok.

If you work like him you can be another Arcurs. If you can do that , you can really be , even better than him !

It is so simple my friend.

November 10, 2010


Those people in Yuri Arcus picture do not have the "happiness of the imbeciles" on their faces. Really. They just have empty faces. An Empty Face is good because it does not require too much analysis and the viewer can fill it in with his/hers own fantasy if he wants to.

But the real reason that pictures like that sell is because they are hard to make thus rare. One needs 5-10 models with signed releases, in case of Arcus they are probably professional models costing a lot of money. The perfect lighting also requires expensive professional studio because the large area that needs to be uniformly illuminated.

Otherwise I agree with your thesis that one needs compromise between the "pure art" whatever that means, and the commercial requirements.

The idea of putting hidden irony in your pictures that leaves them viable commercially but still with a subtle meaning seems to me an even more difficult task. I myself would be happy to be able to duplicate technically the "imbecile faces" for now. Remember the old masters before they created their remarkable work used to be apprentices for many years, doing the dirty work of painting the portraits of the aristocrats with the money.

November 10, 2010


Very interesting blog.... even if I 'm not "getting" everything you are trying to say. Any image has the potential to sell, How "artistic" that image is is purely up to the image maker. Thanks

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