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In focus: “The Important Part Is Finding – Not Searching”

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

The best picture in the shortest amount of time – that is how picturemaxx describes its services for companies, agencies and publishing houses. But what is the best picture? How do you find good pictures in the enormous range of options that exist today? Why does the process not end with the search? And why are pictures more important than ever in communication today? Gerhard Feigl, since late 2019 CEO of the leader in the “picture marketplace,” answers these questions in an interview with media journalist Julia Gundelach.

Interview with Gerhard Feigl, CEO of picturemaxx AG

Illustration with quote and picture of Gerhard Feigl

picturemaxx’s customer list is long – it includes all major media companies and numerous corporations – but what exactly does “market leader in the picture industry” really mean? What does picturemaxx do?

Gerhard Feigl: “To put it briefly: We ensure that everyone receives the best pictures as quickly as possible for up-to-date and suitable reporting or gets illustrated pictures for communication and advertising. But this does not mean that you can only search for the pictures with our service. The important part is the finding, that is, a qualitatively valuable service – and everything associated with this: the selection, management, storing. picturemaxx includes not only the search engine, but also the databases that can be used to substantially simplify the upstream and downstream work processes.”

You have been the CEO of picturemaxx for two years now and deal with pictures on a daily basis. What role do pictures play personally for you and generally in communication?

Gerhard Feigl: “I have always been interested in art, design and photography, and actually wanted to study architecture. By chance I have now returned to this topic, which naturally makes me very happy. I am of the opinion that: Nothing works without pictures and without design. I am convinced that content can be as good as it gets, but will not be acknowledged by people if the optics are not right. That is because everyone – even if they may not be a design expert – has a feel for what looks nice and what doesn’t. Visual contents play an increasingly important role in communication. We see this alone in the development of Instagram and motion picture, but also in the extensive use of emojis, which also convey feelings and content today.”

Sounds like a real flood of pictures...

Gerhard Feigl: “That’s right. And it’s the same in search: The more pictures are offered, the more difficult it is to find individual pictures, no matter how good they may be. And that is exactly where picturemaxx comes into play. If you are searching for a picture, you don’t have to log into 300 different picture databases and search individually – rather, you get the search in an aggregated form with us and can – as in an online marketplace – directly purchase the pictures you would like to have.”

Don’t you have even more selection then and have to sift through even more pictures?

Gerhard Feigl: “No, that is another advantage of picturemaxx. There are only professional providers here. They choose keywords for their pictures very consciously, which results in the first preselection. This curating of the picture agencies and picturemaxx’s use of intelligent filters for users let us act like a funnel where you only get what you need at the bottom: namely the best pictures, or ultimately the best picture. And you can do it quickly and with little effort – which is increasingly important today, since we need to save time everywhere. Permanently employed picture editors are almost a rarity in the meantime.”

Besides publishing houses that search for pictures on a daily basis, who else is picturemaxx suited for?

Gerhard Feigl: “Magazines, newspapers, specialists presses, advertisers, marketing professionals, communication experts – anyone who is searching for pictures, either every day or only a few times a year. And naturally for people who want to provide pictures for others. This includes picture agencies and PR agencies: They can disseminate their PR material through our network. For example, editorial offices have quicker access to the latest product pictures. Institutions, cultural organizations and NGOs also use this path. Especially for the needs of this group, we have also set up a database solution that is focused on making all pictures accessible at all times.”

How does it work with smaller companies or institutions? Is picturemaxx also the right partner for them?

Gerhard Feigl: “Definitely. Our software maps the entire picture workflow from the search to archiving, and is scalable in terms of size. It pays off for smaller companies and organizations that do not want to invest a lot, just as it does for large ones. You always have the entire overview of all the pictures in the company. It is easier to avoid accidental double licensing and material that may be used multiple times is always at hand. Ultimately, you save hard cash. And basically everyone who works with pictures – not just enormous publishing houses – would like to find the necessary picture – which is the best – quicker.”

And what does the “best picture” actually mean?

Gerhard Feigl: “The best picture is for many the least expensive (he laughs). That is very short-sighted, however. You often have to search much longer for the cheapest picture or its editing afterwards ends up making it more expensive – these are also costs that quickly make it not as cheap as you thought at first. The best picture is somewhat subjective. It must be able to convey the story that is being told. But this does not always work right away – a premium print magazine certainly considers the best picture to be a different one than a women’s weekly or a social media post. To put it another way: The best picture is always dependent on the goal that should be achieved. Each picture is a treasure – and we are unearthing it.”

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