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In focus: “The use of images is becoming more and more varied”

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

We all love pictures – but Cinzia Giannì is especially keen. The team leader of SZ Photo, the picture agency of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, deals with pictures and photos every day and SZ Photo is also represented in the marketplace of the picturemaxx Media Network. In the interview, she reveals why pictures are so important these days and how picturemaxx supports her in her day to day work.

Interview with Cinzia Giannì, SZ Photo

Illustration with quote an image of Cinzia Gianni

Cinzia Giannì, you deal with images every day. Do you have a personal favorite motif that always “grabs” you?

Cinzia Giannì: “That’s a tough question. Because any subject can be photographed well or not so well. What makes the difference for me, though, is whether it conveys emotions or not. Some pictures achieve that, some don’t. And these can be on very different topics, or small moments that someone has captured. Whether it’s a great portrait, a picture from a demo, or something very casual or boring – if it’s photographed well, it still grabs you.”

Why are images so important in communication, and how has the role of photos changed over time?

Cinzia Giannì: “Images take on different roles depending on the medium. Some are illustrative, beautiful decorative pictures. It’s different in the editorial environment, where they also underline what has been written, make it tangible and catch the reader’s attention. Attention spans have shortened, especially in the online arena. Here you can consume an incredible amount and at speed, and pictures help that along, of course. But it’s true in print too.

When I open the newspaper and see a lot of articles, and one has a terrific, clear picture with some text, naturally that’s what attracts me the most.”

Does this mean that there’s a greater need for images than in the past?

Cinzia Giannì: “People get used very quickly to new developments and new ways to use media, such as Instagram, and they change their viewing habits. When people use what’s out there digitally, they also get used to seeing more images, and also to gathering information from the images and not just from text. And the use of images is getting more and more varied. Whereas our customers used to want one picture for one article, now they add on an e-paper, a digital edition, and social media. That has all added up, but people are not as willing to pay for individual usage.”

What does a normal day in your office look like? Can you look at terrific photos all day?

Cinzia Giannì: (Laughs) “No, I’m involved in all areas of the picture agency. I look after the customers, see what has come in. Many photographers send us photos every day, so of course you have to sift through what’s there.

Whether we accept the images or not, though, depends not just on the image, but also whether it fits into the portfolio , the legal situation and how many similar images we already have.”

You offer four million rights-managed images. Who are your customers and what do they use these images for?

Cinzia Giannì: “We’re a classic picture agency, and our clients come from all sectors. But our focus is on the editorial sector and on our historical inventory. But we’re also significantly expanding the current inventory and working on giving young, lesser-known photographers a chance as well. This #candid series is about letting emerging professional photographers send in unusual stories, people, or sometimes uncomfortable realities – young, urban, and natural photography.”

You have been relying on the marketplace of the picturemaxx Media Network for several years now. How does it support you in your daily work, and yet also in your collaboration with photographers and reporters?

Cinzia Giannì: “We use picturemaxx’s database and the website solution as well. Not only does this allow us to make our images available to a huge network of customers, we can also map our archive digitally. And that’s a big deal, because we’ve been around as a picture agency since 1956!

We offer our images through my-picturemaxx, where many customers come from the newspaper and magazine sector. We use other services too. For example, we create offers for images that are updated every day, and we have various channels that we feed our images into – for example, the #candid collection I mentioned.

picturemaxx also helps us in our cooperation with photographers and customers. That’s because the work is becoming more and more demanding from all sides, and everyone is used to getting everything digitally and very quickly. Here we have to be active and react and, of course, to be able to rely on our database and the solution behind it. We also take the opportunity to create a separate channel for the photographers. This way, images come to us quickly and can be redistributed quickly. All of these aspects support us in a really constructive way.”

What would you, as an agency working with picturemaxx, consider indispensable, and why?

Cinzia Giannì: “picturemaxx is very well established, experienced and specialized in the picture agency business. These are naturally big advantages for us. The colleagues there know immediately what it’s all about, so we don’t have to explain everything, and they bring in their own ideas. It’s a very good and trusting partnership. And access to the broad customer network via my-picturemaxx is quick and easy – definitely a huge support for us.”

This interview was conducted for picturemaxx by media journalist Julia Gundelach.

Thank you!

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