Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We are everywhere

Mornings are the best! I wouldn’t ideally say that because I love my sleep but these last 12 months have had a surprise tucked into almost morning, I like getting up just to see that. I am talking about Photosindia.com images in advertisements. Every morning at least a couple of national dailies will carry an advertisement using our images. The newspaper industry thrives on ad revenue, Rs. 2.50 (I can’t even convert that to dollars, it’s a pittance in any country) cannot sustain over 20 pages of colour and information. Having over 18 official languages, the regional papers are an industry on their own, I just read the English ones. The advertisements are becoming more visual, larger and more creative.

Ever since city supplements started and of course colour was introduced, there seems to be a revolution in the quality of advertising. City centric restaurants find more value in creative food photography, Airlines find every profile of passenger they want to portray and since the variety on Photosindia.com is steadily growing, everyone can find something for their creative needs. So far we have been featured in advertisements for International Banks, Financial Institutions, Schools, International Universities, Departmental Stores, Electronics Stores, Mobile Phones, Hotels, Travel Sites, Children’s products, Insurance Companies, the list goes on and on. We have been on Yahoo.com, we are regularly on makemytrip.com, we seem to be everywhere.

Monday, October 22, 2007

PhotosIndia.com ties up with Corbis Images. New Delhi, October 20, 2007:

Corbis, a leader in stock imagery has appointed PhotosIndia.com, as a distributor for selling their Royalty Free Imagery. Starting October, 2007, all the best-selling Corbis collections like: Corbis RF, Inside Out Pix, Image Shop, Image 100 and Zefa will be available on PhotosIndia.com. This partnership will add over 200,000 new images to Photosindia.com’s existing repertoire.

PhotosIndia.com was the first Stock photo agency to pioneer high quality ‘Uniquely India’ content and is a premium Stock photo agency in Asia. Armed with a state of the art production studio and the best Indian and international images, Photosindia.com offers the largest variety in India today. Corbis is one of the best creative resources for advertising, marketing and media professionals worldwide. Corbis offers an impressive collection of creative, entertainment and historic images with an emphasis on quality and originality.

PhotosIndia.com CEO - Mr. Amit Narain said - “It is a privilege for us to enter into this partnership. The highly creative and exclusive imagery of Corbis will help us increase our sales and broaden our client base. We are in the process of consolidating the best Royalty Free Collections to satiate the market. This alliance has proven prolific for us because it makes Photosindia.com the number one provider of world class stock imagery in India”.

Apart from the other exceptional collections distributed by Photosindia.com, it can now boast of offering the world’s top 3 image stockists – Corbis, Getty Images and Jupiter at one destination. This addition to Photosindia.com makes it an essential tool for every creative and marketing pursuit.

Photosindia.com's image at the entrace of PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo 2007

This is ‘feel good’ time for Photosindia.com. Our image was used at the entrance of the world’s biggest event in the photography community - PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo 2007. It was an image shot by Jack Hollingsworth, our Chief Creative Officer. He selected an image from a theme that is especially close to him – Indian culture. For Photosindia.com this occasion brought something extra special with it. Our image was showcased at the entrance banner where thousand’s of patrons, sponsors, attendees walked past it, some stopped to admire it although I am sure everyone will remember it. This image was shot in Agra, at the river by the Taj Mahal. The model is an authentic ‘mahout’ (elephant keeper/trainer). His confidence and connection with the elephant was inspiring and Jack was there to experience it.

PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo 2007 is a premier event for innovative imaging solutions, photographic education and unparalleled networking. It was held in New York from 18-20 October 2007. It is an event that brings together the entire photography business under one roof. It provides a forum for products, users, and buyers to converge in one place where they can showcase their products and services. This year the sponsors were all the big names in the Imaging and Photography industry, like Hewlett Packard, Canon, Kodak, Epson, Olympus, Nikon, to name just a few.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Diwali – A time to give!

View Diwali 2007 Stock Photos by PhotosIndia.com

Diwali, the festival of lights. Such a cliché simply because it means so much more than that. Everyone has a different take on Diwali and everyone has different expectations. It’s like the Hindu equivalent to Christmas. Gifts and giving, sweets and generosity. We don’t light up a tree, we light up the whole house, every nook, cranny and corner. The frenzy starts about a month ahead, malls are packed with anxious shoppers and everyone has long lists. Since Indian’s are bestowed with large families, there is a whole lot of shopping to do. For me the similarities are amazing, not at a religious level but at a ‘faith’ and ‘celebration’ level. Everyone eats and shares. The age old myth of ‘give and you will get’ is in full motion at this time of the year.

Businessmen get busy making their partners happy, companies get busy calculating bonuses, shop owners can see the money flowing in and the everyday shopper scans the dailies for ‘sales’ news. You can see bold advertisements claiming “0% discount” followed by a coy “on quality” … 20% discount on all goods. The shopper sits back feeling like the king of the world.

This is the time for some serious consumer wooing. Everybody spends on Diwali, it is practically a ‘have to’. 15 years ago the gifts revolved around exquisite dry fruits and heavenly Indian sweets we call ‘mithai’. The winter months kept everything fresh for weeks and Diwali seemed to extend all the way to the new year. Usually falling in the months of October or November, this season seems to go on and on. Over the years, the dry fruits got mediocre, not just in gifting but in quality as well. The ‘mithai’ eaters became nouveau ‘conscious’, about their weight, cholesterol, sugar levels and all the new age misery. I think ‘Archies’ was the first company to realize this paradigm shift, they started churning out cards by the hundreds, they sourced designer ‘diya’s’ (little oil or wax lamps that are ceremoniously lit for Diwali), they put a greeting card on every box of sweets. The change was slow to happen but once it did, the frenzy was unbelievable. Corelle launched new designs for Diwali, their crockery was always found in sets of 4 (the typical western family). Here in india they were marketing sets of 6 with little bowls we call ‘katori’s, we use them for all the gravies and curries our cuisine is famous for. China exported crates of bowls, trays, curios and the like in a variety of materials, colours and shapes, to satisfy the Indian Diwali shopping madness. Suddenly, people were gifting corporate style, beautiful things for the home, the office, the kitchen. It became okay to gift a DVD set of ‘Friends’ for Diwali if that’s what your friends were into, it had to be personal at the end of the day. Hundreds of websites sprung up, selling all things related to Diwali, you could ship from the US to India (like we need more ‘diyas’) or you could ship from India to the world (that makes more sense).

This year the craze seems to be more opulent. Singapore holidays, shopping bonanza’s and Frazer & Haws silver diya’s are all passé. People are gifting not for material pleasure but for the soul. Books on spirituality like the ‘Speaking Tree’ are supposedly a favourite. Another great campaign is by the MMTC, promoting gold in a more organic way, the World Gold Council seems to make the whole thing Uber chic and beyond the middle class. Diamonds are being marketed as a special high end gift as well, in fact there is a marked conversion in women buying diamonds instead of the customary gold during ‘dhanteras’. ‘Dhanteras’ is celebrated on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Diwali and it falls a day or two before Diwali. It is marked as the day of eternal good fortune and people celebrate it by buying something new for their home or indulge in a new investment. I wonder if anyone is marketing investment schemes this year, sounds like a good idea to me! Anyone listening?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Khajuraho - lessons in stone

View Khajuraho Stock Photos by PhotosIndia.com

Mystic. Mysterious. Saints. Dust. Heat. God Men. Snake charmers. Elephants & Tigers. BPO. IT hub. Some of the words I heard when I asked a random handful of people about India and they were all of different nationalities. Interesting! Everyone in this mini survey was above 25 and no one said ‘erotic'(The Kama Sutra, to mention just one), ‘art’ (M F Hussain, to mention just one) or ‘art erotica’.

India is the proud home of the Khajuraho temples, the ultimate guide to intimacy, carved in stone for centuries. Built between 950-1050, the construction spanned a 100 years which is obvious in the detailing and architectural styles of the various temples in the city of Khajuraho. Though it is true that erotic sculptures can be found at Khajuraho and are very much a part of the temples architectural harmony, they however are not installed inside the temple premises or near the deities. The reason for their existence lies in medieval history of that region. Khajuraho was ruled by the Chandela dynasty at the time and the rulers were followers of the ‘Tantric’ discipline. The attainment of ‘Nirvana’ (a state of perfect peace) in ‘Tantrism’ is far easier, it can be achieved by fulfilling every earthly desire. The juxtaposition lies in the fact that other Indian religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism preach moderation and a control over earthly desires.

There are many resources that have information on the architectural styles and other Khajuraho specifications but few tell the reader about the deeper meaning behind such mammoth efforts. Was it simply faith driven? Where the Maharaja orders a few thousand men to build temples to appease the Gods? Some die, some toil on, in the end it is for the modern world to stand back and say “hey none of us thought of this!”

Khajuraho continues to remain a mystery because its purpose has not been interpreted as yet. Several historians have presented theories, combination of myth, legend and heresy but no one can be certain about the nature of the carvings. Some parts depict regular village life, showing potters, musicians and townspeople. Just everyday living, maybe this art being on the walls is a communication medium, like ancient advertising or the equivalent of a mass moral science lesson. The theory I liked best, mainly because its plausible was that back in those days, most young boys lived as ‘brahmachari’s’, a state every man must be in for the first 25 years of his life. They live devout, pious lives, usually in a hostel like ‘ashram’ and concentrate on learning the concepts of hard work, ‘karma’ etc. This art was their only way to learn the nuances of being a ‘householder’. Sounds to me like ancient sex education. I will leave this train of thought as it is. I just wish we could incorporate safety and self respect into these lessons and bring them into our schools today. If they could talk about it back then we can definitely talk about it right now!