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  • 1.  Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 03-31-2023 08:04 AM

    I got this today, reminds me a lot of the defunct On Request Images. Am I wrong to be cynical? They are asking for exactly what they show they already have in the shoes on white background, I'm sure they're looking for different takes on this but it seems like a helluva way to get a thousand photographers to go out and buy the shoes on the chance their shot will get picked.

    The email:

    New Balance and Reebok Sneakers for The New York Times

    The New York Times is seeking images of specific high-end New Balance and Reebok sneakers for an upcoming ad campaign.

    Images of the following products on white knock-out background are needed:

    • Reebok: Club C 85 Vintage
    • Reebok: Classic Leather Chalk Cold Grey
    • Reebok: Instapump Fury 95
    • New Balance: Concepts x 999 'The Kennedy'
    • New Balance: Bodega x 997S

    *Please see attached reference images of the shoe models, colors, and styling*

    Budget: $2000/per image

    Usage: 1 year Unlimited Use (Excluding Print Advertising)

    Deadline for Submission: Wednesday April 5th, 9am ET

    Submission Guidelines: Jpegs, 1000px on the long side at 72ppi. Please include your full name in the metadata and file name. Submit to the link below.

    Upload Images to:

    Patrick Bennett

  • 2.  RE: Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 04-01-2023 10:32 AM

    Did it come from a legitimate NYTimes address? Was it possibly spoofed? Would NYTimes really send a Dropbox link to upload images?

  • 3.  RE: Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 04-01-2023 11:39 AM

    Apologies, I didn't make it clear who the email came from. It came from Wonderful Machine as a stock photo request. They get 50% of any stock sale. 

    Patrick Bennett

  • 4.  RE: Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 04-01-2023 05:07 PM

    I think it's legit. My sense of it is that they're doing a history of the sneakerhead world and are looking for photos of rare shoes. There's a movie coming out about the genesis of the Air Jordan brand, so if it were tied to that, I wouldn't be surprised. There was a request that went out last week for Nike shoes, including a pair that goes for $250,000 on the open market. So I don't think it's a scam. They're really trying to find photos of difficult-to-find shoes.  The provided photos are of different shoes they already have for the series. 

    I don't have any inside info about it, so I don't know for sure, but this is my take on what it's about.

    Justin Hoch (he/him)

  • 5.  RE: Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 04-02-2023 09:14 AM

    That makes a lot more sense, Justin. Still seems nuts to not just assign the shoot but I have no idea the rarity of those particular shoes.

    Agreed on the insanity of such schemes, John. I actually signed up for OnRequestImages back in 2006 when I was living in Buenos Aires, the contract was ok, not great. Then an actual assignment came up and lo and behold they needed me to sign an updated contract that was totally one sided and insulting. Never did anything with them, they went bankrupt a few years later after some vulture capitalist invested some $8 million into them.

    Patrick Bennett

  • 6.  RE: Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 04-02-2023 05:20 AM
    Patrick and Walter,

    Thanks for posting. I've been a professional photographer in NYC for almost 40 years. I don't think one can be cynical enough about what's happened to our industry over the decades. The NYTimes request you site is no different from the daily requests made by Getty which encourage young, naive photographers to go out and shoot very specific jobs on spec so that they can choose one photo, pay poorly for it since its already been executed, and throw the work of dozens of other photographers away. 

    It's insanity for photographers to participate in such schemes. Technological advances with equipment and retouching have opened up the field of professional photography to so many people that hobbyists who call themselves professional photographers are happy to shoot on spec - turning out "authentic" photos that look like they're shot with an iPhone. 

    Getty, which like many U.S. corporations, is for all intents a monopoly that the government doesn't care to regulate. When's the last time that the APA or ASMP contributed huge sums of money to politicians? If you answered never, that's right. We shouldn't have to bribe politicians to serve our interests but that's the way our country works - more so than ever. 



    John Madere
    mobile: 212-966-4136

  • 7.  RE: Wonderful Machine Stock Request

    Posted 04-02-2023 04:04 PM

    And all my speculation aside, I also wouldn't be surprised if it's just like what you're saying, John. It's a logical path to crowdsource and lower costs if the expense is the bottom line. And it often is. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Justin Hoch (he/him)