The Branding Power of Stock Photography

Hamburg container portHamburg’s port featured front page in the New York Times international edition this week. A photograph of one of Hamburg’s container terminals illustrated an article about the rise of global trading costs – which didn’t even mention Hamburg in the text.

The image indeed has an iconic quality, showing a landscape of stacked up boxes and busy heavy-lifting traffic. The caption gave mention to the city, next to the photographer and agency credits. The trade-off for Hamburg? Owning many people’s mental slot for ‘trading/logistics’. It’s a battle for mindspace, and images that stick and fascinate are the most powerful weapons.

Any more argument needed for highest production values and regular refreshes of what was once ridiculed as ‘industry photography’? What if, for the next shoot, Hamburg’s Port Authority commissioned Michael Gursky or another top caliber imagineer? What about ‘Cargo TV’, 24 hour uncommented live video of pure spectacular hauling action?


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