Regarding the question whether Flickr photography in Microsoft Vista´s wallpaper collection was a honest offer or a bad PR gag, I wrote "the sad fact is that there is no way to solve the problem unless either Microsoft or the Flickr photographers unveil more details which both in all likelihood won´t do for obvious reasons".
Later the same day Long Zheng, an 18 year old student with apparently a great passion for Microsoft and Vista, published an interview with Hamad Darwish, one of the Flickr photographers shooting the Vista wallpapers:
- Hamad Darwish explains (compiled): I’m 24 years old and currently an employee in the Ministry of Health. You may not believe how new I am to this field. When I was approached by Microsoft, I’ve only been using a camera for about two years. When I was approached by Microsoft I asked my boss for a few days off, rented a car and headed for the Oregon Coast, alone.
- Question: How many photos did you take on the photoshoot?
- Hamad: On the Vista project, I spent a total of 10 to 12 days. The total amount of images I had at the end was a little over 6000 RAW files (averaging 500 to 600 shots per day). Of course, not all of which where shots of different subjects. I was bracketing exposures on some, while experimenting with different filters for others. I encountered many fantastic photographic opportunities during those 10 to 12 days, and I didn’t want to miss a thing. Knowing that I was out there shooting for what might be the biggest highlight of my humble photographic career, I wanted to go home and have all the possibilities at hand.
I think the hardest part for me was to decide which shots to submit to Microsoft for selection. I had to pick only 15 images out of the 6000. Then Microsoft would pick only 5 out of those 15.
- Question: Were you reimbursed for your photos?
- Hamad: Yes, Microsoft offered a flat fee to commission 5 images.
Source: Long Zheng, "Interview with Hamad Darwish, Flickr photographer shooting Vista wallpapers", quoted by Andy who is still counting what a professional photographer would have taken for "10 to 12 days" of work.
Long Zheng explained later on Darby Sawchuk´s blog in the comment section "Hamad Darwish did not surrender all his rights to Microsoft". However, this statement is not mentioned in the original interview with Hamad Darwish by Hamad himself, so we have somehow yet no real evidence. Just like earlier, Charles comments in the same way:
I guarantee the amateur gave away his work for below fair market pricing. Microsoft commissioned the amateur to do a special photo shoot, so this was work-for-hire, and thus all rights belong to the employer, Microsoft.
These amateur photographs will, over time, become some of the most widely distributed images in the world, with millions of copies being issued by Microsoft. This is why Microsoft wanted ALL rights, rather than the normal process of licensing publication rights from a professional. A professional would know that these images are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions, to Microsoft.
That is the difference between an amateur and a professional, a pro knows what their work is worth to a client, but an amateur will give away his work for almost nothing, and the Big Corporation wins…. again.
- Flickr Photography In Microsoft Vista´s Wallpaper Collection: Honest Offer Or Bad PR Gag? (Feb. 03, 2007)
- Flickr User Becomes Pro for Microsoft (Feb. 04, 2007, Darby Sawchuk)
- Finding vistas (Jan. 26, 2007, Long Zheng)
- Where did the Windows Vista wallpaper images come from? (Jan. 25, 2007, Raymond Chen, programmer at Microsoft, and author of the book "The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows"
- Jenny Lam - Designing Experiences at Microsoft (July 06, 2006, Channel 9)
- New Images From Getty For Microsoft´s Windows Vista, A Smart Move From Bill Gates, Founder of Corbis (Jan. 09, 2007)