Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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Walk around any home store such as IKEA and you will find a wide range of photos for sale, from landscapes to still life. Where do these stores get these photos? Is it straightforward stock buying, or is it more specialised?

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For large multiple retailers, there is ultimately one of two things that go on -- Either a photographer has licensed the work as a stock image, or the manufacturer has commissioned the work. Given the nature of the photos, I'd be surprised if they commissioned them, themselves. They've then printed up thousands of copies for the retailer to distribute and sell.

Smaller retailers sometimes act like galleries and will accept finished works from photographers and sell them on a commission basis. The one I'm involved with has even gone the other way, and approached photographers on sites like Flickr to see if they'd like to try and sell images for them.

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Stock agencies, house photographers, contracting directly with professionals, competitions among staff and/or customers. All kinds of ways to get photos to sell or display, any or all could be used.

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