After tiring of long, fruitless searches through the Internet for that perfect photograph, in 2010 music industry exec and film producer Guy Oseary decided to take action. That action was Rock Paper Photo; now a one-stop-shop for a growing band of new talented photographers and established icons to display their work, and an exhaustive resource for both avid collectors and casual fans of all kinds to find that world class, unique image.
With rock photography very much at the heart of Live4ever, we sat down with Jody Britt (Creative Director/Photographer Relations) and Tim Shopa (Director of Production) at their pop-up store in New York City to discuss the site’s origins and founders, as well as their bold, ambitious plans for the future.
Tell us a little about your online gallery.
Most of the collections we have online are previously unseen work and we’ve become known for bringing to light to the public a lot of work that has never been released before. We’re bringing them to them on the Internet so ultimately we’re selling prints – we’re current to the new technology but we’re also respectful to the film.
How many photographers do you represent?
On the site it’s over 150, we’re currently importing up to 200 and it’s going to grow expedientially. It’s interesting to see what the public wants, whether it’s they were at that concert and they want that photo, or they don’t necessarily want the hero shot. So we want to be able to bring that to the buyer, to the collector and to the fan. And we’re also moving into pop culture, fashion, history, politics, sports – we want to become the destination for fine art photography.
How do you go about finding and signing these photographers?
It’s a lot about research, mainly online and also referrals – we’ve been around for two years now so there’s a lot of photographers who do come to us, the brand is well known and the work is always fantastic so the word is out that we do a great job. The photographers feel like we represent them and their work in a way that feels really dignified and yet at the same time accessible to people who want to buy it. There’s a very large range of prices and that really makes us stand out compared to other galleries; we can appeal to someone who’s a fan and never bought fine art before, and also someone who’s a collector who wants to find ‘one of one’.
It’s interesting for photographer recruitment; at the beginning we were seeking people out and now people are coming to us and so it’s definitely a bit of both.
The Internet is image-saturated so it’s easy to separate the good stuff from the mediocre stuff, so for us it’s about taking the good stuff, the great photographers.
Can you tell us a bit more about the founders and how it all started up?
Guy Oseary, one of the founders, he’s the manager and he’s a partner for Madonna, they have a relationship with Live Nation. A guy who’s been a collector of fine art for many years and he wanted to solve a problem that he had which was, ‘Where do I go to find old photography, new photography?’, not necessarily the images that people have seen over and over again. He had to do an exhaustive search or have his assistants do it for months to try and find it for him. And sometimes it wasn’t produced very well so he decided to create this online gallery with Live Nation and that’s how it started.
And you guys are planning more pop-up stores?
We hope to. There’s a lot of brands who want to work with us because the imagery is so powerful it does something to their brand. We have a partnership with fashion designer John Varvatos’ company – we’re in seven stores right now and that’s the bricks and mortar project for us right there and it’s been a lot of fun.
If you’re lucky enough to be in the Big Apple stop by Rock Paper Photo’s holiday pop-up gallery which will be open through Saturday, Dec. 22nd. Browse and shop for that perfect rock n roll holiday gift!
Address: 632 Hudson Street (between Jane and Horatio Streets, 1 block south of Meatpacking). Hours: 11AM-7PM daily.
If you can’t visit in person click on the image below to browse the huge online inventory featuring rock icons such as Hendrix, Springsteen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and many more. Be sure to check out the print collection of our ezine’s publisher Paul Bachmann including some cool shots of Oasis‘ Gallagher brothers.