First there was the Internet Guy. Then there was the Banner Lady. And now comes AA030587. \nSuperheroes? No, supermodels, at least in terms of visibility. You will not find these people strutting the runways in Milan or mentioned in gossip columns. But chances are you have seen their photos, heading Web pages or plastered on posters, hawking diarrhea remedies or jazzing up a PowerPoint presentation. \nThese people are working in a business known as royalty-free stock photography. For a flat fee, perhaps less than what Kate Moss pays for a lipstick, they have sold the rights for their images to be downloaded from the Internet or packaged in CDs, almost without restriction. While the photographer generally earns royalties from the sales, the models do not. \nStock photographs, or off-the-shelf pictures of people and things, have been around far longer than personal computers, but the digital delivery of images has increased their popularity. So did the advent in the early 1990s of royalty-free collections, which offer photos without asking how they will be used, a simpler and generally less expensive arrangement than traditional licensing agreements. \nNo-name cover girls and boys may come cheaply, but using their images, which can be purchased by anyone, is not without its perils. \nMeet Julia, as an advertising copywriter nicknamed her for her vague resemblance to Julia Roberts. She is a dark-haired young woman with a dazzling smile who spent half this year on the New York subways on posters promoting Monroe College in New York. \n"Lord knows where she's from, but she seems like a New Yorker," said Kevin Alter, formerly a senior copywriter for KPC Christopher Thomas of Melville, New York, the ad agency that created the college ad and chose the nickname. "She looks frazzled and a little tough." \nIn June, an identical photo arrived in many New York mailboxes, this time in a brochure from Time Warner Cable of New York City that was illustrated with 20 photos of people presented as offbeat New Yorkers. The smiling woman is shown with the caption "Her deal: wears gloves on the subway year 'round." \nIn fact, Julia is a clerk at a Seattle baby photography studio, or at least she was two years ago, said officials at Getty Images in Seattle, which offers three portraits of her on its Vivid Faces CD, part of its royalty-free PhotoDisc collection. The company says that a photographer working in a neighboring studio spotted her, found her striking and asked her to pose. \nThe company knows the woman not by her name -- which she signed on a model release but the company declined to disclose -- but rather by the image number, AA030587. \n"It's very, very expensive to hire a photographer," said David Goldberg, vice president for marketing at Time Warner Cable of New York, explaining why his company had found its "typical New Yorkers" on a US$399 disk produced in Seattle. \nMonroe College has since switched models. Alter said his former agency had already decided on the change when someone showed him the cable brochure. "That's the risk you run with stock photography," he said. "Other people might also use it, and they might be in the same market." \nAccording to Getty Images, Vivid Faces is a best-selling disc but AA030587 is not a particularly popular download. The faux Miss Subways has yet to match the fame of former PhotoDisc top picks, notably George Chen, a Web designer and sometime model. \nA few years ago, royalty-free photos of this impish young man with nerdy glasses and spiky hair seemed to be everywhere that advertisers like Domino's Pizza and Nokia needed an engaging image of a dotcommer. \nIn 1999, TheStreet.com, an online business publication, called him "the Internet Guy" in an article that concluded, "The rise of George Chen, just like the Internet he represents, is just beginning." \nAs it turns out, both predictions were inflated. Now 29, Chen said he had approached a modeling agency in San Francisco during his high-profile days, partly "as a joke," but also to see whether he could earn more than the US$500 his other modeling work had brought him. \n"Their reaction was, `George, you're way too popular,'" he said. \nIn 2000, the Banner Lady reigned. Clenching her teeth or screaming, this young woman was all over the Web in the advertising strips known as banners. She promised a fix for every problem, from a bad cough to bad credit. \nMarc Ryan, an analyst who follows Internet advertising, said that certain stock photo images become ubiquitous because advertisers use the same search terms to find them in Getty Images' PhotoDisc collection. Indeed, searching for "stress" and "woman" will still turn up an image of the Banner Lady. \nAnother term that works: PMS.
PHOTO: NY TIMES
SOLVED: Domestic orders have already overtaken the total sold to China last year, while the Canadian and US representative offices posted messages of support A joint effort by groups and individuals in Taiwan and abroad to prop up sales of pineapples after China announced a ban on imports of the fruit succeeded in just four days, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday. China on Friday announced that it would suspend imports of Taiwanese pineapples starting on Monday, citing biosafety concerns. Following the announcement, the council urged the public to assist farmers by purchasing pineapples, saying it hoped to sell 20,000 tonnes of the fruit domestically and 30,000 tonnes in exports. “Domestic orders have already surpassed the total sold to China last year,” COA Minister
MAIN CHALLENGE: The US naval commander warned that China would seek to ‘forcibly change’ the balance of power in the region that would likely be permanent The US encourages Taiwan to invest in defense and obtain asymmetric defense capabilities, US Navy Admiral Philip Davidson said on Thursday. Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, made the remark in a videoconference on defense matters hosted by the American Enterprise Institute think tank. “China is positioned to achieve overmatch” in its military capability by 2026, he said. When Beijing is able to, it would “likely choose to forcibly change” the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, “and I would say the change in that status quo could be permanent,” he said. “China seeks a new world order, one with Chinese characteristics,
PRIORITY: The 117,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine are to be distributed first to front-line healthcare workers who are most at risk of infection, the center said The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines — 117,000 doses of the AstraZeneca drug — arrived in Taiwan yesterday morning, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. The vaccines were flown to Taiwan by Korean Air and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 10:21am, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “After being cleared by customs, the vaccines have been transported to a designated cold storage center,” Chen said. “The vaccines are in multidose vials containing 10 doses per bottle, and are being stored in a refrigerated environment of 2°C to 8°C,” he said. AstraZeneca provided the
SETTING THE TONE: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington would seek to collaborate with Beijing when it can, but would be ‘adversarial when it must be’ The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked US President Joe Biden’s administration after it issued interim guidance on strategic priorities, including reaffirming support for Taiwan. The 23-page Interim National Security Strategic Guidance report, published by the White House on Wednesday, said that the US would “support Taiwan, a leading democracy and a critical economic and security partner, in line with longstanding American commitments.” Since his inauguration in January, Biden’s administration has expressed robust support for Taiwan and said that the US’ security commitment to the nation was “rock solid,” ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. Taiwan and the US share the same ideals