Several weeks ago, a trustee in charge of millions of old news images in the Sygma archive tamped down rumors that the archive would be destroyed. That quieted the general outrage, and may have left photographers who still have images in the archive with some hope that they might be able to reclaim the images.

But no. The trustee has told PDN (and various photographers who have also inquired) that it is too late to claim the images. The trustee is mum about what will become of the archive, though.

“I inform you that rights of photographers to make claims for their pictures and slides has expired,” a spokesman for the trustee, Stéphane Gorrias, told PDN in an e-mail last week.

The images have been under the control of Gorrias since Corbis, which bought Sygma in 1999, walked away from the collection in May, 2010. Corbis abandoned the collection because it was fed up with financial losses and lawsuits over missing images.

When rumors began circulating at the end of February that Gorrias had said he would destroy the images, photographers and their trade groups began circulating word on Twitter and elsewhere to encourage former Sygma photographers to claim their images.

But it is too late to do that, apparently, and Gorrias’s spokesperson informed us that the “pictures and slides will be simply archived.” She added, “Remaining at your disposal for further information.”

We certainly asked for further information: Who is paying to archive the images? And for how long? Surely there must be a plan to dispose of the archive somehow, because it makes no sense to archive the images indefinitely. So what is the plan?

We received no answer to those questions. The images have apparently gone to picture purgatory, out of reach of the photographers who own them, and headed for some unknown fate. Will they be destroyed after all? Put out on the curb with the trash or recycling? Hocked at a pawn shop in Paris? Put into a cave where future generations can rediscover them, and marvel at them?

Only one man knows, and we await his call.

Related:

Did Twitter Just Save 10 Million Sygma Images?

Tags:

COMMENTS

MORE POSTS

Former National Geographic Editor Wilbur Garrett Dies at 85

Posted by on Wednesday August 17, 2016 | Obituary, Photojournalism

Wilbur “Bill” Garrett, who methodically raised the standards for photography at National Geographic and pushed for coverage of timely and sometimes controversial subjects during his tenure as editor in the 1980s, died at his home on August 13, National Geographic has reported. He was 85. Garrett began pushing for a more photojournalistic approach to Geographic... More

Josef Koudelka Documentary Film Offers Intimate Portrait of the Famed Photographer

Posted by on Monday July 25, 2016 | Fine Art, Photojournalism

What would it be like to assist Josef Koudelka? What could an assistant learn simply by observing and helping the legendary Czech photographer? Koudelka Shooting Holy Land, a new documentary film making its U.S. debut today at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (and showing again this Sunday, July 31), gives viewers an opportunity to... More

“Deliberate Attack” Killed Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik in Syria, Says Photographer Paul Conroy

Posted by on Tuesday July 12, 2016 | Copyright/Legal, Photojournalism

The sister of deceased American journalist Marie Colvin has filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. district court in Washington D.C. against the state of Syria, alleging that Colvin was deliberately targeted for extrajudicial killing by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The 2012 artillery attack on a media center in Homs killed Colvin, 56,... More