Mark & Audrey "We've Been There" Gibson
Being capable of producing 20,000 new color photographs every year - year after year - is a sign of two people - Mark and Audrey Gibson - who love their creative "work". Since Mark's first published photographs appeared in 1975 in an article he wrote on abalone, he has been driven to produce a constant stream of photographic themes just to satisfy his insatiable urge to create.
Mark offers this history of the business:
"My first slide inventory in 1979 revealed that I had 4,000 images in my files, most of which were marine biology subjects, not too commercially useful. By the early 80's I dropped marine biology completely and crab walked over to the freelance photography endeavors, which then grew at the double digit rate nearly all stock photo agencies enjoyed during the mid 80's. Assignments for clients were never a large part of my business - researching and shooting "self assignments" to build the stock categories kept me busy and fulfilled. Editorial and commercial clients were cultivated through follow-up on individual leads, and eventually business was booming to the point where I was becoming over loaded with administrative stuff.
I encouraged my wife, Audrey, into leaving her food service career to assist me in the stock photography business. Simultaneously, I taught her how to take the types of photos we were selling, and it wasn't long before photos with her by-lines started appearing in print as well. Our business continued to grow.
1986 opened up the era of the "Great Meanders" - photo expeditions on the road in our mini-van around the U.S. that have lasted up to six months to cover 20,000 driving miles through 23 states. Today we produce about 375 new photos a day when we are on a road shoot. Our daughter, Shasta, born in 1989, has toured the entire country twice with us (she was three months old when the three of us hit the road on her first Great Meander). Shasta has also enjoyed three trips to Hawaii, and as you might imagine, she appears in countless photos. She has a national parks passport book that you wouldn't believe!
We continue to be very ambitious in our shooting and marketing. Amongst our friends and co-workers, I have been nick-named the "Silver Tongue" for my ability to persuade complete strangers to model for me, or let me into their homes and businesses to take photos (this includes getting property and model releases). While we have many thousands of images with assorted agencies across the U.S., we keep our best photos (130,000+) in our files for our direct clients. Our continuing success in stock photography is attributable to our increased production of graphically powerful and commercially useful images along with the development of a personal rapport that makes working with us uniquely enjoyable for our clients."