Getty Images, one of the largest stock photo agencies in the world and the official photo agency of the International Olympic Committee, is preparing for Rio by embracing the role of virtual reality in photography’s future.
Earlier today, Getty Images launched a separate division called “Getty Images Virtual Reality Group,” a move they say, “brings high quality VR and 360 content to everyone, satisfying the growing appetite for immersive content.”
Getty is already offering over 12,000 360° photos through the new division, and they’re committed to raising that number quickly. “Quick to adapt to new image technologies, Getty images began building its collection of 360 and gigapixel imagery four years ago […] at the 2012 London Olympics,” the company boasts. “Fast track to today, and every Getty Images photographer at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games will be equipped with a 360 camera.”
Whether or not the VR division will be a lucrative one for Getty is anybody’s guess—does stock and editorial 360° content actually sell?—but Getty Images CEO Dawn Airey believes this is the right move for the agency.
“The technology is still in its infancy,” says Airey. “But we can expect to see VR become a leading tool for visual storytelling.” And Getty plans to be ahead of the curve when that time comes.
Image credits: 360° photo of Keble College quadrangle in Oxford, England by David Iliff.