Welcome to african.pictures, the media licensing arm of Africa Media Online (AMO). We have been going since the turn of the Millenium. I was a journalist and a photographer and had this idea to put my picture collection online and make the images available for licensing. I met Paul De Villiers who had morphed his advertising agency into a development company and together we founded AMO in March 2000. We developed a picture library system with me as the media brains and Paul as the IT fundi and it took off. Many of South Africa’s picture libraries came online for the first time using our system.
Well, 20 years later we are still going, although Paul eventually sold his shares in the company to me in the late-2000s and I got other partners on board. Our vision right from the early days was “Africans telling Africa’s story,” to empower an African perspective on the continent of Africa. Initially we tried licensing news and feature articles as well as images. We couldn’t get the articles to work, though, and went forward with images, initially from African photographers and media organisations, and then from the heritage sector – museums, archives and special collections in libraries. We added a digitisation service in 2005 and grew our picture library system into a digital asset management system that conforms closely to the ISO standard for long-term archiving of digital media including images, video, audio and documents.
Licensing of African content has always been an important part of what we now call our “Digital Trade Route.” This is because licensing enables some measure of sustainability to the African creatives and organisations that we work with. It also gets the content out there to be seen and engaged with, which is equally important, particularly when we are working with many others to have Africa’s story told by Africans.
african.pictures is our latest licensing website. Through it we hope to serve you in your need for African content generated by Africans. We would love to hear from you how we can best meet your need or anything we can improve on. Of course is not very much without the dedicated people who run it and the service that goes with it. Over the years we have had many wonderful people working with us in this space, not the least of which is Kate Dearlove, our current picture library manager, who is more than willing to assist you in any way she can.
David Larsen, Managing Director, Africa Media Online – January 2020