Can brands save photojournalism? Picture agency Verbatim shifts focus from editors to marketers

Only a very few years ago photojournalism still seemed like one of the coolest, most rewarding ways imaginable of making a living.

When Aidan Sullivan set up Getty Images Reportage in 2009, the commissions for his team of topflight photographers came rolling in. “We were getting assignments left, right and centre,” he recalls. “We were working for Paris Match, CNN, Time magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic, you name it.” Reportage’s currency was visual imagery but the mere presence of the names on its roster –including Tom Stoddart, Lynsey Addario, Brent Stirton among a hallowed three dozen – was a guarantee of excellence in picture-based storytelling.