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Thomas Pey / AKG: “We are seeing a 25% drop in downloads”


Founded more than half a century ago in Germany, the agency AKG Images (Archiv für Kunst und Geschichte: Archive for Art and History) is established in three European capitals, Berlin, London and Paris. The Paris office is headed by Thomas Pey. The last turnover published was € 1,190,368 with a positive result of € 2,722 and eight employees. (Source:

Distributed photographers: Paul Almasy, Denise Bellon, Peter Cornelius, Michel Dieuzaide, Jules Dortes, Christian Lemaire, Jacques Rouchon, Erich Lessing, Manuel Bidermanas, Jacques Boissay, Justin Creedy Smith, Marc Deville, Philippe Ledru, Olivier Martel, Alain Nogues, Bruno Pérousse, Pisarek Bildarchiv, Tony Vaccaro, Jacques Violet etc.

Thomas Pey is the Director of the Paris office of AKG Images .


1 / Are photographers of your agency sick and / or absent (how many compared to the workforce)?

No staff member is sick. We are all telecommuting. Two of my colleagues have gone to take refuge in the countryside in the provinces, but they have an internet connection. We had anticipated confinement and had made our arrangements: everyone took their current files, our computer scientist was able to install the necessary software remotely on each other’s computers and we also set up call forwarding , our website works H24. So, we are operational.

2 / What instructions and equipment were given to your photographers in the field? And have they encountered difficulties with the police?

As we are an archive agency, we do not have photographers in the field or in actual reporting. However, all of our photographers have told us that they will take advantage of this period of forced confinement to immerse themselves in their archives and I think that is a very good idea on their part!

3 / Are you afraid that this pandemic will lead you to review your projects or even close your agency? What impact on your turnover?

This pandemic has already and will have an impact on our activity. We’re seeing a 25% drop in downloads right now and fewer requests for quotes or internet orders. Some cancellations of purchase orders too, especially because a lot of exhibitions are canceled. This is the problem of this health crisis which is inexorably turning into an economic crisis: as all sectors of the economy are affected at the same time, there is a domino effect which is underway.

For the moment, it is difficult for me to gauge the real impact that this crisis will have on our turnover. If the confinement does not last more than two months, I think we will get away with a drop in turnover of around 20% compared to last year. Particularly because we have a lot of publishing customers who postpone their book releases to next year.

If, on the other hand, the confinement were to last longer, for example until the end of June, it would be more serious because the summer months are usually calm and I do not think that there will be a catch-up of the activity in summer. The unknown remains a hypothetical rebound over the last quarter. But, it’s clear that we’ll have a big cash hole in May / June / July / August because the low payments in these months will correspond to the current downturn in activity and April / May. We already have a sharp drop (since last Tuesday) in our customer payments. All the accounting departments are disorganized and this clearly impacts the supplier regulations of our customers.


Interviewed by email on March 27, 2020

Michel Puech

AKG agency official website:

This article first appeared on the A L’OEIL Journalism & Photography website :

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