BAPLA Shock Horror

October 28th, 2009

Yesterday was the Annual General Meeting of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies, our trade body. BAPLA represents the interests of picture libraries large and small, and fotoLibra has been a member since before we started trading. There is a link to the BAPLA web site on every single page of the fotoLibra site.

Nothing prepared us for what we heard at the AGM. Times are tough for everyone, BAPLA as well as fotoLibra. They’ve lost about 50 members over the past year or two, and as the annual fees are substantial, that makes a hefty dent in their finances.

So they have cast around for a way to improve their cash flow. And they’ve come up with the same idea that we came up with seven and a half years ago.

They’ve invented fotoLibra.

More precisely, they have created something called the BAPLA Academy. The idea is that photographers pay an annual fee and get to upload their images to the BAPLA web site where they can be viewed and made available for “non-commercial sales” (a wonderful oxymoron on a par with business ethics, or military intelligence).

I don’t have all the details to hand, because all this came from the BAPLA Director’s presentation and we don’t have a hard copy. But as I stared slack-jawed in amazement at the screen he blithely described the business plan of fotoLibra — except we provide commercial sales; our members make money from their photographs. That’s the whole point of fotoLibra; otherwise they might as well be on Flickr.

The concept of fotoLibra was to provide a platform for any photographer to make money selling his pictures. No tortuous submission procedure, no minimum upload, no “professionals only” barriers, no elitism — just raw market forces. Display and sell. And we provide all the advice and tools the photographer needs to achieve that aim. Jacqui Norman does an astounding job of advising, chivvying, helping, correcting, and pushing fotoLibra member photographers to make their images as saleable as possible. The web site and the Submission Guidelines are packed with information, advice, hints and tips.

Now our own Trade Association — the guys we pay to represent our interests — have announced that they are setting up in direct competition to us. Yvonne and I could not believe what we were hearing. Up went Yvonne’s hand. She was ignored. From personal experience I knew that was a bad move on BAPLA’s part — you ignore Yvonne at your peril. And indeed after the AGM she cornered the BAPLA President, the BAPLA Chairman and the BAPLA Director and subjected them to a withering blast. If they’d forgotten about fotoLibra — as they obviously had — then they were left in no doubt whatsoever that one section of their happy community was disaffected by news of the BAPLA Academy.

They attempted to placate us. The BAPLA Academy was no threat or competition to fotoLibra whatsoever. They’d trialled it with focus groups, and it wasn’t going to be a problem. But looking into their troubled eyes, we could see this was going to be a BIG problem. They simply hadn’t thought of us.

We’ve done this. We’ve sweated blood to set fotoLibra up and it has cost us a fortune. We know how hard it is. It’s a full time job for eight people. And there are only five of us. Without the help of a company like ours, a company that has already ploughed this unique furrow, BAPLA with its 2.5 staff and its capital derived entirely from member subscriptions is going to have a hell of a hard time running this Academy.

The BAPLA Academy will be directly competing for the subscriptions of the same photographers who supply fotoLibra with its top images. The same graduates, keen amateurs, semi-pros, wedding and studio photographers we work hard to attract, encourage and foster.

It’s not about print and mousemat sales versus rights sales, it’s about diverting a body of good, keen and potentially great photographers to ally with BAPLA rather than fotoLibra. That’s not BAPLA’s remit.

But if they’re determined to do it, then they should talk to us — once we’ve overcome our horror and dismay. We are better placed than any other organisation to help them.


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70 Responses to “BAPLA Shock Horror”

  1. Well, it seems obvious that fotoLibra must withdraw its membership from BAPLA, unless you maintain it to remind members through internal channels that they’re being stiffed if they load pix to BAPLA Academy, which has NO expertise in actually selling pictures to publishers or advertising agencies and no staff to do it. I agree that this is an enormous diversion and definitely injurious, but they will certainly fail, probably quickly, and, when they do, you’ll get a shovelful of photographers from them.

  2. I agree with Mike…no more membership affiliation with BAPLA. They obviously do not have the best interests of their membership at heart.

  3. peta ward says:

    This is appalling. I find it hard to believe that they forgot about fotoibibra… they just want to rip the idea. As Mike says, they are doomed to fail. Do they have a constitution, and if so where does setting up a photolibrary to complete with members actually fit. If I were you I’d demand my ALL subsciptions back, and then set a legal team up and sue them. I don’t see how a trade organisation set to represent picture libraries can then go an set one up of their own… it defies logic.

    Gwyn and Yvonne… you must crush them, terminate them, wind them up permenantly it is quite clearly a rip off.


  4. Arno says:

    Not sure how the law works in this situation.
    Can they be sued for conflict of interest?
    Are they actually going to use the name fotolibra? If so that at least gives grounds for legal action.

    From what I read in the blog post I get the feeling that indeed they’d completely forgot about fotolibra, but tried to save face by (wrongly) pretending that this was their idea all along…

    Good luck fotolibra. Hope BAPLA will have this come back and bite them in the arse.

  5. Rob Kerr says:

    I almost can’t believe what I am reading here. surely the idea that the BAPLA are wanting to sell images is like CORGI wanting to start installing boilers. or the NUS (student union) starting to teach !!!

    Create another uproar Yvonne – whoever had this idea at the BAPLA must simply be jealous of fotoLIBRA and its success – i

    I may only be a small time photographer but thanks to fotoLIBRA, my images are now making it from my hard drive to actually being published.


  6. I agree wholeheartedly with Peta, we cannot allow a trade organistion to walk all over one of its own members ( that is, us!) without putting up a spirited resistance. The threat of legal process may be enough to make them throw their hand in but somehow I doubt it. Fotolibra will always attract genuine photographers who wish to make a bob or two with quality images. The acadamy would be welcome to those who just want to be able to boast that the’ve got pictures lodged with an agency even though Facebook or Flickr might provide them with a wider audience. Whatever happens it is up to fotoLibra to make as much noise as possible using all available media channels and letters of protest to all BAPLA members to let them know that one of their number is being stuffed and it could be them next.

  7. David Hochstetter says:

    They have not forgotten you, it has been calculated you have no choice but to wind up your membership and treat them as a competitor , I am sure they have plans to become a profit centre, probably in the near future. You have prior knowledge now you must protect yourselves
    David Hochstetter

  8. Simon Cliffe says:

    The great thing about blogs is that you get an opportunity to respond, which is what I’m doing now. Reading the remarks to this entry, I want to make it perfectly clear, that we WILL NOT be ‘representing’ these members. We will NOT be ‘licensing’ their images beyond giving them a platform to sell their images as prints or t-shirts or mugs etc. We are NOT planning to go in direct competition with fotoLibra. And we have not ‘ripped off’ any ideas. We are approaching this project with many objectives that are right for the imaging industry, none of which include the above. Last night, Gwyn and I agreed to meet up and discuss this in much more detail in a week or so which is great.

    The BAPLA Academy is a new public membership aiming to attract a group of people keen on photography, who can access and unlock skills from within the BAPLA membership to help them improve as photographers (through pod-casts, seminars, newsletters and portfolio reviews etc). They will also have access to their own Academy website, where through monthly competitions, they can display their images on a special gallery on the home page. Also, if they chose to opt for this, they have a platform to upload a small amount of images every month which will be available to the general public to buy as prints, t-shirts, mugs, jigsaws etc etc.

    The groups we are specifically targeting are:
    – Students on Photography courses
    – 24-64 year old amateur photographers
    – 65+ enthusiasts

    I want to spread the name of BAPLA further; we’re committed to protecting the rights of the imaging industry and added credibility adds to a better response to lobbying the key issues affecting our industry right now.
    I want to find new ways to engage with the public to spread our copyright education programme.
    I want access to students to try and encourage a new generation into our industry.
    I want to find new ways to generate revenue for BAPLA.

    All of these points fit well within our remit.

    I’d like to clarify that this is ONE idea we’re working on – but it’s absolutely NOT just about extra income. It’s about finding smart ways to build the BAPLA profile and engage with new people. It’s the first project we’re launching because it was the first one we got ready.

    As far as risk to our revenue and risk to our remit, it’s minimal. I have agreed a deal with our commercial partners who under my instruction, are getting the project up and running (including full market research), promoting the project and managing the project going forward. That means for me, at the very least, we get for a very small investment, a number of great PR opportunities, opportunities to improve our name and spread the reach of our education programme and opportunities to attract new people to the industry. It also means that the BAPLA office can concentrate on supporting me on a day-to-day basis in achieving the goals I set out last night.

    Now, I’ll go into some of the relevant points I presented during last night’s meeting:

    We give them membership to a community of other like minded people:
    From the research we have undertaken, there IS value in the BAPLA name and what it stands for, and all have told us a very big driving factor behind their joining would be the idea of being involved with BAPLA.

    We give them information to help them get better as photographers:
    Again, from the research carried out and based on one of my motivating factors behind exploring this project, we have found amateurs want access to professional people to help them improve – giving them more than just books or courses (sometimes expensive courses) could.

    We give them information to help them make some money from their hobby
    We are managing this message very carefully. We are making it clear that the membership WON’T guarantee them a contract with a library and that the membership certainly WON’T guarantee them an income to live on. What we are saying is that you might make some sales if your prints are good enough and you can access professionals to review your portfolio.

    To make it perfectly clear again, we WILL NOT be representing these members. We will NOT be licensing their images beyond giving them that platform to sell their images as prints etc. We are NOT planning to go in direct competition with fotoLibra and under no circumstances would we ever claim, pretend or pitch to be a photographic library of any sorts.

  9. Non-commercial sales? sounds like giving them away. Apart from being furious – rightly so – if fotolibra provides a better service, then you have nothing to worry about.

  10. don’t know about most of what the article mentioned, but i i know that i like Fotolibra and i am sorting my photographs which i will upload into their website, i told many of my friends, amature photographers about this website as well, i regrest the fact that i myself didn’t find more time to pay more attention to it.

    this “The idea is that photographers pay an annual fee and get to upload their images to the BAPLA web site where they can be viewed and made available for “non-commercial sales” is what i really can’t figure out, i just can’t accept it, not to mention understand it.

    every email i received from fotolibra calling photos made me feel how the sender(s) are truly putting lots of efforts, explaining tiny details and so on, i sure hope this effort continues, i will personally do what i can from my side to assist.


  11. I have been with Fotolibra many years now and have admired the way they have climbed up the ladder with their friendly attitude and approachable staff. I think with the growth they have attained over the past few years speaks for itself and we should all be prepared to get behind them whole heartedly and do what ever is necessary to crush this stupid idea of BAPLA, Firstly it would be a good idea if all Fotolibra members remain loyal and do not contribute to their scheme, and I think we should be guided by Gwyn and Yvonne regarding the next move as they are at the sharp end and can best advise any course of action . most important is to allow them to act on our behalf and with our full backing

  12. Arthur Ellis says:

    As I have been turned down with every photo sent, I have decided to give up.

  13. Peter Bolton says:

    Sounds like BAPLA have some sort of identity crisis.! What do they want to be? A representational body for photo libraries and agency or a photo library. In my book they can’t be both! They are feeling the effects of the recession and are exploring ways of increasing cash flow as well as trying to secure longer term financial stability. Unfortunately, they haven’t thought it through!

    All their proposals will do is to further shrink their membership and create bad feeling towards them in the industry. The response by Simon Cliffe is very explicit, but when read carefully just looks like exploitation of photographers for a fast buck. There would be no real advantage for anyone taking out membership. Might I suggest that any one thinking of it reads the small print very carefully.

  14. Yes, fotolibra members should remain loyal to what we know is a quality service, and totally ignore this new Academy. I suspect that BAPLA will find it hard to match the guidance and experience we already benefit from at fotolibra.

    As for action by fotolibra, I’d suggest waiting until all the relevent information is to hand before embarking on any legal activity. That can prove expensive, and lawyers would want all the facts first anyway.

  15. Jon Lees says:

    Sounds like the BAPLA are reinventing the wheel entering a market which is already crowded during a period of very difficult trading conditions…even if they avoid competing with Fotolibra directly it does seem like a conflict of interest. Anyway you can sell your images as cards, posters, T-shirts etc in private individual sales on Redbubble for free and they are established and international why pay to do the same.

  16. Fiona Young says:

    I echo the above comments and say a definite NO WITH BELLS ON to BAPLA and a possitively THUNDEROUS YES TO FOTOLIBRA. Fotolibra rules. I have only been with Fotolibra for a couple of months and have already submitted some images to a couple of the photo calls. I love the way that I, as a hobby photographer, is been given the opportunity to show my work to publishers who might like my photographs enough to purchase them. One day my boat will come in…and Fotolibra is giving me that possiblity. A Great Big Thank You Fotolibra…I will be subscribbing to YOU and only YOU in November. YOU FOTOLIBRA, ARE FAB.

  17. Jamie Waddell says:

    Firstly, to do this they are acknowledging that fotolibra are doing something right!

    As stated, a trade body is there to represent the interests of members and evidently they are not. Fotolibra must withdraw and inform all clients (actual and potential) as to the reasons why.

    Like many photographers we have looked at other agencies but fotolibra is different and genuinely provides and excellent service to clients and photographers, can they really copy that? Can they really copy the highly professional and friendly staff? This smells of a panic measure.

  18. Julia Rich says:

    Unfortunately, business ideas aren’t copyright, and can be ripped off by anyone with the ambition to do so. I wonder how far BAPLA would get if all their members decided to leave, since their desire now appears to be to compete with rather than represent its members – may be worthwhile asking other libraries their opinions (if you haven’t already). If (IF!) all BAPLA want to do is provide advice, mentoring and courses, that would be acceptable – but make a charge for them to acquire the revenue. The minute there is “image selling” entering the equation BAPLA becomes a library itself – and it is the salesman’s toe-in-the-door for further competition. However, BAPLA don’t have fotolibra’s experience (yet – but acquirable), don’t have the Dear Leader, Yvonne and Jacqui – and therefore could end up with copious amounts of egg on the face. BAPLA’s attitude smacks seriously of biting the hand that feeds them. Fotolibra will still have a future even if there is competition from BAPLA, I am sure, but I certainly will not be moving out of fotolibra to join a “library” that starts on such an untrustworthy basis. I would have no confidence in them at all.

  19. W.G.Marck says:

    They ( BAPLA) are beginning to sound like the Labour Government. Perhaps Jacqui Norman could set-up a Petition in opposition signed by all Fotolibra Members. With a copy to The Prime Minster who backs down, as the Newspapers tell us today.

  20. Not one for posting in blogs but a long standing member of fotoLibra I feel it necessary to give my support. The model that fotoLibra uses was exactly what I was looking for and they continue to be the only picture library I use. The hard work and positive improvements and developments over the years have been greatly appreciated by myself and thousands of other members. Collectively we are a force to be reckoned with. If the BAPLA truly brings benefits to fotoLibra, by representing then, I believe a u-turn on this proposals must be orchestrated from within. If however the BAPLA is a representative body in name only, not action and benefits, then fotoLibra should loudly and publicly walk away from it.

  21. Robin Wood says:

    Simon Cliffe’s reply sounds like defence of something that has not been thought through. Although the academy may or may not be directly competitive with fotolibra, there is little doubt that it could attract photographers who might otherwise become contributors. It seems inconceivable that the plan was not discussed with members before making the announcement.

  22. First blog I’ve ever posted to – as I do wish to demonstrate some solidarity with fotoLIBRA who we have always found to be an excellent company, innovative and highly personable. I have nothing but the very highest professional regard for Gwyn and Yvonne.
    I think that BAPLA’s defense is, at the very least, highly questionable.
    I find myself squinting very hard to try to square BAPLA’s policy motives with their strategy. They seem to be somewhat disconnected, IMHO.
    I realise that current wisdom holds that we should all be on Twitter and FaceBook and concentrating on dumping our B-to-B businesses in favour of winning consumer hearts and micropayments. BAPLA, however, is an association of its business-agency-members: Association to Business; not Business to Business, nor Business to Consumer, let alone Association to Consumer – unless, of course, that is to be its new role? Either way, it seems quite confused and confusing to me.
    We look forward to continuing our long and happy association with fotoLIBRA and perhaps even a more considered strategy from BAPLA?

  23. David Carton says:

    I agree 100% with Richard. That any trade association is attempting to deal (deal in the sense of trade) with consumers is strange to say the least.

    It is, to be fair to them common for associations to offer training courses in the industry they specialise in, but even then you wouldn’t get the national federation of builders running bricklaying courses they very much stick to legal & health & safety aspects, or very specific skills.

    This seems pretty muddle headed thinking.

    I for one won’t join. There are plenty of photography forums/blogs where you can post & get feedback at no cost. Some run by very respected magazines in the field, so why pay for it when you can get it free? Additionally on most you can specify your website adress & generate some traffic for Fotlibra at the same time. Something that seems to be missing from the BAPLA model, and if it’s to be closed to all but paying members wouldn’t generate diddly squat anyway.

    I know from previous blogs that FL has had problems locating a company that thinks it worthwhile to run the prints/calendars/mousemats side, so if BAPLA are aware of one surely they should have been reccomending it to FL not signing up deals themselves?

    At the end of the day Gwyn you know best how much value is placed on the BAPLA membership by buyers, and whether you can do without it or not. I’ll support your decision either way.

    Best of luck in getting through to them at your meeting.


  24. David Carton says:

    BTW Arthur. Post 12 I’m not sure what you mean by turned down? You’re free to post anything to the site, and there is no feedback to say clients have “turned down” any images.

    Do you mean you’ve submitted to picture calls & not had any sales to date? If so you may need to be a bit more patient. I’ve no idea how long you’ve been a member, but I recently got a payment from a photocall that I’d submitted to over a year before. There is often a long lag owing to FL not getting paid until publication.



  25. It seems to me that people need to calm down, step back and look at this situation again.

    If as suggested in Post 9, that BAPLA are simply providing an additional platform of exposure for photographers, with little or no commercial benefit to either, then I hardly see this as being detrimental to any Library. If anything, it could be designed to enhnance the commercial aspect for photographers of Libraries who are members of BAPLA, such as, by clearly stating the Library to which the Photographer is a client, and providing a link through the displayed photograph to the relevant Library bringing the viewer directly to the photographers files.

    If BAPLA is prepared to restrict it’s sales of images to Mugs, Jigsaws and T-Shirts, giving the photographer a small but additional fiancial benefit, and at the same time increasing the level of exposure of the photographer, then I see no area of competition with PhotoLibra, since these items are not available through PhotoLibra.

    Competition is the engine which drives commerce – exclusivity stiffles it. However, BAPLA needs to decide IF it is entering the ‘competition’ arena, OR whether it is to remain largely as a ‘representative body’ – but it can’t do both. Imagine what would happen if the RPS or BPPA were to attempt commercialisation of its members images.

    There is plenty of room in this, for further thought and compromise.

  26. PAul Maskens says:

    Seems that BAPLA are on a hiding to nothing.
    With membership dwindling they’re looking for a way to stay in existence.
    Not by working with their members to keep them in business, but by competing?
    I don’t see that BAPLA has any remit to “help them improve as photographers” that’s ullocks.
    BAPLA might be served better by showcasing their members’ libraries, using existing images from those libraries if they want to “spread the name of BAPLA further” as surely they exist only on their members’ subscriptions and to further their members’ intersts and support them?
    I detect a huge conflict of interest here, and contradicting statements like “I want to find new ways to generate revenue for BAPLA.” and “it’s absolutely NOT just about extra income” don’t sit well together.
    I don’t think I need BAPLA – I am not a Picture Library or Agency.
    So I won’t be joining them.

  27. Keith Erskine says:

    To all at FotoLibra – You have my support. I do hope BAPLA will re-think its current strategy instead of competing directly with one of their clients. Further discussion is needed but don’t give up. Perhaps an explanation of “start-up” and “Maintenance” costs of such a venture will make them reconsider???

    Keep the dialogue going and wear them down.


  28. Jim Walker says:

    Having read the posts, and BAPLA’s explanation. I think their stance is weak, very weak. Since when does a trade organization set up to compete with its members? fotoLibra and other members of BAPLA should immediately cancel their membership and demand a return of their membership fees. Obviously, BAPLA has outlived its purpose for existing.

  29. Sorry, I don’t see what the threat is.

    BAPLA are saying non-commercial – ie “Also, if they chose to opt for this, they have a platform to upload a small amount of images every month which will be available to the general public to buy as prints, t-shirts, mugs, jigsaws etc etc.”

    That doesn’t suggest they are trying to undermine fotoLibra’s core market which is commercial customers?

  30. Graham Sadd says:

    The role of any Trade Association is to promote their members NOT to compete with them.
    Once they cross that line then they can’t call themselves a Trade Association

  31. I’ve been with fotoLibra for years, and the small, friendly and helpful fotoLibra team has my full support.

    What a pity that – prior to the AGM – fotoLibra and perhaps other BAPLA members were not given a courtesy ‘preliminary peek’ and a chance to respond to this plan’s oh-so-obviously overlapping appeal to aspiring photographers!

    Simon Cliffe said – “I want to spread the name of BAPLA further …”

    I think it’s ironic that I first heard about BAPLA through fotoLibra, and that I so readily recognise the BAPLA brand because it’s mentioned so routinely (and proudly!) on the fotoLibra web site, and in fotoLibra emails and Newsletters!

    I applaud many of Simon Cliffe’s stated aims for a BAPLA Academy, but rather than set up a whole new Academy, surely it would have been better to have sponsored a “BAPLA Accreditation”, or a “BAPLA Award For Excellence” through some existing schools of photography, so that students from those schools could – in just a few years time – proudly boast “BAPLA Accredited Photographer”?

    Simon Cliffe said – “We [will] give them information to help them make some money from their hobby”

    Make money?! Beware of what you promise to your ‘students’! I wonder what magic you’ll weave on their behalf to honour that aspiration? As Executive Director of BAPLA you may actually *know* what proportion of fotoLibra’s 17,000 “Sellers”, and what proportion of another BAPLA member’s 17,000 “Contributers” have actually “made some money” from their HARD WORK, never mind from their HOBBY!

    Simon Cliffe said – “Last night, Gwyn and I agreed to meet up and discuss this in much more detail in a week or so which is great.”

    Excellent! Talking is good … Talking EARLY is better.

  32. Ron Scherl says:

    OK, deep breath and let’s look at the big picture. BAPLA is the trade association for a dying industry. The old stock photography business model is hanging out in the churchyard awaiting burial. Just look at the declining membership and the unhealthy numbers of those that remain. Corbis and Getty will survive (for a while) by buying social media companies and incorporating Web 2 principles in their business model. No one else has the money to do that.
    But the old model of pricing licenses according to the parameters of publication makes no sense in an online world with unlimited reach. What does print run mean on the web, how about distribution territory, number of languages? Doesn’t compute. The bigger question is will copyright survive the internet? No one knows the answer, but I think the smart money is not optimistic.
    So, if you’re the BAPLA leadership you’d better look for something else to do, and they looked at social networking, and looked at fotoLibra and said—maybe. And quickly cobbled together a plan because it was time for a meeting and came out with it because they didn’t know what else to do to justify their existence.
    Clearly, this is a desperate reaction. It’s half-baked and not likely to succeed, but is it a threat to fotoLibra?

    A few years ago, ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) floated a similar idea for pros. It went nowhere, partly because the membership were all entrepreneurs who couldn’t agree on where to have lunch.
    Similarly, BAPLA is not a business, it’s a service organization, ill-equipped to mount a business challenge to a viable entity.
    If fotoLibra is able to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing social and legal environment, it will succeed and prosper as will its members. If it fails, it won’t be because BAPLA entered the field.

  33. Dave Tait says:

    They are moving the goalposts. But, worryingly, by so doing it could lead to further shifts in the future. Any Trade Association that creates a situation that threatens a member clients business is guilty of misrepresenting that client.
    BAPLA is obliged to do what is best for all members, not take a course that might be good for some members but at a cost to others.
    The fact that BAPLA chose not to debate this in the public forum simply showed a lack of understanding of any possible features that might be wrong about the new strategy. They are creating competition. It’s that simple.
    I have to say also that should BAPLA be in a position to upload LARGE amounts of images every month, it’s unlikely they will refuse. More to the point, can FotoLibra or indeed anyone else now trust BAPLA to do the right thing in future?

  34. Rob Weaver says:

    Hello Jacqui and Photolibra members… I have been a long time user of fotolibra .. and have only sold one picture all this time.. I believe that some of my photographs are exceptional and sometimes wonder why they have not been sold .. maybe its because I do animals and wild life and Africa.. but, I am appalled the fotolibra has been “used” by BAPLA an organisation that is supposed to look after “Its” members interests..and to copy the same idea is not on.. but, unfortunately the business world is not “honest” and will always seek an opportunity to kep themselves going.. this means that “we” members of fotolibra should do more to support fotolibra and in turn ourselves.. may I suggest that a meeting be arranged with fotolibra members to see how we can all combine to strengthen fotolibra and ourselves.. this is an excellent site possibly needs more marketing.. but the team have invested into this system and we should support it… we re in difficult times particularly as the world media seems to want video for uploads to websites.. an expensive process .. we have all spent a great deat of money on cameras etc.. and we need to sell digital pics with the aid of fotolibra so came on all lets get behind Jacqui and the support team ..

  35. Grim Reaper says:

    So somebody moved into your sector……….Tough

  36. I will stay with and continue to support the only people I think are worthy of supporting.


  37. The Baplers should be ashamed of themselves……………….no really I’m laughing so much.

  38. Rob Weaver says:

    Grim Reaper.. Rocket Scientest .. you are not at all sympathetic and no doubt not a fotolibra members ..just a waste of time on this blogg and should use this site with respect

  39. Forgive me if this has already been said – I haven’t the time to read all the responses – but the obvious solution is for fotoLIBRA to handle the commercial sales for the BAPLA Academy. The Academy can concentrate on promotion and development of budding (and over-ripened) photographers and leave the sales to a well-established and experienced, specialist team. No member conflict, no commercial conflict, substantial benefit to BAPLA, fotoLIBRA and the photographic, and photo-using, community. My work here is done.

  40. Lady Brannigans says:

    For what it’s worth, BAPLA’s plans as described here and on their website seem to me to be completely removed from fotolibra’s business: the BAPLA Academy appears to be mainly a place for photographers to hone their craft and display their images – not sell them to publishers and commercial buyers.

    If by “creating competition” you mean that the existence of BAPLA Academy will divert photographers away from Fotolibra, I think this is completely misguided: photographers as a general rule tend to work very hard to have their pictures seen on the internet, they join a plurality of sites (facebook, flickr, photonet, etc) and there doesn’t seem to me to be a conflict of interest here.

    That being said, I don’t think the BAPLA idea is very good or very clever in itself – there are so many free avenues available for photographers to display their work, enter into competitions, and print mugs / t-shirts, etc that members will not be willing to pay for the privilege. Unless the services are really excellent, unique, and add terrific value, BAPLA’s idea will fail anyway. I mean, come on, this sounds like the kind of idea marketing monkeys came up with in 2003.

    As for fotolibra: emailing all the picture editors on your list about this is a bit rich! Tut tut!

  41. Linda Wright says:

    These are the reflections of a fotoLibra photographer who is mystified that this could have happened. As I understand it, BAPLA is an umbrella organisation which on the face of it supports and represents its members. In that role, I would expect it to give the advice and help that comes from having wide experience and professional knowhow. To make a proposal that conflicts with the interests of even one of its members seems to be either a betrayal of trust (and dare I say friendship) or else a demonstration of how little it knows about the businesses it represents. ANY organisation which does this will lose perhaps its most valuable asset – the goodwill of those on board. I should imagine that BAPLA is re-examining its intent and motives. If it was a thoughtless gaff, I believe they would do well to say so in the hope that they can rescue good working relations not only with fotoLibra but also all those other members who may wonder if they too could be shafted. If it was intentional, then BAPLA may expect to lose its following.
    Although I have never met the fotoLibra team, working with this company is like being part of a family. The professionalism and good humour that emanates from all their communications and business deals is second to none. They work tirelessly and with ingenuity to promote photographers and I am proud to belong. Thank you fotoLibra and good luck!!

  42. Evan Seys says:

    Unbelievable how some people think. Certainly i would seriously take them to court as they take money from their members to support them, not to learn from them then go into competition with them. These people are indeed there to give advice as a non porofit organisation paid for by its members. If they feel the need for a school or whatever, they should have gone to their members BEFORE making an announcement.

  43. Jon Lees says:

    I would not waste the time or money lining solicitors pockets taking a civil action. Just walk away, don’t take your eye off the ball and stick to your game plan. Stop your subscription to BAPLA save your money -fotolibra’s members money!

  44. Tessier says:

    Simon Cliffe says:

    “The groups we are specifically targeting are:
    – Students on Photography courses
    – 24-64 year old amateur photographers
    – 65+ enthusiasts”

    Well, that certainly narrows it down. No fetuses, infants or toddlers, nor any indeterminate youths and/or students who are not actually interested in photography. Thanks for clearing that up. Oh, and, what is it about age 65 that turns you from an “amateur” into an “enthusiast”? Tut tut!

    Thank you for “spamming” me about this, fotoLIBRA. Screw BAPLA.

  45. Peter Vallance says:

    It is not at all clear to me what BAPLA have in mind and a meeting is clearly essential to clarify what is at stake here. I m confident that we can rely on Gwynn and Yvonne to get to the bottom of it.

    I have been with Fotolibra – with reasonable success – for some time now and agree with Linda and others that the company serves us very well indeed. I have been very impressed by its professionalism, dedication and willingness to move with the times in what is a very competitive market. Long may this continue.

  46. Barbara Engelmann says:

    As much as I (from my “outside” view – I am not a photographer!) can see and understand, it would appear more than logical to me to withdraw FotoLibras Bapla-membership – this story gives me the impression that they (Bapla) take advantage of their members’ professional “know how” and original ideas… Could it help to organize a meeting? No idea!…anyway, try to not waste time and money, but seriously take care of your own company – and try to protect it!!! You’ve done such a good job over all those years!

  47. shaunagh Latymer says:

    If BAPLA are so adamant that it is just mousemats and T shirts then they have not thought it thru. The cost of setting it all up will just be a drag. Surely the simple solution is for them to spend that money sponsoring an area of Fotolibra for their members to get the said mousemats. This would bring them possible additonal members from Fotolibras ranks; shared marketing is always more powerful. Setting up in conflict with your own members is never wise.

  48. Eric Dodds says:

    Surely BAPLA as its name suggests is there to be an agency to assist other picture libraries not compete with them. May I ask what if anything does Fotolibra gain from being a member ? Fotolibra has a good reputation and INMHO should go it alone. BAPLA seems to be another money maker with no return for the photographer.

  49. Brian Murray says:

    This kind of thing has to be expected. If you sell, for example, burgers, you have to expect other people to try and copy your product. However, it is more than a bit unsavoury that an institution claiming to represent people like Photolibra should be the ones doing the copying.

    However: it is plain that the “pence per photo” approach is not working: how can it? Neither the agency nor the photographer can make that much out of this, and the old days of pro- am photography were far more lucrative. They’ve woken up and realised that the pence per photo model needs replacing. As Photolibra has known all along. Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

  50. Barry Hitchcox says:

    Haven’t read all the blogs yet but am outraged. Smacks of the National Trust.. in reverse. All I can say is come back Sal Shuel, the wonderfully vibrant lady who virtually invented BAPLA and ran it single-handed for many years!