Posts Tagged ‘2012’

We’re busy with our final preparations for fotoFringe London 2012, the picture buyers’ fair which is being held tomorrow in King’s Place, a newish office block and conference centre where The Guardian have their offices, near King’s Cross.

And it’s an article in The Guardian that I want to write about. A friend in Euskadi alerted me to this one (thank you Peta) because it’s one of my favourite topics — the freedom of photographers to use their cameras.

Stonehenge, Trafalgar Square, National Trust properties, a whole bunch of places in the USA — the list of places where photography is banned or restricted lengthens daily. Now, unsurprisingly, we can add the Olympic park in East London to the list.

I’ll never get to see this place because all my ticket applications have proved unsuccessful. However I am permitted to contribute substantially towards it through a hike in my London rates over the next ten years. So I’d like to see some pictures of it.

The Olympic venues are technically private property (purchased using our money, but when did that ever restrain our dear leaders?) so control can be asserted over what can and can’t be photographed within the precincts. But not on the public spaces surrounding the venue, of course.

The Guardian thought this could be interesting, so they sent a couple of photographers and a video to test the temperature of the waters. They struck lucky straight away when they ran into an incompetently and incompletely briefed security guard whose debating skills and command of English were no match for the fiercely well prepared Guardian hacks. He simply attempted to stop them filming in a public place. They refused. Reinforcements arrived.

And here — well, you know I’m on the side of the photographers, but this was outright provocation and harassment. The Guardian hacks were milling around, pushing for a reaction. But they came up against an intelligent, articulate and reasonable security supervisor who conceded they had a right to photograph on public land but as this was a sensitive area — the Olympic Park’s security centre — it would be most awfully kind of them if they could possibly desist.

The Guardianistas hectored and interrupted. They tried to photograph the armband name badge of an old fart security guard who looked worryingly like me, and he tore it off to prevent them. Bad move. The hacks loved it.

I want photographers to be able to photograph what they want when they want where they want, within reason and without causing offence, upset or danger. Yes, there are security concerns. Yes, there are privacy issues. I’m less impressed by the “we own it, therefore we should profit from it” brigade. I personally find papparazzis distasteful, and I believe they were the major contributing factor in the death of Princess Diana.

Our cause isn’t helped by photographers manufacturing an incident where none existed. But every movement needs an obnoxious vanguard.

Doesn’t it? What do you think?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/apr/23/olympic-park-security-guards-journalists-photos

Our latest analytics tell me that 9,328 unique people visited the fotoLibra Pro Blog in the last month and it had 19,999 pageviews. Damn. Only one to go.

Today I want to tell you about fotoFringe 2012. Now you’re all unique, and you’re all lovely — but I don’t actually know who many of you are. I inform fotoLibra buyers and sellers when I’ve posted a new blog, as well as most people I know. My high-flying niece Shân always obliges with an out-of-office auto-reply — “I am out of the office on business in the US / Switzerland / Australia / Chile / Singapore (insert exotic location here) and will only have limited access to e-mails.”

67.76% of you are from the UK, 9.42% from the USA, 22.82% from elsewhere. What I would have expected. I don’t know if these visiting figures are good or bad, or what to compare them to.

But from the comments that are made, most respondees are photographers.

So this blog posting isn’t for you.

This one is for that rara avis, the professional picture buyer.

Now because we are so cripplingly shy at fotoLibra, we never get out of the office. We seldom dare to speak in the office either, we just email each other. Jacqui never even leaves her eyrie in Snowdonia. So we are terrified of picture buyers and very nervous about meeting them. But we want to and we need to, because the ones that we do meet are all so sweet and kind to us, not frightening at all. It’s just that … well, have you ever tried cold calling? Have you ever received an unwanted telephone call? It is the most disheartening, dispiriting experience for both sides. Even if the caller is offering something the answerer may want, now is almost always not the right time.  Today I’m sitting here in Harlech, baking in sunshine, and the phone has rung three times in the past 30 minutes. I am alone in the office, and because of the vagaries of Welsh telephony the phone is four rooms away from my computer. I can choose to be with one or the other; not both. Three times I have jumped up to answer the phone; three times a bland recorded voice says “Our records show you may be owed thousands from Personal Protection Payments.” There’s not even anyone to shout at. So I rant to a keyboard which dutifully records my raging fingers.

Get to the point, Headley. We do have a chance to meet professional picture buyers, and it’s called fotoFringe. The first event was last year. We gulped, we set up our trestle table (this is not major league stuff) and we were astonished and delighted by the picture editors, researchers and buyers we met and by the number of them! I calculated we made 58 good contacts during the day. It was the best exhibition we’ve ever done.

Until April 26th this year, of course, when fotoFringe 2012 takes place at King’s Place in King’s Cross, London. It’s bigger than last year. We hope it will be even better, although it’s hard to see how it can be bettered.

We will be able to look picture researchers in the eye (we hope), shake their hands, and show them the wondrous imagery our talented members have assembled. We can tell them about Picture Calls. We can tell them about advanceImages. We can show off our extremely user-friendly new website (we keep hoping).

Maybe we’ll make 59 good contacts. So if you are a picture editor, or researcher, or buyer, we hope you’ll find time to come and see us at fotoFringe. If we’re hiding under our table in terror, there are 89 other picture libraries to meet there. Entry is free; all you have to do is register here. The show is only for professional picture users, so photographers aren’t allowed — the fotoFringe organisers, led by the redoubtable and lovely Flora Smith, say:

“This is a privately created and managed networking event for professional picture users and picture libraries, conceived, created and managed by TopFoto as fotofringe London.
“It is not a forum where we are seeking new contributors. This private one day only event is not open to photographers, service providers, nor the general public.”

Sorry about that. But you can email us at fotoLibra at any time, or ideally participate by commenting on the blog. After all, 19,999 pageviews can’t be ignored.

Oh —  but by reading this, YOU must have personally taken it up to 20,000 pageviews. Thank you very, very much!