fotoFringe, May 11

March 11th, 2011

When fotoLibra was just an ickle bitty new picture library we scraped all our pennies together and took a stand at the BAPLA Picture Buyers’ Fair. We thought it crucial that we should hang out our faces in public, and meet all those radiant people who would (we were convinced) shortly be buying shedloads of photographs from our wonderful members.

It hasn’t quite worked out like that, although we haven’t done too badly. We’re nearing half a million images online, which although it doesn’t yet match the behemoths of Getty, Alamy, Corbis and the microstock rabble, is still a respectable amount of superb images.

So it was with sadness that we learned that BAPLA would not be holding a Picture Buyers’ Fair this year.

Full marks therefore to the lovely Flora Smith of Topfoto who reasoned “If they’re not going to do it, then we will”. She hired a room and some trestle tables, called the event fotoFringe and invited a few friendly picture libraries to exhibit with her. “What a great idea,” I thought, and emailed Flora to say “Count us in!”

No room.

It was by invitation only, and she’d filled it already. 21 picture libraries, plus media partner Photo Archive News, will be exhibiting at fotoFringe — but not fotoLibra. We’re on the waiting list for a table, but we’re not holding our breath. Of course we’ll be there in person(s) (Flora said we could come), prowling round the room like hyenas and jackals, but we won’t be sitting at the top table.

Sleepless nights haven’t resolved the question of why Flora and Will Carleton of Photo Archive News didn’t think of us when choosing 20 picture libraries to exhibit with them (is it my tendency to dribble? my flatulence? my general nastiness?) but there we go. We will just sit on the sidelines and wait.

fotoLibra strongly supports the idea of fotoFringe, and hopes that every picture researcher worth her salt will attend, despite the formal absence of fotoLibra, Getty, Alamy and Corbis. There’s a website for the event at, and it takes place on May 11th at the spiffy new Kings Place venue just north of King’s Cross. See you there!

One thing the fotoFringe website doesn’t do is link through to the exhibiting agencies’ websites so you can see what they offer, so as a service to picture buyers I thought fotoLibra could contribute that here.

And rather than list the libraries conventionally in alphabetical order, I’ve listed them in the order they appear on Alexa, the website ranking index standard, to see how close they get to Google, Facebook and Youtube. The lower the number, the more people visit the site.

Although fotoLibra isn’t exhibiting at fotoFringe, it would be invidious to leave my own company out of any listing. So here we go:

Wenn Celebrities 44,438
Splash Celebrities 90,218
fotoLibra General 149,195
Image Source General 307,297
Bridgeman Art 312,278
Heritage Images Heritage 367,724
Photoshot General 386,375
Topfoto General 442,985
Robert Harding Travel 581,251
Photo Archive News Trade News 824,236
Nature Picture Library Nature 940,390
View Architecture 1,179,000
Camera Press General 1,904,000
Picture Research Association Industry Body 2,080,000
Mary Evans History 2,138,000
Arcaid Architecture 2,216,000
Mirrorpix News 2,424,000
Country Life Heritage 2,667,000
4 Corners Travel 3,590,000
Specialist Stock Environment 7,590,000
Ronald Grant Archive Cinema 8,012,000
Arenapal Performing Arts 9,170,000
John Walmsley Education Education 22,800,000
Writer Pictures Authors no data

Add your comment


8 Responses to “fotoFringe, May 11”

  1. Keith Erskine says:

    How did you evaluate previous BAPLA events? Was there a measurable increase in requests thereafter or just networking?


  2. Gwyn Headley says:

    Networking rather than any astounding one-off orders. But I know that we met at least five of our major clients (one being our biggest single customer by price) for the first time at various BAPLA Picture Buyers fairs over the years.

  3. Angie Jardine says:

    Gwyn – am not sure about such things but it seems to me that if fotolibra’s traffic ranking is third for general work that must surely be a great result – no?
    And let’s face it the top two are concerned with celebs and who can compete with those in this fame-struck age – so they don’t really count.

  4. Terence Chan says:

    Some really interesting traffic statistics here. I didn’t know about Alexa before, and when I checked the fotoLibra stats just now, your ranking has gone down slightly. One interesting discovery I made as I was typing in “fotoli…” on Alexa is that there is a site called, which apparently is the most visited phtography portal in Venezuela – although I think to call it a photography portal is a bit misleading. Do you think there is any serious impact (positive or negative) in having another (supposedly) photography site with a similar name as yours?

    Finally, I can’t resist a shameless brag: I checked my own rather small site on Alexa and was gratified to find that its
    ranking was just over 5 million, still considerably higher than
    several of the photo libraries you listed.

  5. […] « fotoFringe, May 11 […]

  6. What is the reason BAPLA are not running a Picture Buyers’ Fair this year, is it down to money?

    It’s a pity that photographers are not allowed to visit fotoFringe as I found the BAPLA events worth going to and they ran useful seminars (on such things as metadata).

  7. Gwyn Headley says:

    Yes Angie, that is a great result for fotoLibra. I was, I’ll admit, labouring a point for effect.

    Well done on your rating Terence — check it again and you’ll see a different rating. They swing up and down with alarming frequency; in fotoLibra’s case between 145,000 and 160,000. Today’s is (he quickly goes to check) 149,314. Rats! We’ve dropped a few.

    Michael, I sympathise with your feeling of exclusion, but it’s like having cows in milk bars or authors at book fairs — one shouldn’t mix production and sales.

    • A good number of photographers also run their own libraries or in my case my employers library – being both their photographer and ‘librarian’, it was therefore useful to see both sides of the bar.

      Pleased to hear that you are being let into the fringe.