May 12th, 2011

There was no BAPLA Picture Buyers’ Fair this year. The lovely and redoubtable Flora Smith of Topfoto decided to do something about it.

With the help of Will Carleton of Photo Archive News she created fotoFringe. 55 picture libraries (curiously no Getty, Corbis or Alamy) piled into the plush King’s Place development on a highly gentrified canal basin at King’s Cross and prepared to tout their wares to the picture editors and researchers they hoped would attend.

And attend they did. I can’t speak for other picture libraries, but at the show yesterday we had 58 — count them, 58 — fruitful meetings. (We would have had more had not at least three photographers managed to evade the armed guards and got to chew the fat over a leisurely few hours with us while we agonisingly watched trains of real live picture buyers, weighed down with credit cards and price agreements burning holes in their handbags, steaming past us. There’s a time and a place etc etc and You Know Who You Are. No — we love you really. It’s just that we went there geared up to talk to picture buyers, not sellers.)

I can speak for other picture libraries, actually. There wasn’t a single voice of dissent. Everyone had a great day. It wasn’t expensive (except for all the bars of chocolate we handed out to picture buyers) and in terms of cost per head per meeting it was perhaps the most successful expo fotoLibra has ever attended.

Let’s do it again!

One interesting point (to me) is that 14 of our visitors had come to a trade show without bringing any business cards with them. Is it just me, or does that seem odd?

If you want to see more (and considerably better) images and read more about fotoFringe, here’s a link to Photo Archive News’s report for May 12. You can see fotoLibra’s stand and Yvonne’s and my cheery faces in the fourth image down.

Meanwhile my only quibble was that as we were in the second wave of bookings for the show along with 18 other picture libraries, our black felt-covered fotoLibra trestle table was placed below water level in the windowless basement. It was interesting to note people’s reactions to the space: the under 25s said “This looks like an exam room;” the 25 to 60s said “This looks like a gymnasium;” and the over 60s said “This looks like a morgue.” Ah, the preoccupations of age.

Here’s the stand when we set it up:

and here’s the rest of the room (or The Morgue, as my age group called it).

It really was a cheerful, positive, feelgood sort of event. Let’s hope this leads to more sales for us all.



Add your comment


14 Responses to “fotoFringe”

  1. Thom Gourley says:

    Congratulations on your successful event! It’s great to know that the “little guys” are still gettin’ it done in this world of giants. You have my total respect!


  2. peta says:

    cool.. well done:-)

  3. Richard says:

    Good stuff, well done. It can be very difficult getting to the people who matter and its not always the glossy and expensive events that manage that.

  4. Keith Erskine says:

    Hi Gwyn

    Looks a bit like an Speed-dating or AA meeting! Let’s hope it will be highly productive for all.

    All the best

    Keith Erskine

  5. Pat Regan says:

    This reminds me of the last Election Count I attended; although not quite as hostile an atmosphere…lol

  6. Sorry – think my comment landed in the wrong place!

  7. john hill says:

    Congratulations,Gwyn,that is the way for us to get our name across to the stick in the muds.Although I would have liked to have seen a large flat screen behind you with a random slide show,this would have attracted more to the stand from other parts of the room,well perhaps next time.We all know that you have an excellent product to sell,its just a matter of getting everyone else to see that.

  8. David Carton says:

    No business cards? & you were offering chocolates too. Such blatant bribery. Hope it leads to some business!


  9. I hope you had a most successful day and you achieved everything you set out to do.

  10. Natalia Mazo says:

    Pity I couldn’t come. But I always forget to give a business card anyway.

  11. Thank you Fotolibra for taking the time and effort to attend this show, after all you are helping all of us by pushing our images in front of the people that matter.

    I hope it raises our profile and leads to sales.
    I have lost my main employment due to psoriatic arthritis in my feet so I now need you to sell lots of my images please!

    All the best for us all for the future,

  12. Alexander Boyle says:

    Good work chasps and chaspesses one and all.
    I send you, largely, ordinary images of ordinary matters. There must be a market for them somewhere. I can find it only
    with your support and help. So far, however, I have had more images published by India’s Deccan Herald than by any European publication. Some day, I think, they might even pay me.
    Many thanks for all your efforts.

  13. Gwyn Headley says:

    Thanks for all your good wishes and kind comments!
    Now we’re doing the follow-ups — rather less enthralling but absolutely vital.