Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

Coals to Newcastle

August 17th, 2011

We don’t normally comment on sales we make at fotoLibra, but here’s one that caught my eye: we’ve just sold a photograph of the Eiffel Tower to … a Parisian fashion house.


Update — half an hour later — we’ve just sold a photograph of a Mauritian helicopter to a communications company in … Mauritius.

I love this.


The Dictionary Game

August 4th, 2010

Before I tell you about this wonderful and enjoyable challenge, just a word on the new fotoLibra Version 4.1.

We launched it a couple of days ago and the reaction from both buyers and sellers has been extremely positive, once users discovered where to access all the new features. If they still elude you, please check out the comments in the last blog posting, where all is revealed.

Now for the The Dictionary Game.

It’s summer, time for fun and frolics (it’s raining hard as I write this), and this is an amusing if cerebral pastime.

I used to do this for fun as a kid, but I’m not a photographer, simply a man who takes photographs.

Flip open the dictionary. Find a word you don’t know (come on, there must be one).

Read the definition.

Now photograph it.

Do you see? It makes you think very hard about how you convey the meaning of a word visually. It’s even more of a challenge — and therefore much more satisfying — if the word is an abstract concept. Or a verb.

When you upload the resulting image to fotoLibra, imagine the pleasure of getting a fotoLibrawhack — your picture being the sole one returned when a search for ‘glabrous’ is made, for example.

Here are some words that have sent me scurrying for the dictionary recently:

  • aboulia
  • gremial
  • eirenicon
  • cagot
  • lepid
  • manyplies
  • temulent
  • paneity
  • lucubration
  • zoilism
  • lek
  • coper
  • hamfatter
  • copacetic
  • autochthon
  • luculent
  • epicene

Have fun!

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

The great American adman Leo Burnett (he of the red apples in reception)  memorably defined advertising as saying to people, ‘Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s what it will do for you. Here’s how to get it.’

This is a lesson conned by every marketing student since Leo first formulated the thought.

But now this tripod trope has evolved into a biped.

Advertising now is only about ‘Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s what it will do for you.’ People no longer have to be told how to get it.

We got it. We have credit cards, broadband, Google and Amazon. We all get it.



December 30th, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

What a detestable neologism. But I guess there’s no other way to describe the secular gap between the Christian festival of Christmas and the astronomical (or Scottish) festival of the New Year.

I’ve never been sure why New Year doesn’t come at the time of the winter solstice, which this year was 17:47 on December 21st.

In Britain, this is traditionally the time when we skive off. Shopworkers are run off their feet, but the rest of us gaze glumly out of our windows at the steady drizzle, briefly think about taking the dog for a walk then go back and slump in front of the telly instead.

Not fotoLibra! Of course we’re hard at it all the time. At least our Snowdonia office is, judging by the Picture Call I’ve just received from Jacqui Norman. Here in London, however, we’re running a Reactive week, which means we’ll respond to you if it’s urgent (like if you want to buy pictures) but otherwise we’re listlessly sorting through piles of paper, putting them in different places on the floor, and wondering what’s on telly. It’s a form of end-of-year catharsis.

Next week we’ll be back, firing on all 16 cylinders as usual. Stand by for a cracking New Year! We hope you have a happy and prosperous one. We’ll do our best for the latter part.



November 5th, 2009

99% of our Support queries ask “How do I make my pictures 300 ppi?”

Well here is the answer, but this morning we had a support query of a different nature:

I am trying to trace Rock Hardplace, who was a friend of mine in New York 40 years ago and on doing a yahoo search found some photos by him on your site – when I knew him he was a budding fashion photographer.  I don’t expect you to give out personal information, but is there a way I could track him down through you?
Fifi L’Amour

Well, we don’t disclose our members’ contact details, but of course we’re more than happy to forward emails, especially ones like this.

I hope it’s a nice surprise. Maybe it’s an invitation to the triplets’ 40th birthday celebrations?

Of course, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.


Farewell Kodachrome

June 22nd, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

After 74 years, Kodak have pulled the plug on Kodachrome:

There will be photographers working today who have never used it.

They give us those nice bright colors, they give us the greens of summers, makes you think all the world’s a sunny day. I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph, so mama don’t take my Kodachrome away.

But as it now accounts for “a fraction of one per cent of our film sales” and everyone knows no one buys film any more (oh yes they do) they’ve rather emotionally decided to drop it.

Despite Paul Simon’s “greens of summer”, Kodachrome wasn’t particularly good with greens. Red and yellow was its forte, like its logo and packaging. Rich red, vibrant yellow, and the high blue skies of summer. Simon WAS right in that it made you think all the world’s a sunny day.

Being based in Wales, a land so beautiful the sun dare not show his face, I found that Fuji Velvia captured the greys and greens of my homeland more accurately.

So we based the cost of a fotoLibra subscription on the price of a roll of Fuji Velvia. I wonder how much it costs now?

But Kodachrome was a classic film. It was great in the way a ’56 Chevy was great, and sadly just as relevant to today’s world.


I mentioned in a recent blog comment that I’d been a (bad) photographer for 58 years.

Someone had the effrontery to query the claim. Well here’s the proof:

Gwyns first camera

Gwyn’s first camera

Hang on. Maybe they were querying the use of the word ‘bad’.

Hey — I sold a photograph today!


Why Pay More?

April 15th, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Old business model for start-ups:

1. Think of name
2. Employ expensive graphic designer and picture library to supply corporate theme and visual content
3. Trade happily ever after

New business model for start-ups:

1. Make up name not already registered as a dot com
2. Run competition to choose images and graphics
3. Award winner of competition the honor of seeing his work used by new megacorp
4. Save $000s

Clever it certainly is. But sustainable? Surely designers and photographers will come to their senses? Or is this solely aimed at the sub-graduate sector?

Whatever; if this really catches on there won’t be any jobs for them to graduate to. Designers and photographers need the protection of agencies such as fotoLibra to save them from themselves.



March 13th, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

I recently found this remarkable web site called Web Archive: which records snapshots of websites in history.

Intrigued, I searched for fotoLibra (as one does) and came across this:

fotoLibras first Home Page

It forms several parts of our original home page, designed and coded by me (rather poorly, I am now prepared to confess). The 976 appalling images we proudly offered were taken by me. And I’m not a photographer.

It’s dated six years ago tomorrow, when the idea of fotoLibra was just over a year old and we were still over a year away from getting a workable site. God, the frustrations! The expense!

And just when we think we can discern a carrot at the end of the tunnel (thanks, Dede) we get whacked by the global credit crunch. So six years on it’s still God, the frustrations! The expense!

But because we run such a tight ship and provide a unique service, I think we’ll pull through.

We just have to let people know we exist. I never realised how hard that bit would be.