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INTERVIEW: Charles Taylor – Managing Director at Universal Pictorial Press and Agency

  • Managing Director at Universal Pictorial Press and Agency (, London.
  • Publisher of Hotshoe International Magazine.

    PAN: When did you start in the picture library business?
    CT: 25th October 2002
    What were you doing before that?
    I spent a long time in the City before starting a website, which has now grown to include a magazine, Hotshoe, a commercial photography business, and of course UPPA.
    How many employees do you have?
    How involved are you in every day picture sales decisions?
    Not hugely, but I do work with our news editor, Peter Dare, in deciding the events we should cover.
    Is the future completely digital?
    Absolutely. I am sure there will be more technological breakthroughs that will benefit the business.
    Do you have any advice for a new picture library?
    Don’t do it. There are too many already!
    Which picture library web site has caught your eye recently?
    I check to many. The big boys set the technological standards, if you don’t keep up with them, you will eventually fade away.
    Which papers do you read regularly?
    Times, FT, Evening Standard and Telegraph.
    What are the most important ingredients for today’s press agency?
    Great pictures, speedily delivered. But to capture those moments, you need unbelievably dedicated staff.
    What interests do you pursue when you are not selling images?
    Probably not printable.
    Do you think being based in London has is necessary or could you now run a press agency anywhere?
    I think it helps a great deal. Its the people you meet incidentally that make the difference, and they are concentrated here.
    Which system do you use for your online library?
    Media partner by emotion – an American company.
    Is it web based?
    How many pictures do you sell overnight directly through your web site?
    Not many directly to customers. Access is still fairly limited to the UK clients and foreign agents.
    What percentage of your outgoings do you spend on marketing the library?
    Not enough.
    Where do you live?
    Pimlico, London.
    Family status?
    Do you take photographs?
    No, I am technically challenged.
    Describe your day.
    My overall impression is that it is too fragmented. I would love to be able to concentrate on one thing for more than 10 minutes.
    What’s hot, what’s new?
    I always love new gadgets – soon photographers will be walking transmitters. They’ll probably need planning permission soon. The machinations and courtships between agencies is always gripping.
    Any last thoughts?
    Event organisers should give more thought to who they let photograph their events. By letting in so many, they are in danger of destabilising coverage. It could come back to bite them.