Library Manager at Pulse Picture Library/CMP Information Ltd
Group Picture Editor, Healthcare/CMP Information Ltd
When did you start in the Picture Library Business?
Technically only nine months ago when Pulse Picture Library was launched as a business -but it’s taken a lot longer than that to get it off the ground.
Is the industry easier to get in to to now?
I think it is very hard for a new library to get in to the market place and be successful in a short space of time. It involves a great deal of time, patience and long-term commitment to make it work and it depends what you are expecting from it. Pulse is a specialist medical library running alongside a very successful national weekly paper for GP’s – and that is an important aspect of it. Its main market is editorial so we do not even pretend to be in competition with the super agencies – only one tiny part of them!
How involved are you in every day picture sales decisions? Entirely, and I would expect to remain so for a long time to come.
How did the library get started? Pulse the weekly paper has always prided itself in the quality of its photography and over the years has commissioned a great number of shoots in the surgeries of its readers.
We built up the archive because there was a distinct lack of good quality pictures of real GP’s and nurses at work with real patients. As the archive grew (from a few hanging files of transparencies and a typed list of the subjects covered hanging next to them!) and the picture industry was still failing to provide such pictures it seemed an ideal niche library for us to place ourselves within the industry. There is a great demand for health pictures in “real situations” instead of the more stylised set up and often American influenced medical images. And so the library has found its place.
Do you have any advice for other new picture libraries? You need a lot of determination and to put in long hours. Pulse Picture Library is fortunate in that we are part of a much larger organisation and run alongside a successful weekly paper, so we don’t exist in isolation and our pictures are used regularly by the paper itself. Even so a new library needs to offer something different – some speciality or technique for which a gap exists in the market. You also need a lot of patience.
Which papers do you read regularly? I see most of the dailies every day as I’m part of a busy newsroom, as well as other health publications in the market.
What do you do when you are not selling images? Apart from running the library I’m also the Picture Editor for Pulse and give advice/help to the other health publications in the company. It’s a very busy schedule but being a picture editor and buying pictures in from other agencies gives me first hand experience of what it is like being on the “other side” – what I want out of library websites, how I search, what fees I expect and above all good negotiating skills. I also know the subject in depth and exactly what medical images exist in the market, who owns them and what gaps there are! So if I’m not selling, I’m buying or editing pictures!
Which system do you use for your on-line library? The Library application has been developed internally by CMP Information analysts. It has been fantastic developing a system tailor made to your own needs and working alongside the IT people from the beginning. Also any adjustments and developments can be carried out internally if it is needed.
Is it web based? Our website, also designed internally, is being launched in June.
Pulse Picture Library has joined forces with CMPi’s other well established specialist image resource , The Builder Group Picture Library, to launch a joint website of specialist libraries (www.cmpimages.com) . Both libraries realised that without this addition we would fade away. It’s definitely the way forward and the way all picture editors and researchers work. It is that 24hour availability that is so crucial to a library’s success.
What percentage of your outgoings do you spend on marketing? Marketing is crucial and so worth investing in, particularly in the early stages when you are trying to get established. Having a presence at Trade shows and targeting your specialist market directly are all vital.
Where do you live? SE London
Family status? Married with three children
Do you take Pictures? Yes, but only for fun and during holiday times. I would love to take more but just don’t have the time at the moment.
Describe your day Much too packed – not enough hours in the day especially when trying to maximise on work and family commitments – a good balance is essential for a happy life.
What’s hot, What’s new? The constant changes and technical developments in the Picture Industry never cease to amaze and inspire me – I’m always waiting to see what is round the next corner aswell as come up with new developments within my own working environment.
Any last thought? Having worked in the Trade sector of Publishing for many years I think it is high time their photographic coverage and visual input got more recognition. They are recognised editorially in all the major press awards, so why they are excluded from the visual awards is a complete mystery to me and something I want to see changed. Not only do they represent an excellent standard of photojournalism but the sector overall spends a great deal of money at the very agencies that sponsor such events as the Picture Editor Awards.